Shopping Online - Security Tips

Shopping online has become a part of everyday life but many still worry that their credit card details will land in the wrong hands or that goods bought on the internet may not be all they seem.


Online shopping is certainly here to stay and online security continues to advance. Just remember to follow these tips to help keep your online shopping a safe and secure experience.


Check out the company's validity

  • Research the company on line and see what other customers have said about them.
  • Look for their contact details and give them a ring.  Reputable companies will always display their contact details and welcome customer contact.
  • Follow personal recommendations.
  • Just because the web address has ‘UK’ in it don’t assume an internet company is based in the UK. Spelling mistakes and bad grammar are a dead giveaway that the company may not be legitimate or may have been developed abroad. Although shopping from overseas websites is not necessarily unsafe it may be difficult to enforce your contract if things go wrong.
  • Don’t be fooled by superficially glossy sites, check their customer service guarantee is equally impressive.
  • ABOVE ALL TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS, if you are unsure, consider shopping elsewhere.

Verify the secure payment process

Before clicking the button to purchase your goods, ask yourself

  • Is this website secure? Look for ‘https://’ in your browser bar, and the padlock symbol at the bottom. Both of these should be present on the page you are using when you are giving personal information or any payment details.
  • Paying by credit card will give you added protection


Other things you should know before buying

  • What are the postage and packaging costs?
  • Check the delivery times – try and be there when your goods are delivered.
  • Is billing up front or on delivery?
  • Can you track the item in the delivery process?
  • Is there a warranty or guarantee for defects?
  • What is their cancellation or return policy and who will pay these costs?
  • Is there a cooling off period?

Online auctions

If you’re using an online auction site, some of which are increasingly becoming hiding place for counterfeiters and fraudsters, a few simple steps can make things safer:
  • Before you start, understand the auction process, the site rules and the auction company’s own safety advice.
  • Get to know the buyer or seller. Ask questions. Check their feedback.
  • Learn to pick good sellers. Their items have clear descriptions and they will answer your questions.
  • Don’t give away your password or personal details.
  • Always use a secure method of payment eg PayPal or credit / debit card.



Be wary of opening unsolicited emails or links within emails if you don’t know the sender. Many of these emails may ask you to make contact or send your details for verification. If any promise made sounds too good to be true then in reality it probably is.


Report it

  • Action Fraud is the UK’s national fraud reporting centre.
  • If you’ve been scammed, ripped off or conned, there is something you can do about it. Speak to Action Fraud.
  • If online shopping fraud has cost you money, call them now.
  • If you’ve been a victim of identity theft, please get in touch.
  • It is possible to beat fraud if we talk.
  • Early recognition of fraud can be vital, so no matter whether you think you’ve been a victim of fraud or you just want to know how to protect yourself, this is the place to start.
  • Action Fraud is a central point of contact to call and get help if you’ve been a victim of fraud.
  • Click here to access the online reporting tool or call 0300 123 2040

Action Fraud

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