Who can even be bothered sale shopping IRL anymore? The crowds, the sweat, the general rage running through our bodies till we reach the safety of our homes again, well no more! If you’d rather shop your couch fort with a few simple taps, I am right there with you – especially when it comes to the sales! But, with great shopping, comes great responsibility. Online safety isn’t a new thing but it is getting smarter, so how do you keep yourself (and your purchases) safe?
I consider myself to be a savvy person when it comes to online safety, but let me tell you, NO ONE is safe when it comes to fraudsters lurking on the world wide web. From fake websites, confirmation payment windows, counterfeit goods to Nigerian Princes wanting to send you money, the efforts of scamming are far and wide, which is why Royal Bank of Scotland recommend you keep these things in mind when shopping for your next purchase:
1. Use Familiar Web Sites
Start at a trusted site. Facebook is full of all these dodgy websites which can lead you astray. Beware misspellings or sites using a .net instead of a .com, for example —those are the oldest tricks in the book. Yes, the sales on these sites might look enticing but that’s how they get you!
2. Look for the Lock
Never ever, ever buy anything online using your credit card from a site that doesn’t have SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption installed. That’s an icon appearing as a lock starting with HTTPS:// (instead of just HTTP://) to you and me. Never give anyone your credit card over e-mail. PayPal, however, is still a good, safe way to make a payment, but beware of the false emails I’ve seen kicking about from a strange email address, which leads me to point 3.
3. Think of the info you are sharing
Think about it, no store online or off is going to need your mother’s maiden name or your birthday to do business. But if a bad-guy gets them, combined with your card for purchases, they can do a lot of damage. Just remember to keep an eye on your statements for any fraudulent transactions and always check the web or email address.
4. Keep your computer protected
Bad-guys don’t just sit around waiting for you to give them data; sometimes they give you a little something extra to help things along – a virus! Make sure you have the latest browser and anti-virus to keep all your digital possessions safe.
5. Use Strong Passwords
OK, we have been told about this strong password malarky before but honestly, it’s more important now than ever. Most people use a similar password across all their platforms (stop doing this!) but if you want the shop to store your info, make sure you make it as unique as possible, and use apps like Key Chain to keep track of which pass is where.
6. Use a Secure Network
Step away from the ASOS haul until you reach your secure wireless network. No sale is worth an empty bank account (you know, that you didn’t spend yourself!)
7. Log Out
If you have made an account with your favourite online store, don’t forget to log out after every transaction and keep a note of the confirmation email. Fraudsters come in all shapes and sizes but we don’t want to give your little sister any temptation either!
8. Download Rapport
Helping protect you when you’re online, the free IBM Rapport security software protects you by telling you that you are really connected to your bank, not a fraudulent website,
locking down your connection between your machine and your Online Banking quickly and safely.
9. If its too good to be true, it usually is
As an avid eBay shopper, I’ve come across my fair share of fakes or too good to true’s. With these items, only pay what you can afford to lose. Nine times out of ten if it looks like it’s too good to be true, then most likely it is! Again, NEVER send your bank details over email, instead opting for your mobile banking provider or PayPal. But remember, just because you use PayPal doesn’t mean you are exempt from fraud. So, check, check and double check what you are responding to!
The real key to online safety when you shop digital is really just thinking twice about who you give your information to and where. Keep your wits about you, check the website, ask the seller, snoop at the reviews, look for the padlock and just hold off that ASOS haul until you get off 3G, OK?!
If you want some more info on online safety, be sure to check out the Royal Bank of Scotland’s website.
Stay safe out there and happy shopping!