Shopping online is one of the best advances of modern technology – allowing us to save considerable time and effort when Christmas shopping, as well as beating the Christmas crowds.
However, shopping online is not without its risks. You need to make sure that you are being safe online, especially when shopping. Make sure you are aware of who you are buying from and how you’re paying for your purchases.
We’ve rounded up our top tips for staying safe when shopping online this Christmas.
Use reputable sites
When shopping online, you should make sure that you are using online retailers that are familiar to you. Make sure you can establish a physical address and telephone number as well, to ensure that they are a real, legitimate business.
Online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay are good places to start shopping – as most online businesses will have a presence on these sites too.
Make sure the site is secure
Make sure that the site you are shopping on is secure. There should be a padlock symbol in the browser window, which tells you that the site is secure against attacks and any phishing attempts. Make sure that the padlock appears across the whole site. If it just appears on one page that can be an indicator that the site is fraudulent.
If you’re using the latest version of your browser, the address bar or the name of the site owner will be green – indicating that the site is safe.
Use your credit card
When shopping online, make sure you pay for everything on your credit card. That way, if anything goes wrong with the exchange – for example if you never receive your goods – you can retract the payment back through your bank. Credit card companies are legally obliged to reimburse you for fraudulent charges under the Fair Credit Billing Act, meaning that you won’t have to shell out for any goods that are not acceptable to give as presents.
Two-factor payment systems
When shopping online, as well as using a credit card, make sure you use an online payment system too. WorldPay is a good example, but PayPal is far and away the best one.
Instead of making the payment directly, you’re paying between two electronic accounts. This means that if the sale goes wrong – for example if the goods are faulty or never arrive – you can claim your money back from PayPal.
Don’t shop in public.
This might seem contrary to what is actually possible, but make sure if you’re shopping online, you’re doing it over a network that you know is secure. Public Wi-Fi networks tend to not encrypt your data, so anyone that is sharing the same public Wi-Fi can basically pluck your identity out of the air, if they have the right software. Shopping at home on your own Wi-Fi networks may be less convenient, but it’s much safer.
Shopping online is a great perk to the internet. Follow our simple steps to staying safe online and you’ll be set for a very merry Christmas with your loved ones!