Coronavirus has changed how we all live and work at the moment as millions of people must either work from home or dramatically alter their operations. As a result of this, consumers have limited options for how and where they can spend their money.
Indeed, figures recently collated by the ONS revealed a dramatic change in spending habits.
In late April, the organisation revealed that online shopping as a proportion of all retail purchases reached 22 percent, a record breaking high.
This in itself could be damaging because as more people head online, there is an increased risk of cyber criminality.
Over the last month alone the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre shut down over 2000 Covid-19 scamming sites, including 471 fraudulent online stores.
Visa as a company is right at the heart of the online shopping world and they too have also seen a dramatic change.
Their own fraud intelligence platform has been kept very busy detecting and stopping many fake websites criminals have set up to specifically take advantage of vulnerable customers.
It’s a worrying new reality we all find ourselves in but fortunately, the global payment company has issued some tips on how consumers can protect themselves online.
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Jeni Mundy, Visa’s Managing Director, shared four tips for keeping payments safe when shopping online:
Identification – staying safe from the fraudsters
“Be mindful about publicly sharing information that identifies you like your address and never share your PINs or passwords with anyone.
“Also, if you have the option, we recommend setting up fingerprint or facial recognition on your smartphones or banking apps- in addition to traditional passwords and card details- these provide an added layer of protection.”
Learn how to spot unusual transactions
“We always recommend that people check their bank statements as much as possible, especially as this can be easily done online or through your mobile banking app.”
Jeni continued: “Some bank apps even allow you sign up for transaction alerts, which notify you when a purchase or payment has been made from your account.
“Tell your bank if you spot unusual payments that you do not think you’ve made – Visa has a ‘zero liability’ policy that may help you get your money back if someone else has fraudulently used your card.”
Avoid the bait from scammers
Jeni highlighted a worrying trend which shows no sign of slowing down: “Fraudsters are getting smarter, targeting consumers through phishing scams where they mirror emails and websites from well-known companies.
“Always be wary of unsolicited messages and calls as most financial institutions or government agencies would not call or email and request financial information out of the blue.
“A good habit is to try to use a different form of communication to the one they have used to reach you.
“If you get an email looking for bank information, for instance, don’t respond to the email and instead call your bank directly to check if it’s a true request. If you have an email with a link, even from an organization you know, go directly to the website rather than click on the link.
“Following this simple practice means you can take control over the interaction, and you’re more likely to avoid falling into traps.
“There are also a few things to look out for to help you detect phishing scams or fake websites. For example, many give themselves away with poor spelling or typing mistakes. Also, try and check the URL when you’re paying online to make sure it contains ‘https://’ as the ‘s’ indicates it’s a secure connection.”
Getting your money back when things don’t go to plan
Most people will know of the struggle of trying to reclaim funds when a purchase breaks down, an especially relevant problem considering the current circumstances.
Thankfully, Jeni concluded by highlighting certain consumer rights which could help a purchasers cause: “You never know when a purchase might go wrong, so it is worth understanding your rights. “Whether you paid with a Visa debit, credit or pre-paid card, policies within our rulebook may be able to protect you when things don’t go to plan.
“For example, if you spot a payment from your account that wasn’t you and suspect you’ve been a victim of fraud, don’t panic.
“You’re covered by Visas Zero Liability Policy so you may get your money back for fraudulent transactions.
“In addition, if you’ve bought something online that isn’t up to scratch, many online stores will let you return an item and some even offer this service for free. Furthermore, UK’s distance selling laws mean as a consumer, you can normally cancel an online order within a certain period.
“If the retailer still won’t budge and refuses to refund you or they’ve gone out of business, your next step is to dispute the payment and find out if you’re eligible to make a chargeback claim.
“Through a chargeback, your bank can attempt to reclaim your money from the seller on your behalf. It isn’t a legal right, but your bank is committed to helping you, and will treat any claim fairly.”
Published at Fri, 08 May 2020 03:00:00 +0000