Paying safely online

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					   Payment advice
   Helpful information from the UK payments association

Paying safely online
Shopping online is no longer a new phenomenon and its popularity continues to grow. APACS figures show
that the number of adults shopping online has more than doubled in the last five years to over 28 million.
While the internet allows you to          1. Protect your computer.                   3. Sign up to Verified by Visa and          4. Restrict physical access to your
shop with ease and efficiency, it also       Make sure your computer has                 MasterCard SecureCode. These are            computer
presents opportunities for fraudsters.       up-to-date anti-virus software and          secure online payment systems that       – Consider using a login password to
In the first half of 2007 the amount         a firewall installed and switched           allow you to register a password with      access your computer in the first
of card fraud that took place over the       on. You should also download the            your card company. Signing up gives        instance. This will also help guard
internet reached £91.6 million, which        latest security updates for your            you extra protection as fraudsters         your computer or laptop should it
represents more than a third of total        browser and for your operating              are unable to use your card details at     be stolen.                              5. Be wary of all unsolicited or spam
card fraud losses in the UK. In this         system (e.g. Windows, Vista, Mac).          participating shopping sites as they     – If you access Wi-Fi networks then          emails. These may contain spyware,
guide we detail the steps you can take                                                   will not know your password. The           use well-known, commercial hotspot         viruses or be a phishing email. Many
to minimise your chances of becoming      2. Make sure that your browser                 sign-up process is quick and easy;         providers such as BT OpenZone or           email services now provide options
a victim of online fraud.                    (e.g. Microsoft Internet Explorer,          you do not require a new card, nor         T-Mobile and ensure you are using          to automatically filter spam e-mail
                                             Firefox, Opera) is set to the               do you need to download any                an encrypted connection.                   and remove them from your inbox.
                                                                                                                                                                               By activating these options and
How to protect
                                             highest level of security and               additional software.                     – If you are using a public computer,
                                             notification. The safety options are                                                   for example in an internet cafe take       avoiding the temptation to click on
                                                                                                                                                                               any spam your risks when shopping
yourself before
                                             not always activated by default                                                        additional care and consider changing
                                             when you install your computer.                                                        any passwords you may have used            online are reduced.

you shop online
                                             If you’re using Internet Explorer,                                                     once you get back home.
                                             you can adjust the security settings                                                                                           6. Treat all e-mail attachments with
                                             by selecting ‘Tools’ then ‘Internet                                                                                               care – they may contain a virus.
The key to tackling online fraud is          Options.’ The tabs labelled ‘Security’                                                                                            Avoid opening any email attachment
through prevention. Before you buy           and ‘Privacy’ will allow you to                                                                                                   from an unknown or untrusted source.
over the internet, help yourself stay        increase their security settings.
free from fraud by doing the following:
How to protect                                            enter your personal details.
                                                          Don’t assume that a ‘.UK’ website
                                                                                                              Print out your order and keep
                                                                                                              copies of the retailer’s terms and
                                                                                                                                                      Useful contacts
yourself when                                             means that the seller is based in
                                                          the UK. Check the trader’s details
                                                                                                              conditions, returns policy, delivery
                                                                                                              conditions, postal address (not a
                                                                                                                                                      Other useful places that you can look
                                                                                                                                                      to get information and advice about
you shop online                                           on their website, including their
                                                          geographic and email address.
                                                                                                              post office box) and phone number
                                                                                                              (not a mobile number). Having the
                                                                                                                                                      shopping safely online include:

                                                                                                              above information will help if you      •
When it comes to actually shopping                     3. Only shop on secure websites.                       subsequently encounter difficulties     •
online there are a number of further                      Before submitting your card details                 – especially if you are buying from     •
actions you should take to help                           ensure that the locked padlock or                   overseas, when it may be                •
yourself stay safe from fraud:                            unbroken key symbol is showing in                   more difficult to seek redress          •
                                                          your browser. The beginning of the                  if problems arise.                      •
1. Only deal with reputable sellers.                      online retailer’s internet address
   Use sites you can trust, for example                   will also change from ‘http’ to ‘https’          5. Consider using a separate credit
   sites you know or that have been                       when a connection is secure. In                     card just for online purchases -
   recommended to you. If the seller                      some new browser versions, such as                  fraudulent transactions will then
   is unfamiliar then try searching                       Internet Explorer 7 or Firefox 2, the               be easier to spot. Also, if you use a
   reviews and comparison websites                        address bar may also turn green to                  credit card to buy goods or services
   via your search engine to get                          indicate that a site has an additional              costing more than £100, but less
   feedback on them.                                      level of security.                                  than £30,000, you will have extra
                                                                                                              protection under section 75 of the        Auction websites                         Online facts
2. Know who you are dealing with.                      4. Trust your instincts. If an offer                   Consumer Credit Act. This states
   Always access the website you are                      looks too good to believe then there                that should a problem subsequently
   planning to buy from by typing                         is usually a catch! Be suspicious of
                                                                                                              arise, such as the company going          Under existing consumer protection       • Online shoppers in the UK make,
   the address into your web browser.                     prices that are too good to be true.
                                                                                                              out of business, you can claim your       regulations, you enjoy far greater         on average, 24 purchases per year
   Never go to a website from a link                      Never disclose your PIN to anyone
                                                                                                              money back from your credit card          protection buying from internet            over the internet.
   in an unsolicited email and then                       or send it over the internet.
                                                                                                              company.                                  businesses than you do when
                                                                                                                                                        shopping from auction websites.          • Men aged 25-34 each make an
 What to do if things go wrong                                                                                                                          Many people who advertise goods            average of 33.9 internet purchases
                                                                                                                                                        for sale on auction sites are private      per year; more than any other age
                                                                                                                                                        sellers, which reduces your rights.        or gender profile.
• If you have bought from a reputable retailer and the goods turn       • If you cannot get redress from the retailer, perhaps because
  out to be faulty or not as described, you still have the same           they have gone bust, you are entitled to claim your money                     Also, if you are bidding in an online    • The most popular purchases using
  rights as if you have bought from the high street. Depending            back from your card company if the purchase was in excess of                  auction for goods advertised for           online shopping are books and
  on the situation and what you have bought, you may be                   £100 and you used a credit card (see bullet 5 in How to protect               sale by a private seller, be aware         CDs. They account for 28% of all
  entitled to a refund, replacement, repair or compensation. For          yourself when you shop online).                                               that your cancellation rights under        internet purchases; this is followed
  instance, check your cancellation rights. Under Distance Selling
                                                                                                                                                        the Distance Selling Regulations           by travel (16%) and groceries (5%).
  Regulations you can get a full refund on many online purchases        • If you find you have become a victim of card fraud, you should
                                                                                                                                                        may not apply and you may not be
  if you cancel within seven working days after receipt. In the first     report it to your card company immediately. Under the terms
  instance you should take up your complaint with the                     of The Banking Code, as long as you haven’t acted fraudulently                able to reject goods unless the seller
  retailer concerned.                                                     or negligently you will be fully refunded by your bank.                       offers a return policy. Always check
                                                                                                                                                        the seller’s terms and conditions.