Security tips for online shopping

Security tips for online shopping

Since 2018, the Hong Kong police has received more than 2,100 online shopping fraud reports, with a total loss of at least HKD 42 million. Such scams may involve fraudsters offering goods for sale online at bargain prices. The fraudster will usually refuse to accept payment in person, instead requiring that the buyer transfer the money to them before they will ship the goods. However, once the money has been transferred to the seller, he or she will break all contact with the buyer. In other cases, fraudsters may pose as buyers and provide fake ATM receipts or falsified screenshots of online banking transfers as proof of payment (or provide the buyer with a cheque that is subsequently refused by the receiving bank) to convince the seller to send them the goods.


In light of the rising risk of online shopping fraud, Hang Seng Bank advises customers to pay attention to the following security tips when conducting transactions online.

  • Only engage in transactions with reputable, well known or trusted merchants
  • Verify the identity of the buyer or seller before engaging in any online transaction. Depending on the specific circumstance, advisable steps may include checking the transacting party’s previous record of online transactions, credit rating and/or online transaction evaluation ratings or reviews
  • Always try to buy goods through official sales channels rather than third-party sellers
  • Ensure you fully understand the seller’s shipping and refund terms before engaging in any transaction
  • If this is your first transaction with a seller, avoid making any large purchases
  • Always keep your transaction receipt or other electronic documentation (e.g. e-mails) as a record of your transaction
  • You should not rely on an ATM receipt or screenshot of the online bank transfer record as proof of payment. Always check your receiving account before sending any goods to the transacting partyWhen paying by cheque, always ensure you maintain sufficient funds as the available balance in the relevant account (refer to figure below)
Account Overview (Hang Seng Personal e-Banking desktop)
Account Overview (Hang Seng mobile app)
  • Never share your banking passwords, including one-time passwords (OTP) sent to your mobile phone or provided by a security device, with other people
  • Before entering an OTP that has been sent to your mobile phone, you should ensure you are expecting to receive an OTP from the stated sender and for the stated purpose. If you have any doubts or concerns, please call our Hotline.
  • Regularly browse our Security information centre to stay up to date with new security information and advice
  • If you are concerned about any online transaction you have participated in as either buyer or seller, please report your concerns immediately to the Hong Kong Police

We would like to remind customers that they should remain vigilant about online security at all times and take actions to safeguard their personal and/or account information – including credit card numbers and one-time passwords – if they engage in online shopping. Customers should not disclose any personal, sensitive or account information to third parties as part of an online transaction unless they are sure they are reputable and trustworthy. Should you have any questions, please call the 24-hour customer service hotline on the back of your credit card.

You can find more online shopping fraud warnings and advice by visiting the official website of the Anti-Fraud Coordination Center.