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Shopping by mail order, phone or on the Internet

Many consumers find shopping by phone, mail order or over the internet convenient and easy.  It can provide a greater selection of choice and the ability to easily shop around for the best value from the comfort of your own home.  However, it can also provide criminals with an opportunity to commit card fraud from a distance in a non face-to-face and non confrontational environment.  Here are some tips to make your mail order, phone or internet shopping experience safer.

Shopping over the phone or by mail order

  • Know who you are dealing with – before you give your card details to a retailer make sure you know who your are dealing with.  Do some research to check out that they are legitimate and reputable.
  • Keep a record of the Transaction – if you give your card details to a retailer/seller over the phone, make a note of the phone number, shop name, the date and time of your call, and the name of the person who recorded your card number. Make sure to get the seller’s phone number (preferably a landline number because some mobile phone numbers are untraceable) and a postal address (make sure it is not a P.O. Box).
  • Cold Callers – don’t give your card number over the telephone to “cold” callers under any circumstances. Only make telephone transactions when you have instigated the call and are familiar with the company
  • Never divulge your PIN number – never give (either verbally or in writing) your PIN number to anyone requesting it. Banks, building societies, card issuers, police or genuine retailers will NEVER ask for this information.
  • Payment Details – in advance of giving your card details ask the seller to confirm the full amount of the transaction and any terms and conditions attached to it.
  • Delivery Details – check when you should expect delivery.  In the event that delivery does not happen at the expected time, contact the seller as soon as possible and try to resolve the matter directly with them.  In the event that you do not reach a resolution and your card has been debited you can contact your card issuing bank for advice.

Shopping on the Internet

Buying goods on the Internet takes almost all of the physical effort out of shopping, enables you to shop around the world and helps you to find the very best deals. For these reasons (and many more) shopping on the Internet has become hugely popular with Irish consumers. Over 30% of all payment card transactions on cards issued in Ireland are now carried out over the internet. If you follow a few of our simple guidelines there is no reason why shopping on the Internet should be any less secure than shopping on the high street. You have many of the same, if not more, consumer rights!

  • Know who you are dealing with – try to find out as much as you can about the retailer before you purchase anything from them. Use shops that your friends and colleagues have used successfully or ones that you have heard about through trusted sources.
  • Make sure your Internet access is secured – the beginning of the retailer’s Internet address should change from ‘http’ to ‘https’ before a purchase is made. This indicates that you are using a secure connection.
  • Look for the Padlock – click on the security icon (the padlock or unbroken key symbol) to ensure that the retailer has an encryption certificate. The link should describe the type of security and encryption being used.
  • Keep your Operating System and Security up to Date – install a reliable anti-virus and browser security software.  Ensure it has the latest updates and that it scans your computer regularly to check for malware.  Check that you have the latest operating system and web browser security updates installed.  Make sure your browser is set to the highest level of security notification and monitoring. These safety options are not always activated by default when you purchase and install your computer.
  • Keep a record of your purchase – print out or save a copy of your order as well as the retailer’s terms and conditions and return policies. There may be additional charges such as local taxes and postage, particularly when you purchase from abroad.
  • Read the Terms and Conditions – ensure you are fully aware of any payment commitments you are entering into, including whether you are instructing a single payment or a series of recurring payments.
  • Pay attention to your own instincts – if you have any doubts about giving out your card details, end the transaction and purchase your goods elsewhere.
  • Be cautious about emails claiming outrageous offers – generally if they sound too good to be true, they are!
  • Be Password Savvy – if you use a password to log on to your network or computer, use a different password for orders or retailer accounts. Some websites may require you to create a password for future orders. Avoid using your address, birth date, phone number or easily recognisable words. The best passwords are alpha-numeric (using letters and numbers) and at least 8 characters in length.
  • 3D Secure – is a tool available to cardholders which protects your MasterCard or Visa Card against unauthorised Internet use.  3D Secure enables you to verify that you are the actual cardholder in a similar way to keying in a PIN at the Point of Sale. Contact your bank or card issuer today to find out more about registering for using 3D Secure.