Safe Online Shopping Tips

Buying Online with Consumer Protection Act and Firewall Protection

Online shopping has become a multi-billion pound business, but so has online fraud. Firewall protection helps, but the Consumer Protection Act is the shopper’s saviour.

The UK’s Internet shopping market is worth more than £21.4 billion, with more than 20 million people buying online in the last year, according to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

It isn’t surprising that, with the kind of money at stake, online fraud has grown exponentially. However, online fraud isn’t the only risk facing those who do online shopping. There are also company insolvencies and unethical business practices to negotiate.

Secure Internet Shopping

Prior to entering credit card details at checkout, make sure that the web site the purchase is being made at is secure. A secure web site is denoted by the following:

  • A padlock should be displayed on the bottom of the browser frame;
  • The http:\\ prefix should change to https:\\. The additional ‘s’ denotes that the web site is secure.

Use Firewall Protection when Buying Online

Utilising firewall protection is important in terms of preventing hackers from accessing credit and debit card details. If a victim of online fraud, it is possible to contact the bank that issued the card and commence a credit card chargeback to recover any money lost.

Internet Shopping and S 75 of the Consumer Protection Act 1974

The Consumer Protection Act 1974 affords a credit card customer protection on any purchase made that is between £100 and £30,000. If the company the purchase has been made from has gone out of business, it is possible to claim the money back from the credit card provider.

Safe Online Shopping – Register for MasterCard SecureCode and Verified by VISA

Verified by VISA and 3DS are the Internet’s answer to chip-and-pin. Registering for these means that any online shopping payments will require the entry of a password and not just the CV2 code off the back of the card.

According to Apacs, “Consumer uptake of online authentication schemes Verified by Visa and MasterCard SecureCode has increased by 600% in the past two years.”

Beware of Gift Vouchers and the Risk of Business Insolvency

Brad King, the managing director of compareandsave.com, stated that “There is a risk that people may be buying goods from businesses that are likely to collapse during these difficult economic times.”

A number of high profile businesses, including Woolworth’s and XL Leisure, have gone into receivership. Be careful not to buy gift vouchers that will have no value or goods that can’t be returned.

Don’t let the risks of online shopping get in the way, simply be aware of the risks and take a few sensible precautions. If the worst does happen, there are legislative and protective measures in place to help the victim to financially recover.