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Digital security

7 helpful tips to keep your online shopping secure

October 27, 2023

Whether it's to avoid having to leave the house, out of convenience or just because our shopping habits have changed over the past few years, more of us than ever are shopping online. With the digital world changing rapidly around us, it can sometimes be tricky to stay up to date on how to shop safely. Follow these helpful tips to stay Zen while shopping online and avoid falling prey to cybercriminals.

What to watch out for before you even start shopping

1- Know how to spot false advertising

Photos of well-known personalities, miracle creams, promises that are just too good to be true… Watch out for false advertising that encourages you to buy products that don’t actually exist or are inexpensive knockoffs.

2- Prices that are a little too tempting

If the price of the item you’ve been coveting for months is unusually low, ask yourself if you might just be shopping on a fake e-commerce site. Cybercriminals use this technique to capture your personal information and steal your money.

Make sure you’re on a trusted website

Even if the site seems totally legit and appears consistent with the graphic standards of the brand you’re familiar with, don’t be too quick to lower your guard. Be sure to look for the following features:

3- The HTTPS protocol or the lock symbol

One of the first reflexes you should develop when visiting an online store or social network is to check if it uses the HTTPS protocol. It’s easy to spot: Just look at the beginning of the site’s web address in your browser’s address bar. Don’t see it? The latest web browsers now sometimes hide the beginning of addresses but make up for it by adding the little lock symbol.

These features are even more important when you get to a payment page, even if the protocol doesn’t guarantee the site is 100% legitimate. If you don’t see the HTTPS or lock, do an online search to see if the store and its site are legitimate, just to be safe. When in doubt, leave the page immediately to avoid any issues.

4- Legal notices

These notices are mandatory on any e-commerce site. They are typically located at the bottom of the site. If you’re ever on a site and can’t find a “legal notices” page, leave the site.

5- General terms of sale

Every trusted website has a page where it displays its terms of sale or terms of use. Generally speaking, this is where you can find information on shipping or return conditions, or on the delivery time or cost.

Ready to make a purchase?

6- Avoid these traps!

The process for making a purchase is pretty similar on most sites: you choose the items you want to buy, put them in your shopping cart, confirm your order then make the payment. Some sites also ask you to create an account.

Be extra vigilant if you feel like you’re not in familiar territory. If you answer yes to any of the following statements, the site is probably trying to rip you off:

  • You’re asked for credit card information before you confirm your purchase.
  • You’re asked to pay more than the advertised price.
  • The site doesn’t accept credit card payments.
  • You’re asked to pay by cash or e-transfer.
  • You’re asked for your financial information by email or in a pop-up window on the screen.

After shopping

7- Check your statements

Desjardins offers services like Verified by VisaTM or Mastercard Identity Check® to make your online shopping more secure, giving you peace of mind and reducing the chance of any unauthorized transactions being charged to your account.

To learn more: Online shopping protection

Don’t forget to check your credit card statement or online banking (AccèsD) to make sure that you recognize the name of the retailer and that the currency is in fact the one you used to make your purchase. These are signs that can tip you off that you may have been a victim of fraud. At times, though, it may not be easy to recognize a retailer’s name on a statement. To confirm that it’s the right retailer, simply do a quick online search.

Transactions may take a few days to appear in your account, but checking them is a very good habit to get into each and every month.

Have fun shopping, but trust your gut! If you’re ever in doubt, quickly leave the site and don’t proceed with the payment.

Think you might have been a victim of fraud?

Contact our fraud prevention department: 1-866-335-0338

We’ll be able to take whatever steps are necessary to take charge of your case and provide you with the support you need.

TM Trademark of Visa International Service Association and used under license.

®Registered trademark of Mastercard International Inc.