Never reveal password when using debit cards online, says watchdog

Christmas shoppers looking to use their debit cards to buy gifts online have been told to take precautions to prevent hackers and scammers from clearing out their bank accounts.

Representatives at the people's watchdog Choice have suggested cyber criminals come out of the woodwork at this time of year to prey on unsuspecting Aussies.

Spokesperson Ingrid Just urged people not to use retail sites that do not publish a copy of their security certificate. This can normally be found by clicking on the padlock that appears in the URL bar.

She also warned that genuine companies will never ask for passwords, so do not hand them out under any circumstances.

"A fraudulent site selling TV's or video cameras will look very convincing. This makes it hard to tell the difference between what's dodgy and what's not," Ms Just commented.

New South Wales attorney general Greg Smith recently told the Daily Telegraph that some debit card holders are being exposed to crime when using ATM machines and he urged banks to take extra measures to beef up security around holes in the wall.

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