Staying safe when shopping online

Staying safe when shopping online

11th October 2019

Over the last decade, the percentage of total retail sales taking place online has more than trebled, from 4.9% in 2008 to around 18% in 2018.

The convenience and selection of ecommerce makes it an attractive option for consumers looking to do their shopping quickly and easily from the comfort of their own home.

However, there are many risks associated with online shopping, and consumers should be aware of the dangers before entering any personal or payment details into a website.

You know that you can probably trust Amazon and eBay, but not all ecommerce websites are created equal. A padlock on the address bar is often seen as a sign that your activity is secure, but all this confirms is that you are connected to the website in the address bar; it does not guarantee that the shop itself is legitimate.

If you’re not sure whether the website from which you are purchasing is trustworthy, research the organisation and read others’ experiences of using the site. Use independent review sites, as reviews on their own website could be made up.

Where possible, use a credit card for online purchases, as many of the larger credit card companies will insure you for online purchases.

You should not provide any more information than you need to; only fill out the mandatory fields. If the website is prompting you for more information than you feel comfortable with, do not proceed with the purchase.

Keep all of your devices up to date; turn on automatic updates in your Operating System if possible. The longer you postpone updates, the greater the risk of leaving security holes, and the greater the risk of these being exploited.

One of the simplest but most essential steps you can take is to implement strong passwords. Make them at least eight characters long and use a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. Use unique passwords for your different accounts, taking particular care not to reuse your online banking or email passwords anywhere else. Use a password manager to create and store difficult-to-guess passwords.

Use two-factor authentication to protect your most important accounts with security questions or a code sent to your phone as an extra layer of protection. This makes it more difficult for others to access your account even if they find out your password.

Always be careful when you receive offers through email that seem too good to be true. They usually are! These are probably phishing scams designed to steal your personal details and your money. To protect yourself, make sure every device you own, including your phone, has the best anti-malware you can afford. Choose the one with the highest catch rate.

If you consider yourself to be high profile, or you receive a lot of phishing emails, it may be worth buying a next generation firewall to help keep you secure. Visit our online store to buy a next generation firewall.

No matter how many precautions you take, everyone makes mistakes. If something goes wrong, don’t panic. Take any screenshots of bogus sites and report them to Action Fraud.

We hope that this advice will help to make you more secure when you shop online. Please contact The Armour Group on 01673 898001 if you have any concerns.

Written by Emma Davis - Head of Testing & Training