Stay Safe Shopping Online
Shopping online isn’t a novelty anymore, most of us have ordered something at one time or another, and if not, we pretty much all know someone who has.
Online retail shopping is big business, and is reckoned to generate sales in the hundreds of billions of pounds region, but the greater the use of digital time, then the potential for exposure to ID theft when you’re involved in financial transactions (shopping, that is) grows bigger.
The risk of being caught out by cyber criminals can be kept to an absolute minimum, just taking a few moments, and a dose of common sense to keep yourself safe and sound.
The first thing to ensure is that the computer you’re using has up to date operating systems, updates are issued for a purpose, they respond to deny new types of threats and viruses. Many computers do this automatically, but it is best to check.
If you spot something on a site that you haven’t used before, or haven’t had recommended to you, it is best to check for authenticity, even if the name is common.
Use an authenticity checker such as Web Trust for example to confirm that the site belongs to the retailer and is not a phishing scam out to catch your financial details.
Check that the site gives a full postal address, with a returns policy and contact details other than online. Use your common sense if the site is offering a bargain that seems too good to be true, it just might be so, and be not what you think it is,
When you get to the secure page of the online equivalent of the checkout, before you enter any of your personal details, a quick glance at the address in your browser bar can tell you if the transaction is going to be secure.
The sellers address should begin with https:// not the standard http://. The S indicates that the site has met the necessary set of security guidelines and that it can be trusted.
The S stands for Secure Sockets Layers, which ensure information is encrypted before transmission over the internet, and can only be read by the seller’s terminal.
Always make your payments by credit card, rather than by debit card, if your information should go astray online, the debit card could be used by a hacker to directly access your bank account.
The credit card means that you are actually using the credit card company’s money, and they have a vested interest in protecting against fraud and non-delivery.