As shopping online becomes more and more popular, the crimes and scams associated with it also increased. With so many bargains and discounts available online it can sometimes be hard to spot scams, in our guide we will help to address that.
1) Know the website
Buying from a trusted website can remove most of the common risks associated with shopping online, you can find our list of shop recommendations on our shop page. Beware of sites attempting to imitate others, always check their address in the URL bar, the site may look like something you are familiar with, but it can often be worth checking.
2) Secure your internet
It is advised to only shop online where you trust the Wifi or internet connection, public Wifi connections are susceptible to being overlooked by hackers, and they can track your online movements. Having a password protected Wifi connection at home can keep you secure and prevent anyone from accessing your connection.
3) Information you give away
Online stores generally do not need to know your PPS number or birthday, so it is recommended not to give it away. Information such as this can be used to steal your identity. So always be careful when a website asks for irrelevant details.
4) Using SSL when paying
The green lock is always important when entering sensitive information online, the URL of the site will begin with https://, sometimes this only appears when you reach the checkout page of site, which is fine. It is very important that you do not enter credit card information if the green lock or https:// is not present.
5) Use your own devices
Public internet connected devices can be dangerous when shopping online, you do not know what software is installed and sometimes software such as keyloggers can be used to track what you enter on your keyboard. If you have to use such terminals only do so from trusted sources and log out of any sites you access.
6) Strong passwords
As with most things online, a strong password is recommended, particularly when it comes to sites where you card details are saved. Sites such as Amazon give you the option to save your card details for your convenience, so it is important to pick a strong password to keep them save. Try to stay away from using personally details in your password that others can guess, according to Keeper Security, 17% of internet users still use “123456”.
7) Keep your PC clean
Anti virus software is always recommended to protect both online and to keep your PC clean from any virus, this is important and common free solutions as AVG offer free Anti Virus solutions so there are no excuses ! Viruses can be used to record what you enter online (keyloggers) or even redirect you to sites, so when you think you are accessing Amazon you are actually redirected to a site made to look like that site.
8) Check your statements
With most banks offering easy to use mobile apps there are no excuses when it comes to regularly checking your statements, this can reduce the chances of someone fraudulently using your credit or debit card to make purchases. Typically card scammers will try to purchase goods and try to have them delivered to another address or purchase virtual items (gift vouchers, online game codes etc), so it is important to spot them early, if you suspect something, call the number listed on your credit or debit card.
9) Check reviews
If you decide to shop online from a site you are unfamiliar with check online for reviews, sites such as Trustpilot provide a service allows customers to leave unbiased reviews and there are many more like it, so it is always worth checking.
10) Too good to be true
Finally, the old rule, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Scam sites will often try to entice victims with ultra low prices and the promise of getting regular goods at hugely discounted rates. This is a particular problem with designer goods, with a lot of sites originating in far east countries such as China, a typical give away is broken English or unknown payment methods, also keep an eye out to see if the site lists a telephone number or address, these sites will typically only list a contact form with no details available.