Happy Cyber Monday

On November 28, 2011, in Online Security, by Edel

Today is the busiest day of the year for online shopping, it is known as Cyber Monday.  

Money is tighter than ever and people will no doubt flock to online stores to do some Christmas shopping and grab a bargain, as well as saving themselves the hassle of hitting the shops.  In the rush to save a few Euro, shoppers need to be aware of some of the pitfalls of online shopping. 

The old saying caveat emptor (buyer beware) is more relevant than ever when you are shopping online.  Of course there are great deals to be had online, but always use common sense and a pinch of paranoia when you shop online.  These are some simple steps to help you avoid online shopping headaches:

  1. Always ensure that the website you are buying from is processing your credit card details securely.  On the page where you are asked to enter your credit card details, make sure you can see the “padlock” icon which signifies that you are on a secure part of the website.  You will see that on the secure pages of a website, the web address starts with https, unsecured pages of the site will start with http with no “s”.  Never enter your credit card details on any webpage that does not have the https 
  2. Make sure the site you are buying from is a legitimate store. Many fake websites pop up around Christmas “selling” gifts at unbeatable prices. The problem with these sites is that they won’t ship your purchase to you. They are online scams, “selling” products that they don’t have. 
  3. Be careful when clicking links in emails. Phishing attacks are not confined to asking for your banking details.  Cybercriminals may put up sites that look like a known online retailer, again so they can collect credit card details without shipping any goods.
  4. Some websites are selling replica goods which look like, and are advertised as, the genuine article, always read the small print and buy from reputable websites.
  5. Never send your credit card details to anyone in an email. Email is not secure.
  6. Try not to order at the last minute. Many online shoppers got caught with the big freeze last year when deliveries were held up. Leave yourself enough time.
  7. Be aware that purchases of items from outside the European Union may incur customs charges.

Trust is a significant element of any purchase. When you buy online you are trusting the vendor to keep your credit card details safe and to uphold their part of the bargain by shipping you the products you have bought.

Help yourself by being aware of online scams, using common sense and getting a second opinion on a website if you’re not sure about it. 

Remember: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is!

Comment and share your online shopping experiences – good or bad :)