Take extra care if you’re buying from a company that’s not well known – it’s not as safe as buying from the big, reliable names like Amazon or Argos.
- Avoid buying from companies you don’t recognise, unless they’ve been recommended by someone trustworthy.
- Don’t judge a book by its cover – a slick website can be a front for a shady business.
- Check that it’s a real company. If in doubt, search for the company online.
- Take care with overseas companies. You’re less likely to have heard of them, so it’s harder to judge if they’re legitimate.
How to make sure you’re on a secure site
You should only put your card details into sites that are secure – otherwise someone else could intercept them and use them for fraud. On a secure site, you should see a few reassuring signs.
- The padlock symbol. Look for a padlock symbol in the bottom right of the browser window – in the frame of the browser, not in the web page itself. This suggests that the site is secure, but it’s not a guarantee, and it doesn’t mean that the seller is honest.
Stay alert for scams
It’s a well-known fact – if a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Top tips for avoiding scams:
- Buy only from companies you know.
- Never buy something from a spam or unsolicited email.
- If you’re suspicious, crosscheck online. Do a web search for the company name and the word ‘scam’ – if you find complaints from other people, do not buy anything from that company.