Tips for Online Shopping
The business of online shopping has been growing non-stop for some twenty five years, and is second nature to many of us. As the type of retailing has grown, with hundreds of millions of pounds being transacted, it has become increasingly targeted by the criminally minded.
For the most part, online shopping is as risky, or not, as shopping on the high street, but there are a few simple checks that take only a few seconds that help make online shopping more secure.
The first, is that when visiting a site, go to it via its URL address, rather than following a link, this could open a crack to a criminal.
If you decide to make a purchase, take a glance at the browser bar and check that the URL begins with https, and not just http. The s indicates that information sent from your computer to the sellers is encrypted by a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), and only the seller’s computer can decrypt it.
A closed padlock icon, or unbroken key, in the address bar shows you have an SSL connection.
Using “free Wi Fi”, when out and about can be very useful for your smart phone or tablet, but it is not prudent to do more than window shop.
Entering your personal details online using public Wi Fi can make you vulnerable to possible online snoopers, best wait until you are in the relative security of home or work based computers.
Most of these computers will prompt when the operating system can be updated, do so, and make sure you’re running the most up to date version of your browser.
Always use a credit card when making online purchases. Using a debit card risks opening your bank account details to fraudsters, and does not carry the protection that a credit card does.
The majority of credit card companies offer a level of purchase protection should your card be cloned, or if you have fallen victim to a scam.
It is prudent to check your credit card bill thoroughly and promptly, as credit card companies should be alerted to any discrepancies as soon as possible.
Before purchasing from a site you haven’t used before, seer if there are any reviews of the seller, perhaps even a blog. Check that there is a returns policy in place, and that there are contact details, should you need them.
There are many scams online, constantly being updated or polished, but a rule of thumb for online shoppers is, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is, so steer clear.