In 2014 UK online retail sales totalled £44.97 Billion. The forecast for 2015 is £52.25 Billion. This means the average UK consumer will spend £1174 online during 2015. It’s clear we that as a nation we are embracing buying online, but if you are purchasing online then these are the steps to give you the best chance of staying secure:
- First things first; if you are using Windows XP then DO NOT MAKE ONLINE PURCHASES. You are at extremely high risk as you are using an unsupported operating system. Regardless of how careful you are, Windows XP is now like a Swiss cheese in terms of security i.e. it’s full of holes.
- Make sure your computer is up to date with Windows Updates – yes they appear to be frequent, but they are important to your security, so just do them.
- Make sure you have an up to date anti-virus – it’s not good enough to have one if it has expired. Keep it current and keep it up to date.
- Before you make your online purchase, i.e. before you type in your card number, look at the Address Bar at the top of the page: you are now looking to see that the website address starts with https:// – if it starts http:// it is NOT a secure page. If it is a secure page there will also be a PADLOCK symbol somewhere in the address bar near the website address. If you have https AND a padlock then you may proceed with the purchase.
- Finally, for the completely terrified and still sceptical, get a separate credit card that you use just for online purchases. As an alternative set up a PayPal account which can be linked to your Debit Card – PayPal is now widely accepted as an alternative form of payment by many online retailers.
Happy online shopping!