Staying Safe When Shopping Online Today
Shopping over the internet has certainly come of age, in fact, at around 25 years old, it’s beginning become a tradition!
The advent of fibre optic cabling has led to huge advances in computer ability, with concepts such as the cloud becoming mainstream computing, and many more improvements and refinements in online technology have played their parts, and as a by-product brought us seamless online shopping.
Seamless except for the hackers, cyber-scammers, phishers and fraudsters and general ne’r-do-wells of the cyber underworld.
Your personal information and your money are interchangeable to the cyber thief, so look after both of them with the same care.
Shopping online should still be easy and fun, and as long as you just bear a few simple steps in mind, before parting with either, you should stay safe.
Are the antivirus programmes on your computer up to date, many will update themselves, but check your malware/spyware programmes to make sure.
Try to stick to well-known retailer sites, should you go “off-piste” and you’re tempted by a site that is new to you, do a little checking before buying.
Are there any reviews about it, ask on your social media, perhaps. Look to see if it gives a physical address alongside a returns policy. If it also gives a phone number, why not try it?
If you get to the payments page, the site should show that it is secure by displaying the information simply in the browser bar.
Look for the site’s address, and the http:/ should read https:/ The S is the sign that the site is secure, actually standing for Secure Sockets Layer. This will keep your data safe by encrypting it as it goes from your terminal, and decrypting it at the seller’s terminal. There should also be a symbol of a closed padlock in the browser bar.
Always use your credit card for payment, at least for items over a certain amount, let’s say £100, rather than your debit card. This avoids fraud problems which could potentially, if using a debit card, leave your bank account details open.
You will asked for the security number, which is normally the last three digits on the back of the card. You should never be asked, and certainly never give out your PIN number. Not even your bank will ask you for your PIN number, and you should only use it in ATM machines, or point of sale terminals in retail type environments.
The credit card also gives you the protection of the consumer credit act, and by using the credit card company’s money instead of yours, they will have a vested interest in helping you to a smooth outcome if something goes awry!