Online Shopping – Security

With the technology of today shoppers have found a new way to spend their hard earned cash, shopping online using their home pc. You can buy just about anything online from the weekly food shop to a new car, all without leaving the comfort of your own home. However besides being so easy it does have its pitfalls sometimes with people not receiving goods purchased or goods being of poor quality. Sometimes problems are nothing more than computer errors while others are pure scams. A recent survey showed that the main concerns over internet shopping included

  • Never receiving items purchased online or being sent items that were different from what was described
  • Your email address being used by third parties
  • Worries that personal information such as credit card numbers could be stolen
  • Being sent emails know as “spoofing” where rogue companies pretended to be trusted retailers

However using a little common sense and by following some simple rules you can shop safely online

Only shop at secure websites

This is only common sense of course but how do you know if the site is secure? A secure website will use encryption technology on their checkout system when it transfers your personal information over to the sites. Your credit card number will be scrambled so that anyone trying to get it can’t see it; it can only be seen by the site using the encryption method. There are several things you should look out for when looking for a site that has security

  • Look in your browser where the web address is displayed it should say https:// the s that is displayed after the http means that the web site is secure, many times the s wont be shown until you are on the websites order page.
  • Look for a closed padlock icon on the bottom of your web browser, if it is open then the website probably isn’t secure
  • Look on the websites homepage for information regarding which type of security they use when dealing with transactions. A popular choice for many is “verisign” which will always be displayed on their homepage.

You should whenever possible check to see if the site stores your information online in scrambled data or if they store it unscrambled, its not much good scrambling the information if they are then going to store it unscrambled if a hacker intrudes into their system. Most websites will have their privacy and security policies listed as links on their homepage and its worthwhile taking a few minutes to go and read them. Most well known internet shopping sites will have a seal of approval program which sets out guidelines for privacy related practises, if the website has TRUSTe, verisign or BBBonline listed on their page then you can be sure you are safe. However this doesn’t mean that things won’t change especially if the company files for bankruptcy and sells its database, the site could be bought by a company with a weaker security policy so always keep checking.

- Online Shopping - When Things Go Wrong
- Online Shopping - Avoiding Scams
- Online Shopping Security
- Shopping at Online Auctions
- Online Shopping - What you need to know
- Using Shopping Bots

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