How to stay safe from credit card fraud – spending safely online

2 min • 24 Nov 2020
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Let’s face it, for the next few months a lot of our spending is going to be online, so it pays to be extra careful that you’re spending safely. Here are some things you can do to make sure that you’re spending safely.

Make sure you’re spending on a legitimate website

There are a few things to look out for to make sure you’re buying from an official website

  • Does the domain name look right?  That’s the bit you see in the top bar of your browser. Most companies’ official sites will be, well, official. Think https://www.apple.com as opposed to https://www.cheapipadsforyou.co .
  • Is it secure?  Check that the site has a https connection, as opposed to http. The ‘s’ stands for secure. Also look for the little padlock. These things indicate that the website is encrypted so if you enter details or make a payment, the connection is secure.
  • Have a look around. Check that it feels right. Is the spelling and grammar good? Does it have full address details, as opposed to just a PO box?
  • Do some wider research. Check a review site. Do these look legitimate? You should be suspicious if the reviews all use similar wording. You can also check out the company on Companies House to see if they’re genuine.

Fraudsters are getting more and more sophisticated at making their websites look legitimate, so you should consider of all these factors before you make your decision whether to buy from them.

And be extra careful buying from unregulated websites, for example Facebook marketplace. Check the sellers really carefully before making a purchase.

If a deal looks too good to be true… it probably is!

Apply a common-sense eye to what you’re seeing.  This can be difficult as we’re all bombarded with sales and deals all the time, but if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

And be aware of the circumstances. Are they trying to push you into decisions too quickly? This is a sign to be wary.

Be careful of your emails

Finally, if (like most of us) you have an inbox full of deals, then be careful which ones you follow up on. As with websites, it’s worth spending a little time checking over an email before you click on any links.

Here are three things to check before you click through:

  1.  The display name. A favourite phishing tactic among cybercriminals is to fake the display name of an email. Hover your mouse over the name or, if you’re on a touch screen, hold your finger over it. You’ll see who the email is really from – is it who you expected?
  2. The links. Hover your mouse over or hold your finger down on any links in the body of the email – is the address that pops up what you expect it to be? Make sure you look at it closely – sometimes websites have fake URLs that closely mimic the ones they pretend to be. 
  3. Spelling mistakes. Legitimate messages usually do not have major and recurring spelling mistakes or poor grammar.

Find out more about spending safely on your credit card, here.

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