A Guide to Safe Online Shopping

safe-online-shopping

One of the major benefits of credit cards is that they allow us to shop online from the comfort and convenience of our own homes. The trouble is, with every transaction we carry out over the internet, our account information could be at risk, unless we know the guidelines to follow and pitfalls to avoid.

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  • Know your limit: The temptation to carry on spending when making purchases online with your credit card can be very dangerous. It is not as easy to keep track of how much cash you are parting with as it is handing over physical money in a shop, so you need to stay in control. Credit cards are often already loaded with high interest rates you don’t want; the last thing you need is to run yourself into debt with one as well.

  • Use secure websites: If you’ve never heard of a website and its offers appear too good to be true, chances are it is a scam best avoided. Regulated websites will display ‘HTTPS’ at the beginning of their browser name and a padlock symbol will be visible next to the web address. Keep an eye out for these as indicators of a site you can trust.

  • Don’t shop publicly: With the internet part of our everyday lives now and everyone constantly on the go, it is very common to do your shopping in an internet café, a library or another public space. The trouble with this is that other people will use these same computers after you and if any of your account or card details have been saved, they could access them. Fraudsters may even simply linger in such areas to watch people fill in their details so they can jot them down and use them later.

  • Don’t save details: Using public computers is not the only occasion when you should avoid saving your details. Taking the extra time to fill in your information each time you shop online is worth the peace of mind that no one can garner access to your personal details. After all, more people get hold of our laptops, smartphones and tablets than we think and it only takes one to steal your info.

  • Check reputation: You should never rely solely on the reputation of a store’s retail outlet to inform your online shopping decisions. Always make sure their online reputation is equally as strong and reliable.

  • Check small print: You should always check the small print for any delivery costs, return policies or possible extra charges so you are aware of everything you are paying for. Also be sure to check their privacy policy, as this will tell you whether or not they intend to hand your details over to third party businesses; something you may well want to avoid to keep your information private.

  • Be wary of scams: The most common way for fraudsters to target their victims is with scam emails. Random offers from businesses you have never shopped with or suspicious messages asking for your account information should always be ignored as banks and reputable organizations will never request such information in this manner.

  • Keep order info: The best way to insure yourself when shopping online is to keep hold of your order number and any confirmation emails or receipts that document the details of your transaction until you have the goods in your hands.

Anum

Anum Yoon is the founder and editor of Current on Currency. She loves all things personal finance, which is why you'll find her work all over the PF blogosphere.