Maybe you love to shop, want something you can’t buy locally or just like getting a bargain? Internet shopping can be great for all these things. It brings a world of shops to your door and goods are often far cheaper online.

But before you make your purchases, ask yourself:

  • Do you know the retailer you’re buying from?
  • Can you contact them if your purchase never turns up?
  • Are there any hidden taxes, charges or delivery costs?
  • Will your payment and payment details be kept secure?

What Should I Look For?

Make sure you have a secure connection for payment by checking the website address. It should be ‘https://www…’ not ‘http://www…’. The ‘s’ tells you the site is secure.

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Look for a padlock somewhere in the status bar of your browser. In older browsers it may be at the bottom of the window. In newer browsers it will be in the address bar at the top of the window, next to the URL.

Examples of safe sites are:

Google Chrome

ssl-chrome

Opera

ssl-opera9

Mozilla Firefox

ssl-firefox2

Internet Explorer

ssl-ie7

Safari

ssl-safari2

ssl-safari3
In newer browsers the address bar gets a green colour to show you it has further security validation.

Some browsers warn you if you try to access a site without a valid security certificate. If you ignore this warning, your address bar will turn red.

If your address bar turns red, do not enter your card details!

Secure Https Server
Check the website is running on a secure https server and look for the padlock.
Look for contact details
Look for contact details of the retailer like a phone number and physical address. Research the retailer if they are new to you.
Check the terms and delivery costs
Check the terms, delivery costs and any other surcharges before you start shopping. Save on delivery by making multiple purchases (of things you want) in one transaction. You can also save money by looking for voucher codes or becoming a member of the website to get notified of discounts and special offers.
Check the final order
Always check the final total of your order before confirming.
Pay by credit card for extra protection
If possible, pay by credit card for extra protection. If a transaction proves to be fraudulent, you may never end out of pocket with a credit card. (Note: using a credit card may increase the cost of your transaction). Alternatively, you can use a one-time-use virtual prepaid card instead.
Verification
If your card issuer offers Verified by Visa, Mastercard SecureCode or American Express SafeKey, use it for extra protection.
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Don’t save your payment details with the retailer in case their database is compromised and your details are stolen.
Log Out
Always log out properly.

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