More people are choosing to shop online than ever before, with online shopping now accounting for one in five pounds spent in British shops – up from one in ten during 2013.
A more convenient way to shop, you can now buy almost anything on the internet, from ordering a takeaway and booking a holiday, to applying for a mortgage or accessing finance. However, placing orders online also poses risks, particularly in terms of fraud – in the UK, more than one billion pounds was fraudulently stolen through credit and debit cards in 2017.
To keep your details safe and secure, here are some essential online shopping tips.
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Although you may be wary of spending on a credit card, if used well (by paying on time and keeping your balance low), it could help to improve your credit score. Additionally, a credit card can provide a safer way of shopping online.
This is because under the Consumer Credit Act, credit cards provide a higher level of protection on purchases over £100. This can apply in several circumstances, for example, should you buy an item that is not fit for purpose, or find an unauthorised transaction on your statement.
Verify Before Purchasing
Before buying something online, there are several checks you can complete to help keep your information safe. Firstly, if on a website you are unfamiliar with, start by searching for reviews. There are a number of dedicated review websites that reveal customer experiences.
Secondly, check the website. Is it secure? Secure websites start https:// and have a valid security certificate, as shown by the lock symbol. Also find out about their checkout process, as many reputable retailers advertise a secure payment system.
Never Shop Publicly
You may have seen something you would like to buy online when using a public wi-fi connection, but to stay secure, wait until you get home to place your order. This is because a public network can be accessed by anyone and is more susceptible to spyware.
To avoid this, always use a secure connection on a device with antivirus software, as this helps minimise the risk of someone accessing your details.
Avoid Storing Information
Finally, to stay safe online, avoid storing your account or card details on websites. While many online retailers provide the option of saving your bank card information to make checkout faster next time you shop, should a breach occur, this could put your account at risk of fraud. Although it takes longer, entering the details each time you shop is a safer option.
Final Safety Tips
As the number of online transactions continues to grow, it is becoming increasingly important to stay safe when shopping in this way.
In addition to the above tips, you could also consider doing the following:
- Change your passwords regularly and use symbols, capitals and numbers to make them more secure.
- Check your accounts frequently. This allows you to ensure there are no unauthorised transactions, or if the worst should happen, you can report it early and cancel cards, to prevent further spending.
- Avoid clicking login links within emails as these may be phishing scams. Always go directly to the website when entering personal information.