Shopping online is seemingly growing in popularity all the time and for good reason. Many web stores offer products at a lower cost than the high street and allow you to avoid the hassle of fighting through the crowds and queuing. But before you get your credit card out its worth giving some thought to safety, something the following tips can help with:
Use a credit card to pay
If you plan to make big ticket purchases online it’s well worth making a credit card application, because using plastic can afford you an extra level of protection. This is due to Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, which states lenders must take responsibility if goods or services bought fail to arrive, are faulty or are not as publicized. Be sure to shop around to find the best interest rates and remember it’s always better to pay off your balance in full whenever possible to avoid paying more than you need to.
Mix up your passwords
Just as it’s important to make your passwords unique and difficult for criminals to guess or decode, it’s also worth mixing them up for different websites. This way if your password is uncovered on one site it won’t leave you at risk elsewhere. It’s also worth changing these fairly regularly to further reduce the chances of unauthorized access.
Make sure the website is secure
It’s always worth double checking the site you plan to shop with is reputable. Even if you’re confident that it is it’s worth looking out for “https://” rather than just “http://” on the payment page. This means the information you enter will be encrypted and therefore difficult for fraudsters to get their hands on. It’s also worth looking out for the padlock symbol, which again is a sign you’re protected, as well as reading up on some other ways to verify it. If you’re unsure it’s best to leave it, unless someone you trust can verify its legitimacy.
Keep an eye on your statements
It’s good practice to keep an eye on your bank statements to make sure everything is as it should be and this still applies after shopping online. It’s arguably easier than ever to check your balance these days, with internet banking and even mobile phone apps meaning you can access your account without going near a branch. If you’re not sure about any outgoings it’s worth raising the issue with your bank.