If you haven’t managed to find everything you need at one of the many local Christmas Fairs, online shopping is a great way to get your gifts bought in time for Christmas.
Entering your bank details online can sometimes come with risks, but so long as you follow simple safety advice, there’s no reason you can’t complete your seasonal shop from the comfort of your own home!
Use Trustworthy Websites
When ordering directly from the internet, trusted and known websites are the safest to use. Ordering from smaller or independent companies rather than the giants like Amazon is perfectly fine, but there are a few things to look out for:
- Look for the padlock icon in the address bar. That means the site itself is secure
- Web addresses that start with ‘HTTPS‘ rather than ‘HTTP’ are more secure
- Check the method of payment – trusted methods like Paypal or SagePay are normally fine to use
- If you have one, it’s usually better to use your credit card rather than your debit card as these are usually covered by fraud protection
- If in doubt, try Googling the company you’re buying from
Don’t use Public Wi-Fi
Never enter your bank or card details into any device while connected to a public Wi-Fi. Even if you trust the venue providing the Wi-Fi, you can’t always know who else is logged on. We’ve got some more tips for staying safe on public Wi-Fi here.
Go Directly To Websites (Beware Email Links)
Go directly to to websites or Google rather than click links in emails just in case it’s not a genuine email, and look at the web address before you sign in or enter your payment details. This is to avoid phishing scams.
Trust Your Instincts
If any of these things make you feel uneasy about shopping on the site, then don’t enter any payment details and take your business elsewhere:
- The website is asking you for lots of personal details
- The website redirects you to many other web pages with different web addresses (with the exception of trusted payment sites)
- Very bad grammar, spelling or a poor website can be signs that the company is not genuine or trustworthy – a few small errors may be forgiven but if the whole thing is a mess, avoid!
- There are too many ads. Small businesses sometimes make extra money from putting some ads on their websites, and this doesn’t mean they’re untrustworthy. However lots of ads, ads covering up lots of the page or important information, or ‘hidden’ ads that open up new windows when you click anywhere on the page can be signs of a shady website