Christmas Shopping Online – How To Stay Safe

With shopping online being so easy and convenient, shopping for Christmas online is expected to significantly increase this year. We take a look at how to stay safe when shopping online.

Shopping OnlineFigures from the Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) forecast that UK shoppers are set to spend 16% more online this December than last.

So whether it be shopping for a gaming console such as a Playstation 3 or Xbox 360, some presents to pamper your loved ones or perhaps food for the festivities, with the help of The UK Cards Association and their Be Card Smart Online campaign, we look at some common sense advice to follow to stay safe online.

The Be Card Smart Online campaign provides a simple checklist that shoppers should follow:

  1. Keep your PC protected –  ensure it’s equipped with the latest operating system, browser and up-to-date anti-virus software
  2. Look for the padlock symbol – especially if you’re buying from a website for the first time. It shows you are connecting with a secure server, the website page address you should start with ‘https’
  3. Register your cards with Verified by Visa or MasterCard SecureCode when prompted – it’s quick and easy and makes shopping online even safer
  4. Always log out after shopping online and save the confirmation e-mail as a record of your order.

As you shop be aware of the personal information you are giving out and be careful to help prevent against identity theft.

Make your gift buying online as stress-free as possible to. Consider

  • Only deal with reputable sellers – use sites you can trust, perhaps those you know or ones that have been recommended to you. Be particularly wary when buying from overseas. If you have any concerns then try and address these by asking questions before buying.
  • Be sure you know who you are dealing with – always access the website you are planning to buy from by typing the address into your web browser. Never go to a website from a link in an unsolicited email and then enter your personal details or PIN – the email could be a phishing scam.
  • Trust your instincts – if an offer looks too good to believe then it most likely is!
  • Check delivery timescales and keep records – print out your order and keep copies of the retailer’s terms and conditions, returns policy, delivery conditions, postal address (not a post office box) and phone number (not a mobile number). Having this information will help if you subsequently encounter difficulties with your order.
  • Section 75 protection – if you are buying something between £100 and £30,000 consider using a credit card, as you will then have extra protection through Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act – for transactions in the UK and abroad. Basically this says that if a problem subsequently arises, such as the company going out of business, you can claim your money back from your credit card company.
  • Keep receipts and check these against your statement – if you spot a transaction you did not authorise speak to your card company immediately. If you are the innocent victim of any type of card fraud you will not suffer any financial loss.

By taking a few, simple steps it will help to ensure that your shopping online experience this Christmas truly is stress free and easy as well as safe.

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