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Keep your family safe when shopping online

27 September 2018

This article is part of the Suncorp ESSI Money Family Challenge series, in partnership with the Financial Basics Foundation, an independent charity working to educate young people to better understand money and finances.

If you or your family are spending money online, chances are you’ll want to find ways to keep that money safe and secure. Scams are becoming more and more sophisticated so it’s a good time to teach your kids and family the things they need to be aware of. It all starts by taking control of your online spending.

Things to know as an online shopper

You can help your kids stay safe online by teaching them how to:

  • Spot and use safe websites
  • Recognise what accurate product information looks like
  • Calculate total costs (including shipping or delivery, or any hidden costs)
  • Avoid impulse purchases and stick to a budget.

To start the conversation, we’ve created a great fact sheet about how to say safe when spending online.

Where to shop online

There’s no shortage of businesses who operate a store or sell products online. But where should you shop? Here are two places you can start:

Online stores

Unlike the ‘bricks and mortar’ variety, you can’t try before you buy in an online store. Staying safe in this situation means protecting your identity and bank details, as well as actually receiving the goods. Keep an eye out for any hidden charges before you click ‘buy’!

Online auctions

Online auctions can be very exciting, just like an auction you might attend for a new home or antiques. However, you won’t necessarily know how many other people are bidding online. Make sure you’re dealing with a reputable site and watch out for any offers or deals that take you off the website. 

Tips for online spending

  • Check online reviews from other shoppers – this might help you spot a scam website
  • Read terms and conditions carefully, don’t just tick ‘Agree to terms’
  • Learn how to calculate the final costs, paying close attention to delivery fees and the currency (especially if you’re shopping on an international site)
  • Look for the locked padlock symbol next to the URL (that’s how you know a website is secure, as well as sites where the URL begins with ‘https’ rather than ‘http’)
  • Check your bank account statements regularly, and if you see anything strange, get in touch with your financial provider
  • Try not to make impulse purchases.

Avoid getting scammed!

You can decrease the chances of you or your family getting scammed by first typing the URL into the web browser. Make sure you’re on an official site by checking the spelling of the brand and that it’s actually in the URL. Some fake websites spell names wrong or use poor quality logos and designs.

While sites like eBay have strict rules, there’s not a lot of protection from fraud. Be wary that scammers might try to impersonate official websites.

Read more:

Financial Basics Foundation

The Financial Basics Foundation is a non-for-profit charity focused on educating young people in money and personal finances. Their vision is, “that all young Australians are financially capable and can manage their finances now and into the future.” For more information visit

This is general information only, current as at 20 November 2017 and is not legal or financial advice, nor is it intended to be legal advice or financial advice. It is not a recommendation or advice in relation to the Suncorp Group or any product or service offered by any company or entity in the Suncorp Group and does not take into account a person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this information you should consider the appropriateness of this information having regard to your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. The information is intended to be of a general nature only. We do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss incurred as a result of reliance upon it – please make your own enquiries.

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