WHETHER it’s the convenience, wide selection, discounts or easy returns, millions of people are now internet shopping.

Unfortunately this has also led to criminals turning their attention to the internet.

Frequent shoppers will now be used to the tell-tale signs of criminal activity, but novices are still likely to fall foul to their sneaky tactics. It’s even possible for the most seasoned online shopper to get caught out.

However, that’s no reason to be put off – after all walking down the high street with a purse full of cash is a risk, just one that few of us consider when shopping.

internet shopping

If you are looking to reduce your risk of falling victim to crime while internet shopping, here are a few tips to help you stay safe:

  • Avoid unknown websites – Sometimes you might come across a website that just doesn’t look quite right. If that’s the case, but it’s supposed to be a major retailer, such as Tesco, warning bells should ring. The first thing to check is the URL – if it’s not the official www.tesco.com, close the browser window.
  • Make sure the website is secure – When internet shopping, you will need to hand over your payment details at some point, so make sure you’re giving them to the right person. It’s a good indication if there is a little padlock in the address bar and the URL starts with https rather than just http. This means the website has SSL encryption to protect your details.
  • Protect your computer – It’s possible that fraudsters will just sit and wait for someone to fall into their trap, but some go to extremes by trying to extract that data from you sooner. You need good anti-virus software to protect you against malware – some anti-virus software have additional identity theft protection.
  • Don’t click links – If you have been sent an email promising fantastic discounts on your internet shopping that’s great, but it’s safer to do your shopping via the official website rather than clicking through a link.
  • Check your statement – Whether you’re internet shopping with a debit or credit card, you can access your statement online. Most transactions will show up within 24 hours, some may take up to three days, but no longer. You don’t have to wait to receive your statement through the post to check for fraudulent activity.