Are Irish online shoppers cybersecurity savvy enough?

While most Irish online shoppers take steps to protect themselves while shopping online, poor password security is a risk, according to a Visa Back to Business study.

The surge in online shopping since the pandemic began continues unabated. A new Visa study has found that more than half (52pc) of Irish consumers shop online wherever possible.

As more Irish consumers go online for their everyday shop, the Visa Back to Business Study – 2021 Outlook  reveals that many are looking to stay secure when shopping on the web. 81pc of those surveyed say they have taken steps to keep themselves safe when shopping online. In fact, 51pc keep a regular eye on their online transactions for any suspicious activity, comparing favourably with the global average of just 44pc.

“It’s encouraging that some Irish shoppers are taking steps to keep themselves safe online, but it’s important we continue to do these simple checks as shopping online becomes part of our usual routine”

Nevertheless, the study suggests that many Irish consumers may not know the hints and tips to use to protect their details when shopping online.

Less than a quarter (23pc) surveyed say they proactively check a websites URL before making a payment and only 30pc say they use different passwords on different sites, the recent Visa study found.

Caveat emptor

“Wherever or whatever you’re choosing to purchase, how you pay matters,” said Dominic White, acting country manager Ireland, Visa. “It’s encouraging that some Irish shoppers are taking steps to keep themselves safe online, but it’s important we continue to do these simple checks as shopping online becomes part of our usual routine.

“At Visa, we work closely with banks across Ireland to protect consumers every time they pay with their card. Every payment is protected with multiple layers of security, helping to prevent fraud so that Irish consumers can shop online with ease”

While the Visa study found that the rise in online shopping had resulted in almost one third (31pc) of people updating the security payment options on their mobile devices, 14pc have yet to take any steps to protect themselves when paying online.

Visa uses cutting-edge technology, artificial intelligence and sophisticated algorithms checking every single transaction on its network for the potential for fraud. These powerful layers of security have helped keep fraud below 0.1pc during the current crisis.

But, if you think you might have been defrauded or notice a transaction you don’t recognise, Visa recommends you give your bank a call and explain the situation. If you have been defrauded, they can often help you claim your money back, supported by Visa’s Zero Liability Policy.

Top tips to stay safe when shopping online:

  1. Use a safe, quick, and easy way to identify yourself: Set up fingerprint or facial recognition on your smartphone or banking apps, if available, as these provide an added layer of protection and new European regulation means that banks are starting to ask for more identification when you’re paying online.
  2. Look for the “s”: When paying online, check the URL to ensure it begins with https://. The “s” at the end indicates a secure connection. Additionally, check that the name of the web page does not contain spelling errors or strange characters.
  3. Be on the alert: Check your statements regularly, online or through your mobile banking app, and tell your bank if you spot an unusual payment. Visa’s Zero Liability Policy means you won’t be held responsible for unauthorised or fraudulent charges made on your account.
  4. Beware of phishing scams: Be careful of unsolicited and suspicious emails or phone calls from those trying to steal personal information like your account number, username and password. Most financial institutions would never request financial information from you out of the blue. So never click on any links or download files sent to you in a text or email. 
  5. Use “tokens” and one-click services to pay safely and easily: When you load your card details into your phone, and when you load your details into some apps, your card data is often replaced by a digital “token”. This means that your card details aren’t stored, keeping them even safer. With some shops you can use one-click-payments, which means you just need to set up one-click, prove you are the right cardholder, and then you can shop online easily without the need to insert your card details every time.
  6. Update system and application software: Install the latest software on your computer, tablet or phone. Technology companies work hard to keep you safe – updating your software helps them to protect you from vulnerabilities.

By John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 7 April 2021