Shoppers must now prove their identity when making a purchase online, following the introduction of new rules designed to provide better protection against fraud.


An estimated £380m is lost to online shopping scams every year, with fraudsters using stolen banking details to purchase goods.

Under the new rules, online shoppers will now be asked to prove their identity when buying items online to confirm it is really them making the transaction. They will need to confirm two of the following three ‘factors’:

  • Something they are – like a fingerprint or facial ID
  • Something they know – like a passcode or password
  • Something they have – like a mobile phone

This means that when you buy something online, you might have to answer an automated telephone call, or confirm in a text message you want to proceed with your purchase, or you may have to enter a passcode you’re sent before the purchase can go ahead.

Not all purchases will be subject to additional checks. For example, things like repeat prescriptions or low-cost items may not require you to provide extra security information.

More like this

Tom Ironside, Director of Business & Regulation at the British Retail Consortium, said:

“Retailers have been working hard to prepare for the Strong Customer Authentication requirements, ensuring online purchases are both as safe and easy as possible. Customers should be reassured that buying online has never been safer.”

It’s worth checking that your bank has your correct contact details on file and if you have any specific needs, get in touch with them to see what help might be available. If, for example, you don’t have a smart phone, you may either have to answer an automated phone call to your landline, or sign into a banking app, to verify your purchase.

Other ways to protect yourself
There are several other ways online shoppers can protect themselves against fraud when buying goods online.

  • Make sure you buy from trusted brands. Before you buy anything online, do a bit of research to check that the company you’re dealing with is reputable.
  • Pay using a credit card or other secure payment method. For example, if you’ve buy an item costing £100 or more using a credit card and it doesn’t turn up or is damaged, then under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, your card provider is jointly liable with the online store and may agree to refund you if the shop refuses to pay up. Alternatively unsecured payment systems such as Paypal or Worldpay enable you to send payments online without giving away any sensitive data such as credit card numbers and bank details.
  • Use a password manager. Don’t use the same passwords when setting up online shopping accounts. Password manager software applications can help you choose strong passwords for each of your online accounts, and you don’t have to worry about losing or forgetting them.
Subscribe for free