Online shopping is perfectly safe if you know how to do it and what the risks are, here are a few top tips that will help you steer free of trouble. If you are in doubt ask someone to help you the first few times you purchase something online.
- Use familiar websites - reputation for online shops is everything so they want your experience to be trouble free so you will come back and spend more money with them. So use the big online shops. As soon as you start looking for the cheapest deals you are heading into dangerous territory so be aware the big deals come with a level of risk
- Look for the padlock - in the address bar when you have entered the shops website address you will need to see a padlock or https this means the site is secure. Do not use a site that is not secure
- Be careful what you share - to complete an online transaction most shops will only take your name, address and card details. Avoid giving them information such as your birthday, passwords, national insurance details. Certainly question why they need this information before sharing this as it could easily lead to identity theft if it falls in the wrong hands.
- Check your bank statements regularly - if you shop on line keep a track and at least once a month check the correct amount and nothing else is coming out of your bank. If you find more has been taken contact your bank immediately
- Use a credit card - most reputable credit cards will have online/fraud protection and it is better to use a credit card for online purchases.
- Passwords - avoid having the same passwords for everything this will make you vulnerable the more you use it to shop online. Purchase a password manager on your smart phone and keep a track of them. Ideally everything should have a unique password, although unless you are mega efficient this is hard to manage without a specialist password manager.
- Anti Virus protection - If you are buying online regularly make sure your anti virus and computer security software is up to date. You need to protect yourself from malware (malicious software) which is sneaked onto your computer if anti virus is old.
- Phishing - this is a term where hackers sent you a fake message, form or email informing you to change your password or share details which then lets them take over your accounts. Most good anti virus and purity software will spot these intrusions.
- Most smart phones (particularly iPhones) have the ability to setup payment through apple pay these will send you a message every time a transaction happens - it can be easier to keep track than a bank card - so consider using your phone for store payments under £45.