Guide to shopping online securely

Ecommerce has established a reputation for delivering value for money when shopping, some high street retailers are even using comparing with e-retailers prices to try to convince customers how competitively priced their services are.

In 2007, shoppers spent over £10.7 billions online between November and December. This year, despite the credit crunch, consumers are expected to spend 15% more over last year spending. The trend of increased spending online continues year after year.

Despite the phenomenal growth of online retailing, some consumers are still sceptical about inserting their credit card information into a website, though all online retailers implement the necessary security to ensure customer’s credit card details are protected, there are some basic tips consumers could implement to ensure their cart details are information on their PC is secure.

Some basic security tips for consumers follows:

  • Keep your PC software up to date . The older a pice of software is, the more likely that it is vulnerable to intrusion, ensure you are using the latest version of the software that comes with your PC, update you PC software with the latest patch released by the manufacture as soon as it is released.

  • Anti Virus and Anti Spyware . Install the latest version of your anti virus software on your computer, if you anti virus software does not come with anti spyware, obtain and install anti spyware as well.

  • Dedicated Shopping PC. If you share your PC with your children, especially older children who download and install all sorts of software, consider having your own dedicated PC, do your online shopping from your own PC. Children tends to download lots of software, some of this software contains so called trojan which could compromise the security of your computer.

  • Secured site. Ensure the padlock symbol shows at the stage of your shopping where you need to input your personal details. Part of a website that collects personal details and the part where you insert your credit card information should be on secure server, if you look at the address of the site, it should begin with https and the padlock symbols should appear on the bottom right hand corner of you browser, for some browser it appears at the top.

  • Passwords. When you are required to create password for the shopping site, create a complex password that you can remember easily, create a password that includes words and numbers, capital and lowercase words.

  • When buying from a site that is not a household name, ensure the site has contact information including address and land line phone number. Call that number on the website for additional peace of mind if you have any doubt about a website.

  • Keep evidence. Always keep the confirmation email send to you after a purchase or the information the webite advises to print.

  • Register your card with Verified by Visa or Master Card, this provides additional security when shopping online.

  • Consider using and temporary credit card such as the one issued by Cahoot just for online shopping.

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