Guiding consumers since 2009

Staying Safe When Shopping Online

By Staff Writer

We often talk about how important it is to stay safe when doing transactions online. It's easy to fall for a scam because scammers are so good at making their fraudulent e-mails look real.

With online shopping becoming increasingly popular and being incredibly convenient how do you make sure that you stay safe when you shop online?

Here are a few tips anyone can follow to make sure your credit card details stay safe and secure and to check whether the website you are using is a safe one.

Make sure your browser is up to date

This is one of the most important things you can do. Make sure you have an updated version of your browser to ensure that you take advantage of the built-in security features that these programs come with. Browsers come with encryption capabilities to protect your personal information when it is transmitted over the internet.

Check for security features like https and the padlock icon

When you are doing transactions online check for a little padlock icon in the status bar at the bottom of your browser window, this will be an indication that the site is secure. You can also check to see whether an s has been added to the usual http prefix at the beginning of a URL. The https is a sign of a secure server.

Regularly clean your computer with anti-spyware software

There's a whole host of free software available out there to help keep you safe. Make sure the software is up to date and scan your computer at least once every two weeks in order to keep it free of any bugs or spyware programs that might be lurking around without your knowledge.

Check your credit card statement

If you shop online often, it's a good idea to check that your statement matches the transactions you made. If you see anything that looks odd, contact your bank to discuss it with them.

Use Paypal or other alternatives

You don't always have to use your credit card to pay for things online. Many sites accept Paypal and other alternative payment solutions which allows for secure transactions. Paypal is becoming increasingly popular in South Africa and it's widely accepted, best of all, it's safe.

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