Do you believe in Santa Claus?
Play it safe and protect yourself from fraud when shopping online.
As real as Santa Claus
The big annual shopping spree begins around Christmas time.
Discounts and offers entice you from every direction – including online, of course.
However, some promises are as real as Santa Claus.
Cyber criminals use fraudulent online shops to sweeten their own festivities.
Operators of fraudulent online shops send defective goods, or no goods at all, or misuse your data.
Here you will learn how to spot a fake Santa Claus and not get ripped off by fraudulent online shops.
Quick tips for shopping online
Only approved online shops receive the VSV or Trusted Shops quality seal.
Do you see the quality seal of VSV (Swiss association of mail-order businesses) or Trusted Shops?
Only approved online shops that meet specific security criteria are allowed to display these quality seals on their websites:
You can find further details about what these security criteria are, and whether the online shop genuinely holds a valid seal, on the website of the two organisations (in German):
Unbelievable offers shouldn’t be believed.
Scrutinise an unbelievable bargain very carefully.
Generally speaking, caution is advised if prices are extremely low or there are generous discounts on the majority of products on offer.
Do a reality check and ask yourself whether the offer is too good to be true.
A comparison with prices from other suppliers can help you figure this out.
You can learn a lot from other people’s experiences.
Have you found a new online shop?
Look on the internet (e.g. via a Google search) for experiences of other customers when dealing with this particular online shop.
Before ordering from an online shop you are not familiar with, reviews or testimonials from others can be a valuable source of information.
If the vendor insists on payment in advance, then be wary.
Switzerland requires websites to include an imprint (Impressum).
Is there an imprint?
Websites that offer merchandise, works or services must disclose their identity with a name and contact address.
A valid imprint will give at least the name, address and telephone number of the website operator.
If these details are missing or do not appear credible, then this is a strong indication of fraudulent activity.
A glance at the address line can be very revealing.
Is the address correct?
The web address of the online shop should display the common security features, like a lock symbol in the address line in your browser, and https:// not http://.
Compare the web address with the logo and the name of the online shop and check that they match.
If you see a Santa Claus logo on the shop’s website, but the address line reads http://www.fake-easter-bunny.ch, it’s probably best to look for a more trustworthy alternative.
Report fraudulent online shops to the police.
Do you suspect that you have discovered a fraudulent online shop?
Or did you spot a fraudulent Santa Claus too late?
Then support the joint battle against cyber crime and report the fraudulent website to your local police station or by using the online form of the Federal Office of Police (fedpol):
You can find further information on the issue of internet fraud on the website of the Swiss crime prevention organisation SKPPSC (in German):www.skppsc.ch
The internet protection cover by TCS provides support in the event of any loss (in German):www.tcs.ch