Safe Online Shopping.
Tips and Tricks to safeguard your finances when shopping online.
Online retail sales are predicted to reach £52.25bn in the UK this year, a 16.2% increase on 2014. This equates to around 15% of all retail sales in the UK and means that on average any one person in the UK will spend £1,175 online in 2015, which would make us the most frequent online shoppers in Europe.
As Christmas approaches the end of November has been identified by retail analysts as the start of the busiest period to make online purchases for Christmas presents. During this period it is easy to get carried away with the wonders of the World Wide Web and the bargains it can bring you over traditional shops but its equally important to keep safe and ensure that you don't get any nasty surprises when ordering that Xmas hamper or Monorover this year.
Before you exercise your wallet this festive season we recommend you read through the following advice in order for you to shop online safely and always remember to keep your wits about you!
- Only use trusted websites - There are thousands of reputable online retailers out there catering for almost every requirement so why use one you have never heard of?
- Ensure that the website address begins ‘https’ at the payment stage which indicates a secure payment, you should also see a padlock symbol appear at the top or bottom of the page. Clicking the padlock should give you full details of the digital certificate, it's status and the organisation it was provided to.
- Don’t access links through unsolicited emails - never, ever click on a link in an e-mail unless you are 110% sure of its provenance.
- Avoid paying by debit cards or by money transfers in particular, if you are using an online auction site; use an online payment option such as PayPal. Credit cards carry purchase insurance that should get you your money back if the worst happens. (Buy something costing £100+ on a credit (NOT debit) card, and under Section 75 of the UK Consumer Credit Act, your lender is jointly liable with the retailer.)
- Watch for pop-ups asking you to confirm your card details before you are on the payment stage.
- Never enter your card PIN online. A reputable site will never ask you for this.
- Keep your security software and firewalls up to date. Regularly update your internet browser when a new patch (security update) is released. Think of this in the same terms as having your home alarm system maintained - vital maintenance to ensure your security.
- Keep your online purchase receipts and check them against your statements. If you spot a suspicious transaction report it to the card issuer immediately and to Action Fraud - the UK's national Internet crime reporting centre.
- Be wary of low prices for branded goods as the items for sale may not exist or be counterfeit. If it is too good to be true, it usually is!
Keep the above in mind and you shouldn't go far wrong. Be vigilant, be safe but, whatever you do, have a great holiday this Xmas 2015!
The Red Mosquito Team