Avoid Scams When Making Internet Credit Card Payments
UK shoppers spent £38 billion in online purchases in 2009 and this figure looks set to increase. Credit cards are the most popular online payment method and avoiding internet fraud should be a priority.
Online Shopping in the UKThe UK is now the number one country in Europe when it comes to online shopping. The rise in online shopping has also meant a rise in scammers looking to part honest online shoppers from their cash. Internet scams in the UK have become such a serious problem that a government ‘cyber enforcement team’ has been set up to tackle this growing problem. Around 4 million people in Britain have been duped by scammers, and in one week alone UK police shut down 1200 scam shopping sites.
Checking the Website’s Security MeasuresIn general, online shopping should be safe and secure but there are ways to ensure credit card payment safety. One of the main ways to stay safe is to check the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protocol. The SSL is a public key encryption that secures communications over the internet. When the SSL is active the ‘https’ should appear prior to the web address. The yellow padlock symbol should also appear in the web browser bar. Clicking on the padlock symbol should bring up a digital certificate issued by a trusted third party.
Staying Safe with Online ShoppingStopping the scammers making off with credit card details and cash means undergoing a few safety checks. Safety checks when shopping online can include:
- Check websites for actual address details and phone numbers
- Try to always use trusted sellers who have plenty of good customer feedback
- Be very wary of buying goods from overseas sellers
- Always use a secure website with the padlock symbol and a third party issued certificate
- Paying for goods over £100 with a credit card will mean extra consumer protection against fraud and non delivery
- Online payment tools such as Paypal will offer added consumer protection
- Do not enter credit card details into a website unless they have a digital certificate
- Always read the small print when buying goods or services via credit card
Be Wary Of Limited Trial OffersConsumers should be on their guard against ‘special offers’ from sellers. A recent ‘weight loss’ product that was advertised over the internet resulted in thousands of scammed customers with its ‘free trial’ offer. Customers were asked to give credit card details that would be used to process postage payments only. It then transpired that further payments were taken from credit cards before the free trial had ended. The free trial scam is increasingly used as a method of obtaining credit card details.
Special Offer Internet ScamsSpecial offer scams sent to consumers by email should always be treated sceptically. Emails from companies claiming they have free offers such as electronic goods just for replying should be avoided. Businesses do not give away goods for free, there is always a catch. Again, these free offers are used to tempt in the customer and to obtain credit card details. Do not be fooled into parting with any credit card details. If something looks to good to be true it usually will be.
Spotting the Internet Scam SignsStaying slightly sceptical is a good way to beat the scammers. Stop and think about the special offers and ask some questions. Why have you been personally targeted for these special email offers? Is it really likely that a company will give goods for free? Never be tempted to part with cash just because something looks like a bargain. Check up on the company. Do some internet research on them by checking their IP address at sites such as Who Is Domain to find out exactly where the email originated.
Don’t Be Fooled By the Internet Charity ScammersInternet scammers have no conscience. They will happily pretend to be charitable organisations looking for donations to worthy causes. Many people are scammed into donating large amounts of money to so called charitable organisations. The most recent scam took place after the Haiti earthquake and many generous people lost money to these scammers. Always check charitable organisation’s details and addresses. Internet scammers are callous and will use the suffering of others to make themselves money.
It isn’t hard to beat the scammers and make online payments safely using credit cards. Use internet payment safety checks and use a degree of scepticism when bargains are offered. No one likes to be taken for a fool, and online shoppers shouldn’t wait until they have bitten once before wising up.