Shopping Online Today
The changes in our lives brought by the internet go on and on. As rapidly as fibre optic cabling can be employed, ever faster broadband has brought different thing into different lives.
The idea that shopping could be carried out online first appeared in 1994, with the sale of Sting’s CD “Ten Summoner’s Tales”, by using encryption so that credit card details could be sent online, unreadable by any other party than the seller.
E-commerce took its first step. Today tens of billions of pounds are being spent on shopping over the internet, a whole new dimension in the retail experience is here. Unfortunately, human nature being what it is, the sound of that many cyber-cash tills ringing attracts attention.
Some of those who once would have been pick-pockets, or snake-oil sellers, conmen, or out and out thieves, now look to cyber-crime, and you could be a victim.
Almost any online financial transaction can carry a risk, however small, but a few simple precautions can help minimise potential problems.
Your financial information details are like currency, and just as you would keep that safe, so you should keep a few things in mind about being online,
Make sure your browser and operating system are kept up to date with the latest antivirus and anti- malware programmes and that your firewall is operating.
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It is always safer to use your home computer than mobile devices, and although window shopping and browsing whilst out and about is fine, public Wi Fi is not considered to be a totally secure place to send your details over.
Use retailers that you know, whether they are household names or recommended by friends. If you come across an item or service on a site that is new to you, look at it carefully before giving anything away.
See if it has a physical address for its premises, and if it gives a phone number, try it. Check that it has a returns policy in place, and look for reviews either within the site, or over your social media.
If you are going to make a payment, make sure that the site is safe before you enter your financial details. When you are on the payments page, check in the browser bar that the address reads https:/, rather than just http:/.
The S stands Secure Sockets Layers, which means that your information will leave your terminal encrypted, and can only be decrypted by the seller’s computer terminal.
Also within the browser bar, there should appear a symbol of a closed padlock. These are encouraging signs for site security.