Thursday 29 August 2013

How to Stay Safe When Buying Online

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More and more of us are turning to the internet for our purchases. Unfortunately, since it’s so easy to set up a website, many fraudsters use the opportunity to commit fraudulent activities or create fake businesses. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t take advantage of the conveniences that buying online has to offer. We just have to keep an eye out for the signs that a site or business is not legitimate.

The Website

When paying for anything online, you should be doing so through a secure connection. Check the address bar for “https://” at the beginning of the site.  The “s” on the “http” shows you that the site is secure and your details are encrypted when being sent. Keep an eye out for the padlock symbol, too, which should appear only in the browser bar. You should also make sure that you are not being transferred to another website when you go to pay.  Aside from this, it’s important to use your own judgement. If the website doesn’t look very good or something just doesn’t feel right then leave it. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Some Things are Just Too Good to be True

One of the most common ways that people stumble upon fraudulent businesses online is that they are constantly looking for a better deal. There is nothing wrong with doing some research beforehand to make sure you’re paying the lowest price, but it’s important to have realistic expectations. If you want to purchase a laptop that retails for £1000 but stumble across a deal where you can purchase it for £400, you have to question the dramatic decrease in the price. Either the product doesn’t exist, it’s not what it claims to be, or there is something seriously wrong with it. It’s been said time and time again, but if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Choose Your Payment Method Wisely

Choose a credit card over a debit card. If you have one, most credit cards are covered by purchase protection, in that you are covered if fraudsters manage to get hold of your details. Debit cards and many pre-paid cards (although not all) do not offer this same protection. So if you have a credit card but generally don’t use it, you might consider using it only for online purchases.
PayPal is another great, trusted payment method. PayPal is secure and means that you only have to enter your card details once online. As the details will not be entered into the website you’re purchasing from, there is no chance of hackers finding your details.

The Seller’s Details

Can you find the seller’s details easily and can you contact them easily should there be a problem? You should always be able to find a trading name, address, email address, and landline phone number. You can also find details of the website owner by using WHOIS. WHOIS lets you access the registration details of the owner, if something seems suspicious about them, don’t trust it.


There are a number of websites and organisations put into place to educate and help keep consumers protected from online fraud., or Internet Shopping is Safe, evaluates over 1000 companies and the ones which pass are accredited with the ISIS logo. lists thousands of UK businesses and allows customers to leave reviews about their experiences. 

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