Shop Online Stay Safe
Each time we venture online, we make ourselves potential targets for online villains, and each time we venture onto an unknown site as we shop, we risk fake web sites or bogus retailers offering goods that don’t exist.
This is one end of the online shopping experience, the other is, its ease and convenience, its vast range of goods and services, and its practicality of being right there on a screen in front of you.
Staying safe when shopping online may seem like a big risk, but that security can be helped by a few checks and glances that can take just moments, a healthy dose of common sense.
A good rule of thumb is to try and keep your shopping to sites that are well known online names, such as John Lewis or Amazon for example. These will have the most modern and up-to-date secure online systems, or sites that have been recommended by trusted friends.
If you find a site that is unknown to you, read whatever reviews it may have from previous customers, or look in a shopping review search engine for the site.
Common sense should tell you if the site appears genuine or not, good graphics, no spelling mistakes etc. and if what is being offered is a deal that seems too good to be true, it probably is, so leave it.
Check that the site has a physical address and not just a cyber one, and a credible returns policy and contact details. The next stage, if you have decided to make a purchase from it, is before you enter your card details, to check that the link is secure.
In your browser bar, the address of the seller should begin with https://, if it reads only http://, do not use it. The S is an important symbol of security, standing for Secure Sockets Layers, which ensures that your financial details will be encrypted as they leave your computer and can only be un-encrypted by the terminal of the seller.
Should your information be hacked whilst in progress across cyberspace, the hacker will receive only gobbledygook.
There should also be the symbol of a closed padlock in the address bar, if it appears elsewhere on the page it is probably fraudulent, legitimate padlocks will only appear in the browser bar.
These checks take moments, but as with many things to do with money it is always prudent to look before you leap.