Tips for Secure Online Shopping
Online shopping couldn’t be easier, as many of us know, and more are finding out all the time.
In fact somewhere around 95% of the UK population have looked to make purchases online, and most have. From clothes to groceries, and from music to motorcars, there are deals on virtually anything at any time.
It has become second nature for many to buy online, almost without a second thought, but, as history stands testament, wherever there is money, there will be an element prepared to take it illegally from wherever or whoever they can.
A little appreciation of security should be in the back of all users minds, in the same way you would not walk down a busy street with a wallet half-way out of your back pocket or open shopping basket with a purse laying on top.
If you look at a site which you are not familiar with, common sense should tell you that if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is, beware the scam!
A simple glance at the browser bar will show the URL address, carrying the http part of it. On a sellers site it should read https, the S indicating that the financial information given is securely encrypted using SSL – Secure Sockets Layer.
If this is not present, be prudent with the information you are prepared to give. Other marks of a secure site are a closed padlock symbol, or unbroken key symbol.
Smartphones can give the impression of being able to do what your computer at home can do, and on the face of it, that’s fine, but the possibilities of buying problems are greatly increased by them.
They are not equipped with the strength of anti-virus software that you have on your home computer, which can make you vulnerable to those who would insert mal-ware to obtain the financial information you enter.
The other vulnerability of buying when you’re out and about, is that most Wi Fi hotspots, “free” areas, do not encrypt your data, which would allow a potential criminal with right software, if they were sharing the same area, to be able to gather in the financial information you would be required to deliver to make that online purchase.
Always use a credit card when buying online, should you fall victim to a scam or online theft, the credit card company will reimburse you, in most situations. Using a debit card offers no protection against that possibility, and worse, it may give an open portal to your bank account.