Forest Software

Web, SEO and IT & Business Advice for the Smaller Business

How to buy safely on-line

We are often asked about online shopping and how secure it is.

Basically. online shopping is easy and saves on shoe leather but don't get too carried away and forget to take care. Follow the advice below before using your credit card and your online purchasing should be fraud-free and fun.

Try not to shop online in a public place such as an internet cafe or public library. If you do then make sure that you are properly logged out when you finish.

The only details a fraudster needs to spend your money online is your name, card number and expiry date so always safeguard these details.

It can be difficult, but use different, difficult to guess, passwords for each account.

Always check that the company you are buying from has a real phone number and a postal address, think twice if the number is a mobile phone and the address is a PO Box.

Try to use a shop that has a third party online payment broker such as PayPal, NoChex, NetBanx or WorldPay. Always print out a copy of the payment page as proof of purchase.

If the web site crashes when processing the online payment or placing an order it may be badly coded - don't use it.

When making an online payment make sure that the address starts with https (not http), the 's' stands for secure and means that the communication between yourself and the site is encrypted.

Also, when making an online payment make sure that the padlock symbol that appears in bottom corner of the browser window is locked. Click on it to display the web site address and details of the web sites' security certificate. Make sure that the details match the site you think you are in, although with some payment processors such as Worldpay you are taken to the processors site to make the actual payment and returned to the shop site after.

Treat online shopping the same way as you would treat making a purchase over the telephone and you will reduce the risk of fraud. In fact, buying on-line can be safer than buying via mail-order as you can check out the company and the payment processor before deciding to buy. Don't forget, your credit card or debit card details need to be kept safe, by using reputable companies when buying online you are taking sensible steps to keep the details safe and reducing the risk of identity theft.

Please also read our 10 tips on preventing ID theft.

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