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 • www.shopsafeonline.org.uk When it comes to actually shopping 3. Only shop on secure websites. subsequently encounter difficulties • www.cardwatch.org.uk online there are a number of further Before submitting your card details – especially if you are buying from • www.getsafeonline.org actions you should take to help ensure that the locked padlock or overseas, when it may be • www.consumerdirect.gov.uk yourself stay safe from fraud: unbroken key symbol is showing in more difficult to seek redress • www.visaeurope.com/verified your browser. The beginning of the if problems arise. • www.mastercard.co.uk/securecode 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.