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Five ways YOU can be safe from online fraud

computer shoppingHere’s a sobering thought for you. Apparently one in four Britons have been defrauded when shopping online losing typically £608.The new Shieldpay Fraud Tracker also found that 8% of online shoppers who have been victims of fraud were defrauded more than once. Women, however, are either more careful (or spend less) – because the typical male fraud victim loses £139 more than women to fraudsters.

I do much of my shopping online because I am lazy/live miles from nice shops/don’t want to pay for parking etc. This makes me a bit of a hypocrite as I blather on regularly about the need to keep the nation’s high streets going. But I do use ‘real’ shops too: particularly independent ones. Indeed last week Junior and I managed to spend a not inconsiderable amount in a fabulous independent bookshop and a non-chain sports shop: a much nicer experience than the hell of the sports ‘superstore’.

But back in the real world, if you’re shopping online then it makes sense to be careful. Here are five ways to ensure you’re shopping safely online. For more, see here:

1. Make sure the website is secure. This means looking for a padlock in the address bar next to the address bar and ensuring the address starts https:// - the ‘s’ stands for secure. The Money Advice Service points out if you click on the padlock, you should see the site certificate showing who registered it: if a warning comes up, avoid the site.

2. Don’t shop online in public places. Your home wifi connection is safer.

3. Use a credit card to pay: you will be covered by the Consumer Credit Act if what you are buying costs £100-£30,000 and it doesn’t arrive or is faulty. You don’t need to put all the £100 on your credit card to be covered. Even if you’ve only paid £10 on your card as long the total price is £100 or more you are covered for the full amount.

4. For purchases under £100, you might be covered by chargeback on your debit or credit card but this is a voluntary scheme: more about it here.

5. Check out a retailer you’ve not used before on a review site such as TrustPilot. And don’t be swayed by price: if a site is offering something much cheaper than elsewhere then it could be legitimate. It could also be a scam. Or it could be selling ‘fake’ items. See my blog here on how I had a lucky escape...

Our comprehensive guide to being safe online is here.

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Saturday, 22 September 2018