How Security Conscious Are Internet Shoppers?

As we are approaching one of the busiest times of year for internet shopping I recently performed a simple survey of family and friends unconnected with the IT Industry. The topic – security and internet shopping.

The survey was small with just over 30 questioned, however, a shocking fact came to light – the majority thought that if the website appears genuine, has the right goods displayed and in stock, for a reasonable price and accepts credit card payment then the site is legitimate and they go ahead with the purchase.

Definitions of genuine were; showed branded goods, looked similar to other sites, showed a telephone contact number, accepted debit or credit cards, could pay by PayPal.

The sites visited varied, some household names and other more obscure ones and many that had not been visited before! Most were regular on-line shoppers.

The question I asked was ‘What security checks do you do when shopping on-line?’

Worryingly, many never checked for a padlock, looked for https or had heard of ISIS.

Here are my 5 top tips for secure internet shopping – please pass to friends, family and colleagues who may not be as well versed in internet safety as you would think;

Only give your payment card details over a secure connection (https), and not by email. The same applies to your PIN number.

Check the sellers landline telephone number and their address. Check the landline telephone number area code agrees to the address area and call the landline number to ensure it is answered by the Company you are dealing with and ask them how they comply with PCI DSS – Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards. This is a requirement for all companies that store, process or transmit credit card data.

Look for the Padlock and check that the web address changes to https etc before you enter your card details – if it doesn’t then you risk your credit card details being transmitted in clear text format which could be read by anyone and certainly those scanning the internet for such things.

Look for the ISIS – Internet Shopping Is Safe logo on the website.

Register your card for extra security checks with your credit card provider. For example Verified by Visa, MasterCard Secure, doing this means you will be prompted for characters from your registered card password at checkout when shopping and stops someone else using your card.

These steps can reduce the risk of your credit card details falling into the wrong hands or you paying for goods that you never receive. However, you should be vigilant and if you are in doubt, exit the site and shop elsewhere.

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