Sunday, 4 December 2016

Online Shopping Safety – Ten Top Tips

Online shopping in the UK easily topped £1bn this Black Friday. Our love of shopping online is growing every year, with the old ‘but I need to see it, feel it and touch it’ being replaced by ‘can I order it now and have it later today?’

Online shopping safety is often overlooked when you find the dress/bag/pair of shoes of your dreams at an irresistible price.  The instinct is to hit buy immediately.  Most of the time you will be safe, your credit card details will be secure and your order will arrive exactly as you expect.  But not always. 

We all shop so much online today that online shopping safety is not considered often enough, so here are ten top tips to read and remember as they always apply;

1.  Use a credit card to shop online -
that way you have a backup should something go wrong.  Read The Huffington Post's article on why you should use your credit card online.

Mastercard Secure Code Verified by Visa Logos
2.  Look for the Verified by Visa and MasterCard SecureCode logos which mean that you have an extra level of security.  Sign up for these schemes and keep your passwords safe. 

3.  Look for independent customer reviews, these will tell you more about the site you’re considering purchasing from.  Customer reviews have become so common now that you may ask yourself, if you’re on a website not offering them, why they’re not.  A page of testimonials doesn’t really count, although it may be helpful for you to read, as they can be written by anyone.  And look for reviews by verified purchasers on Amazon.

4.  Don't make any purchases as a result of clicking a link to somewhere you're not entirely sure of via an email.  Visit the website itself.  Fraudsters are becoming more and more adept at mimicking other websites and their products.  Read this re phishing emails.

5.  Make sure that your anti-virus software is up to date.  Don’t allow lapses.  There are several very good options; Here are some of the antivirus choices reviewed.

6.  Use the latest version of your browser.  These are always being updated and are easily downloaded.

7.  You should see the small padlock icon appear, and your browser URL prefix change to https:// once you click on check-out.  This tells you that your transaction is secure.

8.  Log out of any sites you have browsed or shopped from.  Don’t just close your browser – you may stay logged in otherwise.

9.  Never give anyone your pin number or password – anyone who asks you will probably be fraudulent.  Be aware that reputable websites will never ask you, by email or otherwise.  Don’t ever give out any card or bank information over the phone.  Period.

10.  If you’re not shopping from a household name stop for a moment and make sure that you can see accreditation logo/s and the logo of the payment services provider (PSP) such as PayPal.

Also:  Keep a record, either printed or in an online folder, of any purchases you’ve made online, and make sure that your goods have arrived and that the proper payment has been debited to your account.

Online shopping safety depends on you knowing the above, and keeping it in mind when you’re purchasing online.  It’s worth taking a moment to ensure that you’re properly aware.