26 September 2023

Privacy warning free for Christmas buyers

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The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) is calling on consumers to safeguard personal information when making online purchases ahead of the holiday season.

The OAIC said Australians were forecast to spend a record $4 billion online in the lead up to Christmas, sharing personal data including addresses and credit card details.

“Breaches of this personal data can have serious consequences, such as identity theft and financial fraud,” the OAIC said.

“Your personal information is valuable and should be protected,” it said.

“Instead of signing up for a loyalty program or creating an online account, consider using a ‘guest’ profile to complete your purchase.”

The OAIC said people should check who they were buying from, play it safe by shopping with reputable brands and cross-check information.

“Before making a purchase, read credible reviews from other customers and check for information on warranties, refunds and complaints handling,” it said.

“If it looks suspicious, don’t risk it.”

The Office said people should “be smart” about connected devices and remember their online security basics.

“While smart devices can be convenient, they can also collect and share your personal information,” the OAIC said.

“Before you buy, research the product’s security and privacy credentials,” it said.

The OAIC said people could protect themselves from common cyber attacks by thinking before clinking on links in emails and text messages; using strong and unique passwords or passphrases; and only shopping with secure websites.

Further information on how to protect personal information online can be accessed on the OAIC’s website at this PS News link.

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