How to shop safely online

(1) Don't hand over valuable card or bank account information to the fraudster.
Fraudsters target cards and card details so try not to let them out of your sight. Don't give away your PINs or bank passwords to cold callers or in response to unsolicited emails - often known as phishing scams.

(2)  Only ever use a protected computer.
Make sure your computer has up-to-date anti-virus software and a firewall installed. Visit for more information.

(3) Keep your cards and card details safe in the real world.
Most Internet fraud happens because card details are stolen in the real world and used online, so keep them safe at all times.

(4) Sign up whenever you are given the option whilst shopping online to Verified by Visa ( or MasterCard SecureCode (
Increasingly when you go to pay online with your card you will be given the option of signing up to these schemes that involve you using a password. By signing up you will prevent a fraudster using your card details on participating sites as they will not know your password.
(5) Only shop at secure websites.
Ensure that the security icon – the locked padlock or unbroken key symbol – is showing in the bottom of your browser window before sending your card details. The beginning of the retailer's Internet address will change from “http” to “https” when a purchase is made using a secure connection.

(6) Make sure your browser is set to the highest level of security notification and monitoring.
The safety options are not always activated by default when you install your computer. The most popular browsers include Microsoft Internet Explorer, Firefox and Opera. Check that you're using a recent version – you can usually download the latest version from these browsers' websites.

(7)  Always check your statements.
Check statements as soon as you receive them. If you find a transaction on your statement that you did not make, contact your bank or card company immediately. Tear up, or preferably shred, any documents that contain information relating to your financial affairs.

(8)  Consider using an Internet-only card.
If you regularly make transactions over the Internet consider opening a separate credit card account specifically for these transactions. This would enable you to monitor transactions at a glance and credit cards offer additional consumer protection should anything go wrong.

(9)  Print out your order.
When shopping online make sure you get a hard copy of both your order form and the retailer's terms and conditions. When buying from overseas remember that it may be difficult to seek redress if problems arise, but having all the relevant information will help your bank or building society take up the case if you have any problems.

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