Black Friday, which takes place at the end of November, is a shopping campaign that has gained considerable popularity in Estonia in recent years. At the same time, the proliferation of fraud has also increased. Annika Goroško, Head of Retail Banking at LHV, shares her tips on how to shop safely online.
Examine the background of the merchant
Before you enter your bank card details on any website, make sure it is an honest and trustworthy merchant. A proper website will usually have a clear and understandable name, include a company overview with contact details and, in the case of e-shops, a comprehensive list of terms and conditions and buyer’s rights. A padlock symbol in the browser bar is also a sign of a secure shopping environment. In the case of Estonian e-shops, it is worth checking that the company is not on the list of traders that fail to comply with Consumer Protection decisions before making a purchase.
Make sure card payments are secure
Pay close attention to the types of payment options the merchant offers you – make sure they include common and secure payment methods such as PayPal, EveryPay, etc., and use these options to shop safely. It is worth making sure that your bank card is linked to a secure card payment service. This means that online purchases made with a bank card have an extra layer of protection against possible card fraud: after entering your details in an e-shop, you need to log in to your Internet bank or use a security code sent by text message to your mobile phone for additional authentication.
Does the card have purchase protection insurance?
At LHV, purchase protection insurance is automatically included with the Youth Card and Gold and Platinum bank cards. You don’t need to sign a separate contract or pay a monthly fee, just pay for your purchases with the corresponding card. The service is exactly what the name says, i.e., insurance for purchased goods. Insurance helps if the object should break, even if the fault is your own.
More specifically, the insurance applies to new durable goods with a purchase price between EUR 100 and EUR 5000. Durable goods are generally considered to be objects with a normal useful life of more than three months, such as electronics, furniture or even clothes. Purchase protection insurance is valid for six (6) months from the date of purchase.
There are deals that are too good to be true
During shopping campaigns, you will see a wide variety of promotional advertisements on the Internet and elsewhere in the media. If someone suddenly offers the best brands at a price many times cheaper than the others, you should be sceptical. There are many types of scams, from free giveaways to websites that steal credit card details, which people arrive at through ad banners or fraudulent emails. You should be particularly vigilant about advertising on social media.
Keep bank account limits low
In the interests of security, we advise you to keep the card payment limits as low as possible. Keep your actual money needs in mind. You can always temporarily raise the limits in the mobile app or Internet bank to make larger purchases, but they make life more difficult for fraudsters. As an additional option, you can disable those card usage rights that you don’t need – for example, it’s worth not allowing Internet transactions and activating them only once before making a purchase. In this way, you can prevent your card details from falling into the wrong hands and being used for transactions.
Card transactions can be disputed
If, despite everything, the transaction fails, the goods are not delivered or the agreed terms are not respected, it is worth contacting the trader first to resolve the situation. If an agreement cannot be reached, the transaction can be disputed with the bank. The complaint must be made within three (3) months of the date of the problematic transaction or receipt of the service/goods. It normally takes two (2) months to dispute a card transaction. It’s worth remembering that transactions that have been verified by the person themselves – i.e., card payments that have been strongly authenticated – are not open to dispute as fraudulent transactions.
With all this in mind, a savvy buyer can find much better deals than usual during promotional periods, even if they bypass mark-ups and scammers. It’s just important to make sure that the e-shop is legitimate, and not a scam.