Shopping Online Securely
Shopping online is here to stay, and it is a great way of window shopping without wearing out the shoe leather, and finding things of the beaten track.
You will not have to worry about pickpockets, or getting short changed, but to make sure that you’re not leaving your guard down on your personal and financial information, it’s worth taking a few moments each time you’re likely to make a transaction to make your information as safe as you can.
Keeping your software updated is one of the easiest things to do, and where laziness could be repaid by trouble coming back to bite you. Software updates are constantly available, and often free. Many systems update automatically, but it is worth a quick check.
Before you enter any of your information to a site, just a glance can tell you if it is secure. The address in the browser bar should begin with https://, and not just http://.
The ‘S’ indicates Layered Sockets Security, which encrypts your information as it leaves your computer, and can only be un-encrypted by the seller’s terminal, and not by cyber eaves-droppers. The bar should also cary the symbol of a small closed padlock.
Establishing a sites security is a start, but if it is a site you haven’t heard of, finding out if it is trustworthy is important. There should be comments from other users, and the seller’s rating can be checked on sites like Google Shopping.
If you intend buying goods, check that the site has a physical bricks and mortar address, as opposed to just a P.O. box, and shows a clear policy for returns and exchanges, and use common sense if being offered a deal that seems too good to be true, then it probably is, walk away. (Figuratively, of course).
When you’re at the paying bit, always make sure to use your credit card and not your debit card. Should there be any breakdown of security and your details are taken, the debit card can be a direct portal into your bank account, with dire results.
The credit card offers a level of security under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act which states that “the credit card company is jointly and severally liable for any breach of contract or misrepresentation by the retailer or trader”.
This is very useful should the transaction not go as planned, as it means the card company is as responsible as the seller for the merchandise bought. It can be particularly useful if the retailer has gone bust, or disappeared without trace.
Shopping online is here for everyone, all it needs to keep things running smoothly is just a bit of security minded common sense.