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5 tips for secure online shopping

It's all so easy: you browse through pictures of clothing, shoes or the latest tech gadgets, compare the prices at different online shops, and put your bargains into your shopping basket. But be careful: some of these seemingly fantastic offers are a front for fraudsters.

29 August 2019, author: Natascha Fabian, photo: Helvetia

A woman is lying next to a pool and shopping online with her mobile phone.
An amazing bargain or a costly mistake? Helvetia shows you how to shop securely online and protect yourself from fraudsters.

Internet shopping is becoming more and more popular, with three quarters of the Swiss population now buying online. But who is liable if the item delivered is wrong or faulty? Or if the parcel never arrives because the shop doesn't actually exist? 

Our 5 tips show you how to shop securely online: 

  1. Check the reviews of online shops and look for the Verband des Schweizerischen Versandhandels (Swiss Distance Selling Association) or Trusted Shops quality seal. Then visit the quality seal provider's site to check if the shop really is registered with them.
  2. Look for security features in the website address: does it have a padlock symbol or start with https:// (not http://)?
  3. Before you buy, check the shop's General Terms & Conditions. These will tell you whether you have the right to return or exchange an item, whether there is any warranty cover and the level of liability accepted by the online shop. Don't spend ages looking, though: the easiest way is to enter the name of the shop and the relevant term (e.g. returns policy) into Google.
  4. Choose a secure payment method such as payment on invoice, a credit card or a payment service such as PayPal.
  5. Keep everything related to your online purchase, then you can use this as proof if there are any problems with the order. 

In addition to the danger of buying from fraudulent online shops, private individuals also run the risk of falling victim to cyber fraudsters, as identity theft, cyber-bullying and credit card fraud become more prevalent. Be aware of online dangers and protect yourself with an insurance policy.

Cyber insurance covers the costs arising from…

  • Financial loss due to an online purchase made by a hacker
  • The need to restore digital data and software following criminal activity
  • Deletion/modification of content that infringes personality rights (cyber-bullying)
  • Identity misuse
  • Violation of copyright, name rights and trademark rights by third parties
  • Financial losses due to e-banking or credit card fraud 

Using a credit card online

Many online shops use two-factor authentication to ensure that card payments are secure. How this is done depends on the card provider. Some providers ask you to choose a code, similar to a password. You do this only once, then for payment transactions thereafter you must enter this code in addition to the usual security information to prove your identity. Other card providers send a new code by text message for every payment transaction, or require you to confirm the transaction via an app.

Cyber insurance

Your protection against dangers from Internet: cyber insurance can be included as a supplementary component in household contents insurance.

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