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How to Stay Safe Shopping Online

Online shopping has rapidly grown in popularity over the last few years. With free returns and delivery on offer, along with the added benefit of being able to try on clothing and shapewear in the comfort of your own home, it’s easy to see why so many women favour the flexibility that it provides.

Many of us are fast-paced career women, Mum’s with our hands full or single ladies who have hectic social lives – or perhaps a combination of all three. So shopping online provides the perfect solution. No car journey, no expensive parking and not having to flex shopping trips around work hours or the school run.

However, like most good things there’s always a catch. In this case, it’s the hidden minefields that exist within the cyber world. From online fraud, viruses that can infect our computers and strangers accessing our personal data on our online social media accounts – what can we do to help protect ourselves whilst online?

With February 5th marking Safer Internet Day, we decided to share our top tips at Elle Courbee for being savvy when it comes to shopping online.

Password Protection

This is fairly obvious, but many of us use the same password for multiple sites. Try using password generators and password managers such as LastPass to store them, rather than write them down.

Site Security

Only ever input sensitive data, such as credit card information, on websites that are secure. This will be indicated by a padlock symbol being present in your address bar at the top of your screen. When clicked on, this symbol will also indicate if the site has a valid certificate which has been registered, if either of these are invalid or not present then avoid at all costs. Also ensure that the site has the security certificate ‘https’ rather than just ‘http‘ as this ensures that any information sent between your browser and the website is encrypted.

Correct Address?

When shopping online, type the address into the address bar rather than clicking on links from a search engine, as scammers can create websites that at first glance appear to be legitimate but can be targeted by fraudsters as part of a scam called pharming.

Use Protection

Stay safe by ensuring that you use anti-virus and software protection and keep it up-to-date on any devices that you may use for online shopping.

Give Yourself Some Credit

If you are making large purchases over £100 then it’s safer to use a credit card as this will ensure that you are protected under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, which outlines the responsibilities that the card provider has when it comes to faulty, unsatisfactory or undelivered items. For purchases under £100 it might pay to use PayPal as you don’t have to give out any card details. However, it’s important to note that you won’t get the additional protection that comes with using a credit card.  

Be Wise With Wi-Fi

When out and about enjoying a coffee or perhaps browsing in the shops and discovering your size is out of stock, it’s all too easy with a click of a button to start browsing and make an on the spot purchase on our phones. If you do decide to do this, it’s best to stick to your regular mobile data connection as opposed to using public Wi-Fi hotspots. These connections are often unsecure meaning that fraudsters can view all your personal information. Better yet, wait until you get home and use a secure Wi-Fi connection there.

Hopefully some of these tips will help you to stay safe whilst online so you can get back to enjoying treating yourself to something extra special for Valentine’s Day!

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