Shop Safe This Festive Season
Published 18 November 2019. By Mollie Thompson.
With Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas just around the corner, many of us will be carrying out a lot (if not all) of our shopping online. We often take for granted that our online shopping experience will be safe and secure. This unfortunately isn’t always the case. Here are some considerations you should think about before making your purchase…
Do your research about a company before making a purchase. Online shopping scams are prevalent especially on the run up to Christmas, so be mindful that you are purchasing goods from a genuine retailer site. If in doubt, you can do a Google search for “Company Name Reviews”, this may bring up Trustpilot reviews or similar giving better insight into the company.
One of the first checks you can make is to look at the webpage address bar. You should ensure that the URL contains the company name and is a secured site. Look for the “https://” at the beginning of the address, this indicates that the webpage is secure and means if you are entering personal or financial information, these will be encrypted and protected from third parties. Whilst important, you should never rely solely on the presence of “https://” as phishing sites will use this to fool shoppers.
Also remember to look for the padlock symbol on the URL bar. Clicking the padlock should inform you who has registered the site or alternatively provide you with a warning.
Social Media Advertisements
Online scammers are homing into social media platforms by using fake advertisements. Never fully trust a company or product because it is advertised on a social media site. If you are tempted to buy goods from a site that has been advertised on your social media, take a common-sense approach (remember reviews can also be faked – see below).
Not all reviews are genuine, especially if posted on a Facebook page or other social media platform. People are often paid to leave fake reviews. Things to watch out for include only positive reviews (no negative or neutral ones), multiple reviews posted around the same time and the review content reads as a script.
Watch out for huge discounts on products. Online scams will often try to attract consumers by advertising products at extremely low prices. If it looks or seems too good to be true, then it probably is.
Refrain from making online purchases on public wi-fi as often these connections are regularly accessed by fraudsters who attempt to gain personal and financial information.
It is always advisable to read the returns policy on every purchase you make. Look out for websites that do not offer returns or exchanges. Under the Consumer’s Rights Act 2015, consumers have the right to a full refund on faulty items for 30 days after purchase and this includes digital goods.
If you are making some larger purchases online or indeed in store consider using a credit card. Under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, credit cards provide protection for purchases above £100 and below £30,000. Credit card protection can assist in covering the cost in several situations including: where you cannot get a refund on a faulty item; your item has not been delivered; your item does not match the description; or the retailer or trader goes out of business.
In this world of digital and cyber fraud we all run the risk of finding that money has gone from a bank account without authorisation. MKB Law Associate Director Jonathan Jackson has particular expertise in dealing with the Payments Services Regulations and has recovered hundreds of thousands of pounds on behalf of clients.
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