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Shopping safely online

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I love clothes, handbags and shoes, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I spend far too much on all three every single month. My wardrobe is literally bursting at the seams, and I’m not even sorry.

As much as I love shopping, the demands of everyday life often mean that I don’t get the chance to leisurely browse my favourite high street shops half as much as I would like to. But fear not, there’s an alternative shopping method that allows fashion addicts everywhere the chance to feed their addiction, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Online shopping is big business. In fact, it has been blamed by many critics for the collapse of many high street retail outlets, as more and more people choose to shop from the comfort of their home without having to battle through the crowds that seem to come hand-in-hand with high street shopping.

I have always been as huge fan of shopping online. I don’t even miss the luxury of touching and trying on the clothes before I buy them. Some people say that they get a buzz from fighting through the crowds on a Saturday afternoon to find the perfect outfit. I couldn’t think of anything worse. Pass me my ipad, a hot cup of coffee and a big flurry pillow, and I’d rather shop from this little set up any day of the week. But that’s just me, I guess.

But having recently had my credit card details stolen online, it has made me question how safe shopping online actually is, and if there are preventative measures that I can implement to increase my own personal security online. With cases of data cloning on the rise, I thought this would be the perfect time to look into preventative measures that we all can implement to protect our information when shopping online.

Take the steps to protect yourself online

I love the convenience and many benefits that come hand-in-hand with shopping online, but having experienced first hand how easy it is to become the victim of identity theft, it’s important that you are aware of the ways that you can protect yourself.

From investing in the latest software security and becoming better acquainted with your credit report, through to making sure that you have the appropriate defence software in place to prevent malware, viruses and other online threats from putting your personal information at risk, there are lots that you can actively be doing.

Whilst there are a number of steps you can take to avoid becoming the victim of identity fraud, it is impossible to guarantee that fraud won’t happen to you. If the worst does happen, the key to limiting the damage done is to catch the problem nice and early.

One way to check whether your details have been cloned and to protect you from identity fraud, is to consult your credit report using a service such as the Experian Credit Check. This will flag up any fraudulent activity and help you to catch it quickly which, in turn, will help you to ensure that the actions of the fraudsters do not impact on your chances of securing credit in the future.

Is the site legitimate and how can I tell?

Until my own credit card details were cloned, I didn’t realise the importance of checking whether or not a site was legitimate. To be honest I wouldn’t have even known where to start. It may seem like an obvious thing to check, but when you have your heart set on an item you have found, and it’s sitting in the basket, all you want to do is pay for it as quickly as possible.

But before entering any of your personal information, even your name and address, it’s important that you check out the site thoroughly to determine whether or not it is secure.

If a site is secure and safe to use, you should be able to spot a closed padlock on your web browser. In simple terms this means that the purchase is encrypted or secure.

Also remember to turn off your computer, tablet or lock your smartphone when you have finished online shopping. If you leave any of these devices on and connected to the Internet, this increases the risk of scammers committing cyber crime on your device.

Stay Alert image from Shutterstock.
This is a collaborative post.

This article has 6 comments

  1. Isabel O'Brien

    I always look for the padlock symbol and that it has ‘https’ before the url as that means it’s secure. Also I find Paypal so useful as they have buyer protection.
    It brought it home to me how careful you have to be recently with the Limecrime scandal.

  2. Amy Withnall

    Great article. I had my PayPal hacked once (two days before my wedding) and all our honeymoon money gone (luckily we got it back just in time) and to this day I still don’t know how it happened.

  3. felicity williams

    Great article on safety. Very enlightening 😀

  4. Heather Haigh

    Great post. I have often had vague concerns about internet shopping but have never really been sure what to worry about. I found reading that very useful.

  5. Jackie Chapman

    some good tips here. I shop online a lot and haven’t had any problems so far, touch wood!

  6. Andrea Goodheart

    Really interesting and useful info. I always use PayPal wherever I can and also look out for the padlock sign 😉

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