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How to stay safe when you shop online

A few tips for staying safe

Shopping online is completely safe, as long as you stick to a few basic guidelines. Follow these tips to protect your personal information, whichever website you shop on.

Keep your cards and card details safe

Don't give away your PINs or bank passwords to cold callers or in response to unsolicited emails (often known as phishing scams). Most internet fraud happens because card details are stolen in the real world and used online, so keep them safe at all times.

Keep you computer's security software up to date

Make sure your computer has up to date anti-virus software and a firewall installed. Visit Get Safe Online for more information.

Sign up to Verified by Visa or MasterCard SecureCode

Lots of websites participate in these schemes, which give you a password to protect your card when you use it online. By signing up to Verified by Visa or MasterCard SecureCode, you'll prevent a fraudster who doesn't know your password from using your card details on participating sites.

Only shop at secure websites

  • On secure websites, the beginning of the retailer's internet address will change from 'http' to 'https' when you're making a purchase.
  • When you're shopping on a website with an SSL security certificate, a security logo will appear when you get to the site's checkout. If you use Microsoft Internet Explorer this is usually a locked padlock or unbroken key symbol at the bottom of your browser window. In Mozilla Firefox, information usually appears in a coloured strip on the left of your address bar.
  • Find out more about how we try to protect you on this website.

Keep your internet browser up to date, and use the highest level of security settings

An internet browser is the window you use to view the internet. You can usually download the latest version of your browser for free - follow the links below to get the most popular browsers:

Microsoft Internet Explorer   Mozilla Firefox   Google Chrome   Apple Safari

It's also worth checking if your security settings are set to the highest level. You can usually do this be selecting Tools > Options from the menu bar.

Always check your bank statements

Check bank statements as soon as you receive them. If you find a transaction on your statement that you didn't make, contact your bank or card company immediately.

Print out your order

When you shop online, make sure you get a hard copy of both your order form and the retailer's terms and conditions. If you're buying from overseas it may be difficult to solve any problems, but having all the relevant information will help your bank or building society take up your case.

Prevent card-not-present (CNP) fraud

CNP fraud happens when neither the card nor the cardholder is present at the point of purchase - this includes transactions made online or over the phone. The publication Spot & Stop Card-not-Present Fraud is available to order from Card Watch.

Read the government advice

You can learn more about shopping online your rights as a consumer, by visiting the Consumer Direct website.



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