Online Shopping - Staying Safe Tips and Guidance
Today, you can buy so many goods and services online. It is an easy option as you can literally shop from your armchair. But before you press the 'buy' button have a read through our tips to help you keep safe.
Anytime you are on the Internet, information is being passed between your computer and the websites you choose to browse. When this information is of a sensitive nature, like your personal address, contact numbers and credit cards, you need to make sure that the Internet connection between yourself and the website you are using is secure.
What makes a website secure?
A website is considered to be secure when it scrambles (or encrypts) the communications between your computer and the website.
What to look out for is the address the website uses: if it starts with a HTTPS then this tells you that the communications between the computer and the website will be encrypted and no one can intercept this information and see your personal details or credit cards information.
Tip: make sure the website is secured using HTTPS and not just the normal "http://". Additionally most browsers include a padlock symbol which shows you it is secure.
For a website to be secure (and have a HTTPS address) it requires a certificate to be validated from a trusted source. Click on the padlock to see the certificate. Most modern browsers will warn you if a site has an invalid certificate. This does not always mean that the site is not trustworthy sometimes these warnings are displayed as a result of a time zone error. Read more here.
Tip: if your browser says there is a security certificate error double check the site you are using, be extra careful.
Choose Trusted Vendors?
There are lots of places to buy goods and services online, and many new websites pop up to offer the latest deals or bargains. Unfortunately there are websites that are malicious and are designed to entice you to share your credit card or infect your computer with a virus.
Tips: make sure your computer has up to date virus (or anti-malware) software installed and the latest security patches applied.
Stay away from clicking on links in emails that appear in your inbox from an unknown company. It is best practice to avoid clicking any links unless you know the business from which it came.
Use trusted businesses that you have used before. If you are uncertain check to see if they have a telephone contact number and give them a call to validate their business.
No one wants to go through the process of canceling their credit cards and recovering any loss due to a credit card being stolen. To limit the risk an option maybe to have a credit card that is solely used for online transactions. It may have a smaller credit limit and it will be easier to keep an eye on what transactions are going through.
Tip: have a credit card that is only used for online transactions.
Overall buying good and services online is a great and convenient experience. Don't be nervous just follow these tips to be extra safe.