With Christmas fast approaching and bargains afoot, it’s easy to get caught out when shopping online. Here are some Tips to help stay safe:
Check who you’re buying from
If you’re buying from big retailers you can be fairly confident you are safe and protected by their terms and conditions. For smaller companies, look to Trust pilot to give you the lowdown from other consumers.
Have a look at the website. Does it look modern and well built? If any website makes you feel uneasy, go somewhere else.
Choose how you pay
Credit cards are insured against fraud (For purchases £100 – £30,000), Debit cards are not. If your credit rating does not allow for a credit card, you can get pre-pay credit cards that have the same insurances (Please check the individual terms and conditions – I am not a financial advisor! :))
Always pay by PayPal where possible to ensure that your card details are not shared about on websites you may not use again, they only thing they’ll have is your PayPal username.
If the online shop advertises it has an Amazon\Etsy\Notonthehighstreet\<insert other online marketplace here> shop, use that over their smaller site.
Check the website is safe
Look at your address bar (Where you type in the www.)
Most browsers will display a padlock to show the website is secure HOWEVER: All this means is they are who they say they are, a padlock on amzon.com means that they really are amzon.com, it does not mean they are amazon.com and therefore perfectly safe.
Make sure the address starts with HTTPS, not just HTTP. The extra S means the link between you and the site is encrypted, completely secure and cannot be snooped upon.
Make sure the web address is correct! Some sites are set up to look just like another website, with a tiny typo they hope you won’t notice.
Public WiFi is not secure and can be hijacked very easily. Personally I never use public WiFi.
What to do if something does go wrong?
If you think your card has been used fraudulently let your bank know straight away so they can stop any further use of it.
If you think you’ve been scammed, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use their online reporting tool.
Shopping online when done with caution can be a very safe way to shop – But shopping local should also be commended, if we don’t use it, we’ll lose it 🙂
Have fun shopping online!