As the festive season is fast approaching and many of you will be buying Christmas gifts on-line, I’d like to give you some tips on trying to keep safe when internet shopping.
If you don’t know the website, stay clear. This may sound a little obvious, but if you don’t know who the retailer is, are you sure you can trust them? Make sure you’ve either heard of them or that they’ve been recommended to you as safe. Don’t trust website reviews from people you don’t know but in the event that a particular online retailer is the only place to get what you want, make sure you check that you’ve got plenty of contact details such as a name, phone number and postal address.
Returns Policy. Make sure the retailer you buy from has got one and that you know what it is.
Make sure the retailer has a secure website. When you are at the checkout and before you type in your credit card details, do check the security of the website. There are 2 ways of doing this: firstly look for a padlock in the web browser’s address bar; secondly check that the address in the address bar starts with https:// (the ‘s’ stands for secure).
Use a credit card. Avoid using a debit card online as you will have significantly less protection than using a credit card. In addition, some credit cards will give you free extended warranties.
Split your email addresses. You’ve quite possibly got 2 email addresses already, one for work and one for home. You should consider at least 2 email addresses for home use, one for all the social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter and another for shopping and banking. That way if your social media address gets hacked, it won’t be as much of a security issue as the shopping/banking one. We’ve always recommended free email addresses which are available from Microsoft but Google, Yahoo and Apple offer similar services.
Set a serious password. Coming up with a good password that is easy to remember and yet strong can be quite hard. The best passwords are made up of phrases, upper and lower case characters and punctuation. So for example “iloveShopping4shoes!” or “iwantaCheesesandwich4lunch!” would work really well (although obviously not now as I’ve just told 10,000 readers!).