Red circle looking confused and wondering whether to cut threads to fishing hooks. The threads are attached to three things, a stylised money note, a stylised credit card and a stylised identification card. The words in the heading say "Something phishy?"

As we head into the holiday season (yes, it is November already!), it’s time to think about being safer online. While we don’t have an online store (we used to though!), we want to help keep you and your whānau safe. Especially this year, with lockdowns and COVID-19 levels stopping some of the traditional shopping, a lot more of us are choosing to shop online.

The Aotearoa Domain Name Commission (the people behind all those domain names you see and click on daily) has created the #ShopSafeNZ campaign, and we are wholeheartedly behind it!

We’ve summarised some of the key points below, and we encourage all of you to check it out. If you are one of our valued customers, or not, it’s up to all of us to help each other stay safe online.

Here are some of the tips that are already available on the DNC website. They will put much more up as we head deeper into the holiday season! Keep an eye out for their campaign, and make sure you share it with friends and whānau that might not be as up to date as you!

If you are running a small business here in Aotearoa, and you think your IT systems aren’t up to the task, please contact one of our trained staff right now. We can move you onto our secure cloud infrastructure and give you and your customers peace of mind.

Headline says "Does the site's name match the goods? #ShopSafeNZ | dnc.org.nz/shopsafenz"

There is a picture of a cartoon pirate with a t-shirt labelled with Plunderus Gemstones with his hook on a sign that says makeupsale.nz

Does the site’s name match the goods?

If the site’s address says boats and it sells make-up, the online store is possibly fake.

Why?

Domain names (the website’s address, e.g. ours is dnc.org.nz) can expire or not be renewed. Anyone can register a domain name once it is available again.

Domain names associated with popular websites in the past can be a target for scammers. They may register that domain, build an unrelated website, and scam people.

Headline says "Is the offer too good to be true? #ShopSafeNZ | dnc.org.nz/shopsafenz"

There is a picture of a bag with markings that are meant to remind you of Gucci branding with a label on it that says $200

Is the offer too good to be true?

As the old saying goes, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Unbelievably large discounts on brand name products, promotions that guarantee big prizes, testimonials that look too good can all be warning signs.

Why?

All of the above can be a tactic to pressure you to purchase as quickly as possible before you have a chance to think about the offer.

Headline says "Check what payment options are available? #ShopSafeNZ | dnc.org.nz/shopsafenz"

There is a picture of two hands in green sleeves holding a mobile phone. The phone has a big PAY button aand a big cross through different payment options. The phone also shows a stylised version of a credit card.

What payment options are available?

If the site displays multiple payment options (such as Visa, Mastercard, Afterpay, PayPal), but only one is available during checkout, it is a warning sign!

Why?

To look more legitimate and create a false sense of security, fake online stores display multiple payment options but only let you choose one.

Headline says "Check the look and feel of the website. #ShopSafeNZ | dnc.org.nz/shopsafenz"

There is a picture of a book with a picture of Pinocchio, but the book is entitled Panokio

Look and feel

Check images on the website. Are they good quality, consistent in style, or a mismatched set of photos?

Pay attention to the language. Spelling mistakes and obvious grammar errors can be telltale signs.

Why

It could be that someone has copied and pasted text and ‘borrowed’ images from all over the Internet to create a fake online store.

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