Virtual Shopping, Real Finance
Shopping online these days is big, big business. The global roll out of fibre optic cables, has presented the home shopper with the world of retail at your finger-tips.
Shop for almost any item under the sun, and you will probably find it online, the biggest shopping mall on earth, right there in your home, the size of a keyboard and screen.
The dramatic growth in online shopping continues unabated, with the business now worth tens of billions of pounds.
This ceaseless flowing of money does not go unnoticed, and the under-world has developed in parallel to it, the cybercriminal.
Casual use of the internet to buy this or that is so simple, it is easy to slip into complacency about online security, but however frequently you may or may not shop online, it is important that you make security a habit.
When you’re looking to buy something, try an established name first, like amazon, or john Lewis for instance, as these type household named sites mean you have an idea of quality and cost competiveness, and they will have up-to-date strong security.
If you have arrived at a site unfamiliar to you, offering something to catch your eye, remember the old maxim, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is! Leave the site.
Check that the site appears professional, with no spelling mistakes, miss-placed capital and lower case letters, and that the graphics are not scrappy or misplaced.
If you are happy with the site, once you arrive at the payments page to insert your financial details, look at the site address in the browser bar, and how it begins.
It will begin http:/ or https:/, the S making the important difference. It indicates the site is secure, using Secure Sockets Layer which means that your financial and personal details will leave your terminal encrypted.
This makes a secure transmission, the information can only be decrypted by the seller’s terminal. There should be the symbol of a closed padlock in the browser bar, if either of these things are not present, don’t proceed.
Make your payment by credit card, rather than debit card, provided you pay it off at the end of each month, using the credit card company’s money rather than yours makes sense on several levels.
It offers a security that should something go amiss, the goods faulty and to be returned, or not arriving at all, the credit card company has a vested interest in where their money might be.