5 Easy Tips to make sure you are shopping online securely

Let's face it we all love to shop online. There are great bargains and offers to be had. The selection is amazing, shipping is fast, and shopping has never been easier.

The world is now your marketplace and it's so easy!

But, how many of us in the excitement of finding that perfect present remember to check if the website you are about to give your personal details including your address, phone number and card details is secure?

Here are five easy tips to help you make sure you don't ever become a victim of online fraudsters.

1. Look for the Lock!

Never ever buy anything online from a site that doesn't have SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption installed at the very least! 

You can tell if a site has SSL because the URL will start with https:// instead of http://

All sites that have SSL have an icon of a locked padlock usually next to the URL in the address bar, or at the bottom of your web browser depending on which browser you use.

I am shocked and stunned to discover that some of Pharos Parcel's biggest competitors have not taken this fundamental step to ensure their customers are protected when sending parcels online.

2. Use Familiar Websites.

Stick with trusted brands that have a good reputation. Most of our customers come to us to send parcels from a personal recommendation; someone they trust has recommended us.

If looking for a particular object, start at a trusted site rather than shopping with a whole load of search engines. Search results can be rigged to lead you astray.

Just make sure you are looking at the right site, look for misspellings or sites using a different domain i.e. .net rather than .com is one of the oldest tricks in the book.

Fraudsters can often create really professional looking copy websites to lure you in.

3. Use credit cards and secure payment services rather than debit cards.

Never Give anyone your credit cards details over email ever! Sometimes we will book to send a parcel for a customer manually and we will always phone them to take payment, we are amazed how many people will say to us I'll just send it by email. Don't ever do this please!

Check your statements. Don't wait for your bill to come at the end of the month go online especially during holiday times such as Christmas and look at your electronic statements and check your account. Check your PayPal account regularly.

If you do see something you are not sure about, pick up the phone and only pay your credit card bill once you know all your charges are accurate. You have 30 days to notify your bank or card issuer of problems. 

4. If it's too good to be true, it probably is.

Beware of offers of free products with every purchase, especially free tablets. 

Many companies use competitions on social media to entice people to buy from them or use their services, it's a proven marketing tool. We all want you to buy from us, but how many times have you clicked on an offer on Facebook posted by a friend? Is it genuine? They won't have checked it's a genuine offer from a genuine company for you.

Especially at Christmas there does seem to be a lot of amazing and genuine offers. We're all under pressure to find the right present.

The more reliable the brand and the more secure the URL the more chance it is authentic, but just be canny. You would avoid a dodgy guy in the pub, they're online as well! 

5. Think about Mobile.

Check if you are using wifi that the hotspot you are using is secure.

There is no need to be nervous about shopping on a mobile device but think about using apps provided directly by retailers or save your favourite and trusted sites and use them regularly. 

We all have our favourite local shops that are friendly and helpful and you trust them. Why not think the same way online?

Perhaps think about using data provided by your network provider when going online. If using a public terminal remember to log out again even if you are just checking your email.

If you're using a credit card in public to pay for something online make sure no-one can look over your shoulder, in a cafe sit at the back and face the door.

So there you are, 5 simple tips to make sure buying online is fun and safe and you are able to enjoy taking advantage of the world's marketplace safely.