Most of us will have been using the Internet for many years. We happily send off emails, do our banking and browse the Internet, but when buying items online it is very easy to scared by the horror stories we all hear. From having identities stolen, to losing money to fraudsters, the idea of buying your shopping online can be a scary thought. But if you follow a few simple rules and ensure that you are careful while you shop you can make safe purchases.
Distance selling regulations state that when you are shopping online you have to be given clear information about the goods or services you are buying. You should also receive written confirmation of your purchase, although this can be in the form of an email. You also get a cooling off period and a refund if your items are not delivered on the correct date.
Most reputable companies adhere to these regulations and it should be the minimum you will expect. However these factors do not prevent your details being used fraudulently or you being caught out by a scam.
- Check the company you are buying from has a landline number and a correct address – not a PO Box number.
- Google the name of the company to see if anyone else has had a problem with them. Review sites can also be helpful.
- Make sure the site address starts with “https”. This indicates that it is a secure site and that it has been independently checked. A yellow padlock symbol in the payment browser window will also indicate that it is a secure payment method. It is a signal that the site uses encryption.
- The Verisign Trust seal means that the company's identity has been checked. The site will have passed a malware scan each day and that they use encryption.
- The ISIS logo is another retail body which sites can be members of. It will show that the site trades in a fair way, is reviewed and monitored and has been checked for VAT, data protection and business registrations.
- If you are nervous about giving out your debit card details, you may prefer to use a credit card or a payment system such as Paypal. Credit card transactions made online are protected and if the transactions turns out to be fraudulent you will get your money back. Using Paypal means that you do not have to disclose your bank account or card details at any point.