Shopping from Home Cyber-Safely
The boffins who invented fibre optic cabling probably didn’t have online shopping in mind as one of the benefits of speedy broadband connections, but here it is, a market worth billions of pounds per year and growing fast.
The slight trouble with any commerce involving huge sums of money, is that it invariably attracts the attention of the criminal classes.
You may think that international cyber criminals and professional spammers and phishers won’t be interested in you, well, they are interested in anyone and everyone that uses the internet.
You can help yourself to stay safe, with a few simple precautions, the most obvious being to ensure your home computer has up-to-date antivirus/antispyware and firewall up and running before you go online.
Smart phones and tablets are great opening to the internet, but if you’re out and about, be aware that computer connections in public places, as a rule are not secure. Browse and window shop to your hearts content, but if you intend to put financial detail across the net, wait until you have secure connection, say, work, or home.
The huge range available to you as a shopper, can seem to be endless, but it’s most likely you can find your items on a site that you know and can trust, whether it is a national store name, or one that you have researched and received positive feedback.
An unknown site should be viewed suspect until proved otherwise!
Look to see if the vendor has given a physical postal address, along with a returns policy. If a phone number is given, then try it and check the number is authentic.
Should the offer you’re looking at seem awesomely good and unbelievably cheap, be wary, by rule of thumb, if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Steer clear.
Should you feel happy about the seller and you’re going enter your financial details, check the address in the browser bar when you have reached the secure page, it should read https:/ and not simply http:/.
The S indicates that the site has Secure Sockets Level, which means that your financial details will be encrypted as they leave your terminal and can only be decrypted by the terminal at the sellers end.
There should also be the symbol of a closed padlock in the browser bar. If it appears somewhere else on the page, it may indicate an insecure site.