Secure Shopping

Who wouldn't prefer the peace and quiet of shopping in the comfort of your own home to fighting the crowds at the shopping centre?
As more and more people are taking advantage of the freedom of online shopping, incidences of fraud online have also risen. That doesn't mean you have to miss out on the convenience of shopping online, but it could be worth taking a few precautions.

Use of credit card

Purchases over £100 and up to £30,000 that are made with a credit card are protected under section 75 of the consumer credit act ( . This means that if you pay for a product (online or otherwise) using your credit card, in certain circumstances the card company is equally liable should anything go wrong. So, if the company goes bust, or you never get your goods, then you could be able to claim your money back from the credit card issuer.

Ensure you are using a secure connection

Two of the most important things to look for when buying online are a web address that starts with 'https' and a padlock symbol. These usually show that the site is secure, and if the padlock is broken so is the security on the site. Only put your credit card details into a site with a lock that is unbroken, and don't trust any site that says it is secure but has a broken padlock. By clicking on the padlock, you can also check the site's certificate - this gives you information on who registered the site.

Buy from a well known store

Almost all businesses have websites these days and you should be able to buy at a good price from a brand name store. If you find the product you want is cheaper or only available on an unknown site, search the web to see if there are any positive or negative mentions of the site. It's also worth checking that the site has contact details. If there is no way of contacting the company other than on the web, then you might want to consider shopping elsewhere. Even if the site is legitimate, it's good to have more than one contact option available in case there's an issue with your order.

Make a note of what you order

Check the payment and delivery details, read the terms and conditions carefully, and make sure that the amount that's credited to your card or taken from your account matches the amount you agreed to pay. Keeping track of your order means you'll notice sooner if there are any issues, which means you'll be able to act more quickly.

Trust your instincts

If you're not sure about a website, or have any suspicions at all, don't go ahead with the transaction. A well-constructed website isn't always a sign that it's legitimate, and if an offer looks too good to be true, it could be a scam.