‘Tis the season to be aware of what you share online

27 November 2019
Tags: news

As we head into the holiday season, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner is reminding shoppers and retailers alike about the importance of safeguarding personal information.

Australian Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner, Angelene Falk, says with almost three quarters of Australian households now shopping online, consumers can take practical steps to keep their personal information safe.  

“Consumers need to be aware of the personal information they share online. Using secure shopping sites and strong passwords can help keep your personal and financial information safe and prevent identity theft.”

If you’re shopping online these holidays, or signing up for a loyalty scheme or sales alerts, remember these tips to protect your personal information:

  • Don’t click on links in emails and text messages asking for your personal information
  • Use strong and unique passwords
  • Check the website you‘re using is secure by looking for the padlock symbol and ‘https’ at the beginning of its domain name
  • Only provide required personal information when completing online forms. Remember, you can choose to skip fields marked as optional
  • Immediately contact your financial institution if you find unfamiliar or suspicious activity in your transaction history, and check your credit report

Ms Falk said it’s important to understand the bargain we strike with a retailer when we swap our personal information for a shopping deal.

“Every time we swipe a loyalty card or sign up to access discounts and sale offers we are handing over another package of information that can form a picture about our identity.

“Businesses collect this data because it’s of great value to them, and so individuals need to make sure that they’re aware of what they’re trading when they hand over their personal information.

“Check privacy policies and ask why information is being collected, and how it will be used before making a decision.”

The OAIC has joined with Scamwatch, Stay Smart Online and eSafety this holiday season to encourage consumers to keep their personal information safe, watch out for fake online stores, pay securely online and check the safety of tech gifts.

Find out more about our online shopping safety initiative.