Tips for shopping online
Blog post by Sam Devoldere, Research Analyst
Choose Carefully where you shop
Only use trusted online retailers, if you are not sure make sure to research the platform you are about to purchase from. Reading feedback about online retailers and their trustworthiness is a good way of determining if a retailer is legitimate or not. Make sure the website is not a fishing website by either typing in the address into the search bar directly or by using a trusted search engine.
Watch out for suspicious emails, calls and text messages
You’ll probably receive many emails and messages from online retailers that offer discounts, newsletters, exclusive sales, etc. Always check the email address of the sender, avoid clicking direct links and never log in to your account via any link given to you by email.
If you have received an email you are unsure about, feel free to contact the UK governments reporting service ( firstname.lastname@example.org.) Or forward suspicious texts to 7726. The email and/or message will be checked for you and they will let you know if it is fraudulent or not.
Do not give away your data unless necessary
Only fill in the mandatory details website when making a purchase. This will typically include your delivery address, billing address and payment details. You shouldn’t have to set up and answer security questions i.e. What was your first job? Or where were you born? To complete your purchase.
Whenever possible, avoid creating accounts and avoid saving your payment details unless you plan to use this retailer frequently. This not only prevents the chance your personal data gets stolen but also prevents payment methods from being saved without your knowledge.
Think about account security
If you do have decided to set up an account make sure you follow secure password guidelines. Government websites like NCSC will provide this. If you need to use a password manager, use NCSC approved solutions to prevent password loss.
ALWAYS use two factor authentication when you can. This provides an additional level of security and is highly recommended as it makes an account much more difficult for hackers to access.
What if my card details are stolen?
Contact your bank immediately and ask them to stop the pending payments. The representative of your local bank will help you through the steps to ensure the hackers won’t be able to continue making payments. If you did lose money let your bank know and ask them to report it as a crime, for England and Wales its is reported to Action Fraud, for Scotland it is reported to Police Scotland.