Secure Online Shopping & Staying Safe

Shopping Online Securely

The growth of online shopping has grown year on year since its conception some 20 years ago. The advances in technology have gone hand in hand with the phenomena in a chicken and egg sort of way.

As the market gets bigger and bigger and the associated amounts of money involved (currently in the UK, in excess of £100 billion per year) so the interests of those with villainy in mind get stronger.

Cybercrime has risen exponentially, a matter of no great surprise, but not to be blasé about. Don’t think cybercrime only happens to other people, it can catch anyone who doesn’t apply a few basic security measures.

Use your credit card rather than your debit card for making online purchases, as this protects your own banking details. If something goes wrong with the transaction, money has not been taken from your bank account, and may even be refundable by your card provider.

You could use a secure online payment service such as PayPal, to which you make your payment and PayPal are the go-between and pass the funds on to seller, and not your financial details.

Never send your bank account details by email, ever, to anyone.

Shopping online from trusted or household names (such as should usually carry little risk, but the scam known as phishing can trick the unwary.

This is when cyber scammers create counterfeit websites which may well look genuine, but are anything but, existing only to extract your financial details.

It certainly doesn’t take much more than a glance to check a site’s authenticity, look at the URL, the starting letters of the site, which should read https://, if the s is not on the end, avoid, The “s” means it has been secured utilising SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) to encrypt personal details which you want to put on line such as your credit card.

In many cases the https:// is preceded by the symbol of a closed padlock, if not, be on your guard, and proceed with caution.

Using Wi-Fi in public places can be a security issue. The now familiar sign “Free Wi-Fi here”, in the café or library is a useful bonus for us, but can unwittingly be a conduit for a scammer, having set up a network called “Free Wi-Fi” or any other variation that includes a nearby venue to make you think it’s a legitimate source.

As a rule of thumb, when out and wanting to use free Wi-Fi, use your mobile phone and use the data provided by your network provider. If you want to make an online purchase, try to hang on until you get home!