Online Shopping and Keeping It Safe
It may seem unlikely that just “doing a bit” of online shopping is going to attract international criminals towards you, surely they have better things to do than to steal from an ordinary online shopper?
Not necessarily so. Scammers and cyber-criminals have systems in place to infiltrate anyone on the net. Any device connected to the internet, your Pc, tablet, or smart phone, can all be vulnerable to them, which is why you should ensure that they all have up to date anti malware and virus protection.
However good the security programmes on your devices are, there are pitfalls and snares to be avoided, and much can be achieved by using common sense, and a few safety guides as you shop online.
Try to stick to well known sites, names like Amazon, eBay, or John Lewis, for example, as these will have up to date, powerful security across all of their online operations.
If you come to a new site that interests you, a brief look around it is sensible. Check that the site seems professional, with no spelling mistakes, or shaky graphics, and see if it shows any customer reviews. It should give a bricks and mortar address, and if you’re looking to buy goods, a returns address and policy.
It is also a good time to use a little common sense and check that you haven’t been drawn in by an offer which, upon second glance, could actually be too good to be true, as this may well be the case.
If you’re ok with it, when you get to the secure page, be aware that the information you are about to give, is as valuable as real folding banknotes, so check the security of the site.
The address in the browser bar should begin with https. The S on the end indicates that it has a security system in place which encrypts your information before it travels to the seller’s computer, which is the only terminal which can de-encrypt it. If the address begind simply http, then do not enter your financial information.
Another piece of common sense is to ensure that you always pay by using your credit card, rather than your debit card. This is because the credit card gives you a measure of protection under the Consumer Credit Act, should the transaction not go as planned.
Bear in mind that personal information is like money, so look after it and always be aware of what you give and to whom.