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11 tips to shop safer online this Xmas

Discussion in 'Domain Name News' started by Acorn Newsbot, Dec 14, 2012.

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  1. Acorn Newsbot

    Acorn Newsbot Junior Member

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    Traipse up the high street in the cold, jostle with bad-tempered last-minute shoppers, only to find your perfect pressie is out of stock? Who needs it, right? More of us will be shopping online than ever this Xmas – great for us, but great for scammers and thieves too. Not to worry, so long as you follow a few common sense rules, shopping online should be the perfect way to pay for your Christmas.

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    1. Pick a strong password…
    Your password is your best protection when you’re shopping online. Use a different password for each shop you sign up to and make sure it’s difficult to crack, with at least 8 letters and symbols.

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    1. …and keep it safe
    The best place to keep your password is in your head, so create something that’s memorable only to you. And if you’re shopping by mobile phone, make sure no-one’s looking over your shoulder while you’re typing in your details.

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    1. Beware of special offers
    Think twice about emails with ‘special offers’, even if they look sweet enough to be genuine. Don’t click on links in ‘special offer’ emails, they could take you to a phishing site designed to extract your bank details. If you need to check them out, point your browser directly to the website, that way you know you’re in the right place.

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    1. Use a credit card, not a debit card
    Most credit cards come with protection against online fraud. Debit cards may not offer the same level of assurance. Check what yours is offering before you put your details online, or use an online payment scheme like PayPal.

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    1. Look for the lock
    When you input your bank details online, you should be in a secure part of the website that’s protected from prying eyes. Check that the beginning of web address is https:// (the ‘s’ bit stands for ‘secure’) or look for the golden lock symbol at the beginning of the address bar. If neither of these is there, don’t buy.

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    1. Only use official apps when mobile shopping
    Many of the big shops have their own apps to make buying from them via your mobile easier. But always make sure you use the official store app, not just something that sounds or looks a bit like it.

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    1. Buying from auction sites – ask lots of questions
    Online auction sites like ebay have lots of rules for vendors, but it pays to protect yourself too. Ask lots of questions of your vendor so you know exactly what you expect to get and when you can expect to get it. Also look at their recommendations – if they haven’t got any, you need to ask why.


    1. Read the small print
    A reputable retailer will outline their policy towards delivery and returns. Make sure you’re happy with it before you buy (guaranteed delivery within 28 days won’t help you in the run-up to Christmas) and if they don’t have one, you have cause for concern.


    1. Use your browser to help you spot fake sites
    You can adjust the security settings in your browser to help you spot phishing sites or sites which contain malware that can harm your computer. If you come across a potentially dodgy site which doesn’t meet your browser’s security criteria, it will warn you to be careful before you go there.

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    1. Listen to the crowd
    Most sites allow buyers to comment on their experience. Check users’ opinions – and if there aren’t any, or they all appear a bit too hysterically positive, beware. And don’t forget to look for opinions on price comparison sites and social networks too.

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    1. Look for the address
    If possible, check out an online shop’s physical address – it will usually be in the ‘About us’ section. If they don’t have one, you may not have anywhere to respond to if something goes wrong.

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