Online Internet Shopping

Online Shopping and your Security

Shopping online is becoming a part of day to day ordinary life, with many people going online to window shop, compare prices, and to buy.

It’s like having the shops come to your house, as and when you want them, morning, noon and night, 24/7.

It is easy to overlook a few basic security hints and tips that everyone should bear in mind. Security online is not calling for paranoia, just common sense and a few simple checks.

If you use well established internet names, perhaps Amazon, or Argos, you can be pretty sure that they will have the most up-to-date and powerful internet security. Should you find yourself looking at an online retailer that you’re unfamiliar with, do a quick look around it.

Common sense should tell you that if it is making an offer that is too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true, and don’t be suckered in.

Check the site looks professional, spelling mistakes, or shaky graphics could be hiding more than a bargain. If you go ahead with a purchase, before you put your personal information in, check that the site has a physical bricks and mortar address, and a credible returns policy.

Also, have a look at the site’s security. The address in the browser bar should begin with https. The S on the end stands for Sockets Security Levels, which is a protocol for secure transfer of information. It means that the information leaving your computer is encrypted and can only be de-encrypted by the seller’s server. Should the address read simply http, do not use it.

A tip for making online payments, is always use your credit card over your debit card. Should the transaction not go as planned, the credit card gives you legal rights under the Consumer credit act.

Under section 75 of the Consumer credit act, the credit card company “is jointly and severally liable for any breach of contract or misrepresentation by the retailer or trader”. Basically, if you go shopping with their money, they have a vested interest in its return to them.

Another simple piece of common sense when looking at goods online, is only to enter a transaction from a secure base, not when out and about on your smart phone or tablet.

Free Wi-Fi in public places cannot guarantee security, and these hotspots can be vulnerable to cyber hackers after your financial details. There is also a risk when you’re out and about, of having your phone lost or stolen, so ensure it is password protected, to give your stored information a measure of protection.