Money | Tips for Shopping Online

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The countdown is on to Christmas and as these are the last few days for shopping online to ensure timely delivery, we look at some of the the best ways to protect your privacy when purchasing.

The pressure is on to get the last few things for Christmas with everyone flocking online to escape the madness of shopping.

Yes, it’s convenient and drama-free. But there is also the dark side of buying items online, such as increasing cases of fraudulent behaviour. To avoid anyone accessing your account and private information, here are a few tips to protect yourself online.

Hacks are using more sophisticated software to access your account and that is why it is so important to update your anti-virus and anti-spyware programmes. Such software will offer some protection against virus and other malaware you may encounter.

You should only browse and shop from a trusted computer that you have control over the settings and security of the connection. Try to avoid internet cafes and kiosks in public places.

Similarly, only deal with websites that you can trust. Use recommendations from family and friends, and always do some research on the trader. Look for online reviews or news about the retailer, and take note of key information such as contact details.

The payment page should be a secure page. Look for the padlock or key icon at the bottom of your browser window and “https” instead of “http” in the URL string. An open padlock or broken keys mean you are not on a secure server.

Ever wonder why advertisements for the items you were previously looking for pop up in your feed? This is because many sites store/use/sell your browsing history to tailor advertisements around your shopping behaviour. To protect your privacy, look for the privacy policy or ‘terms of use’ page to find out what information the company collects and how it uses it. Some internet browsers like Safari have a ‘private browsing’ function too, so check out those features.

Know exactly what you are buying. Read through the product specifications, measurements, guarantees, options for materials etc. Before you pay, carefully review your order information to ensure it’s correct.