Have you ever thought of the many ways you can buy most goods and services from the comfort of your own home: on-line, over the phone, on your doorstep or from a catalogue.
If you intend purchasing on-line, make sure you use safe and reliable sites in order to safeguard your online security, especially your financial information:
Always do your on-line shopping from a trusted site rather than choosing a random one suggested by a search engine. Search results can be rigged to lead you astray, especially when you drift past the first few pages of links. If you know the site, chances are it is less likely you will be ripped off. Check out their after-sales too.
Do not keep your passwords, login details and PINs written down.
Never give card account numbers over the phone unless you are certain that the person on the other side of the line is reputable.
- Never ever respond to e-mails requesting your credit card details. Reputable banks and organisations do not request your personal details by e-mail.
- Never continue your online purchase using your credit or debit card from a site that does not have SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption installed. You'll know if the site has SSL because the URL for the site will start with HTTPS:// (instead of just HTTP://). An icon of a locked padlock will appear, typically in the status bar at the bottom of your web browser, or right next to the URL in the address bar, depending on your browser.
- The importance of having software that detects the presence of malicious programmes or unauthorised access to one’s computer can never be overemphasised. Having security software (such as an anti-virus programme, firewall) not only protects the computer system itself but also the information stored within. One has to ensure that security software is always active, updated regularly and is capable of scanning files received through e-mail messages as well as those downloaded from internet websites. Security is not the only issue to keep in mind when using plastic cards. These cards may be subject to a daily transaction limit; this may vary from bank to bank and between different types of cards such as the normal classic card or a gold card. Banks normally impose a maximum amount on the monetary value of cash withdrawals and payments for goods and services, so you might want to check these limits before committing yourself to a particular purchase transaction to avoid any disappointments.
Ensure that you agree with the amount to be charged to your card when ordering items over the Internet. This amount may include shipping, postage, handling and packing fees. Keep copies of all invoices/correspondence indicating the description and cost of the ordered items.
Access internet banking or shopping sites by typing the address into your web browser. Never go to websites from a link in an email then enter personal details. Also Beware of spelling mistakes or sites using a different top-level domain (.net instead of .com, for example). These may not be legitimate sites and their intensions may not be genuine. Although the prices on these sites might look enticing, it is their trick to tempt you into giving up your personal and payment details.
Use strong passwords when using online shopping websites. Remember that most of the sites save your personal information and card details to make shopping easier and less time consuming. However, if your account is accessed, your personal information would end up compromised. Also make sure you change your password periodically just in case it has been compromised without your knowledge.
Do not use online shopping website, or internet banking sites, from internet café’s or public terminals like local council computers. If you do, just remember to log out every time you use a public terminal, even if you were just checking email. Also beware when browsing using an open Wi-Fi network. If you are in a public space, apart from unauthorised access to your computer you might get someone snooping over your shoulders to get your details.
What if the goods you have ordered and paid for online have not arrived? Click here for the relative Q&A section relative to chargebacks.