We have just produced a comprehensive buyer's guide and, whilst it touched on online shopping, it was more focussed on choosing the right size, style and type of outdoor furniture. This time we want to focus purely on online safety. Look a little closer at the proactive steps you can take to protect your personal information and ensure a secure transaction when buying new outdoor tables and chairs.
According to the National Crime Agency:
“The Crime Survey of England and Wales revealed there were 3.7 million incidents of fraud in England and Wales in the year ending December 2022 (ONS) and 86% of fraud instances are estimated to go underreported. This means that the scale of fraud is very significant, but that under-reporting also hampers our understanding of the threat.”
Here at Lazy Susan, we have seen our fair share of internet scams, both as individuals and as a business. As an e-commerce platform, the security of both the shop itself and our customers is always our top priority. We work with a trusted e-commerce platform that provides secure online shopping solutions for us. We maintain the security of the shop by ensuring it is correctly configured, maintained, and updated. The site is also hosted on a secure hosting platform, which is crucial for its overall safety.
Security for us, as it is for you, is an ongoing process though, and we must stay vigilant and aware of new threats and vulnerabilities as they emerge. To help ensure that shopping with Lazy Susan is a safe, secure and enjoyable experience, our IT team have compiled 12 key tips that will help protect you when shopping online for new outdoor tables and chairs:
1. Shop with reputable websites
“Only shop with well-known and reputable online retailers. Check reviews and ratings to gauge the reliability of the website.”
At Lazy Susan we have partnered with Trustpilot and at the time of writing this article we have 5,323 reviews and an excellent 4.7-star rating. Yes, reviews too can be faked but that many would be a huge task and we don’t hide from the negative. We make mistakes but we leave our 1-star reviews on there and you will see replies from our Customer Service Team.
However, probably the best customer accreditation we receive is the photographs they send us of their new tables and chairs in their outdoor spaces for our Do Some Good charity initiative. Our gallery currently sits at over 5000 snaps and you will find them utilised across our website.
2. Look for secure websites
“Before entering your personal details or payment information, ensure that the website has a secure connection. Look for "https://" in the URL and a padlock icon in the address bar.”
This is shown for our website in the image above and below.
The presence of "https://" and a padlock icon has become a standard security indicator. When users see these symbols, they are more likely to trust the website and feel confident that their information is secure.
The "https://" in our URL indicates that our website uses a secure, encrypted connection. This encryption ensures that the data exchanged between you and our website server is encrypted and cannot easily be intercepted. This is critical when entering sensitive information, such as your credit card details or home address.
The padlock icon signifies that our website uses an SSL/TLS certificate. This certificate helps ensure the integrity of the data being transmitted. It means that the information you send or receive hasn't been tampered with during the transfer process. When you see the padlock, it means that the website has been verified as legitimate, and you are connected to the intended website rather than a fraudulent one.
3. Use strong and unique passwords
“Create strong, unique passwords for your online accounts. Avoid using the same password across multiple sites.”
Using strong and unique passwords for your online shopping accounts is a fundamental step in safeguarding your personal and financial information.
Follow password best practices and use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters, and regularly update your passwords, especially if you've inadvertently shared your password or if there has been a security incident on a website you have used.
The Guardian’s How to create the perfect password article has some great tips and expert advice on how to make your online accounts safe in just a few simple steps.
4. Keep your devices and software up to date
“Keep your devices and software up to date with the latest security patches. Regular updates help protect against vulnerabilities.”
Keeping your devices and software up to date is essential for maintaining a secure and seamless online furniture shopping experience. It helps protect your personal and financial information, ensures compatibility with online platforms, and contributes to an overall improved user experience.
The latest updates will often include bug fixes and performance improvements that can enhance the overall stability and functionality of your devices and software. This ensures a smoother and more reliable online shopping experience. So as annoying and time-consuming as updating to the latest versions can be, when prompted, do it!
5. Beware of phishing
“Be cautious of emails, messages, or pop-ups asking for personal or financial information. Legitimate companies won't request sensitive details via email.”
Phishing is a type of cyber attack in which the attackers will use deceptive tactics to trick you into providing personal information, such as your usernames, passwords, credit card details, or other sensitive details. The term "phishing" is a play on the word "fishing" as they both involve casting bait with the hope that someone will take a nibble. In the case of a phishing attack, the bait could be a fraudulent email, text, social media message or deceptive content/website. If in doubt, don't click it!
6. Use secure payment methods to pay for patio furniture
"Opt for secure payment methods, such as credit cards or trusted payment gateways. Avoid using public Wi-Fi for financial transactions.”
Using a secure payment method such as a credit card with fraud protection or PayPal when shopping online is essential for protecting your financial information and ensuring a safe and reliable transaction. Secure payment methods use encryption protocols to protect your financial information during the transaction. This means that your credit card details and personal information are scrambled and can only be deciphered by the intended recipient thus reducing the risk of interception by cybercriminals.
7. Keep track of your transactions
“Regularly review your bank and credit card statements to check for any unauthorised transactions. Report any discrepancies immediately.”
Regularly monitoring your transactions on your bank's app or website will enable you to quickly identify any unauthorised or suspicious activity. If you notice unfamiliar charges, then you can take immediate action to investigate and report potential fraud. Be proactive - keep an eye on your finances and respond promptly to any issues that arise.
8. Only shop for garden furniture on your own devices
“Whenever possible, shop from devices you own and trust. Avoid making online purchases on public computers.”
When you use your own devices, be it a PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone, you have better control over the security settings and you can ensure that they are adequately protected with up-to-date antivirus software. This will help to reduce the risk of malware and other threats but you still need to practice good cybersecurity. You can and should also set up biometric and 2-factor authentication to add another layer of security wherever possible.
9. If an outdoor furniture deal is too good to be true…
“Exercise caution if a deal seems too good to be true. Scammers often use enticing offers to lure unsuspecting shoppers.”
The adage "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is" is often a good rule of thumb when evaluating deals online. It is important to conduct thorough research, read reviews, and use your judgment when evaluating deals, especially if they seem unusually attractive. If in doubt, consider seeking advice from trusted sources or doing additional research before you click to buy.
10. Keep your antivirus software up to date
“Install reputable antivirus software on your devices and keep it updated to protect against malware and other online threats.”
Keeping your antivirus software up to date will help to best protect you. Cyber threats are constantly evolving, and new forms of malware are developed regularly. Antivirus software updates include the latest virus definitions and detection mechanisms to identify and remove newly discovered threats. The likes of McAfee and Norton are continually improving their algorithms to detect malicious activities. Regular updates will ensure that your antivirus software has the latest and most effective methods for identifying and blocking these threats.
11. Know the latest scams
“Stay informed about common online scams. Be wary of unsolicited emails, fake websites, and phishing attempts.”
Staying informed about the latest online scams is an ongoing effort, however, by adopting a proactive approach to online security you can protect yourself. Just remember to verify the credibility of the sources you follow to ensure that the information you receive is accurate and trustworthy. You can follow reputable cybersecurity news websites such as The National Cyber Security Centre.
12. Don’t be afraid to report it
“Reporting online scams is important as it helps protect individuals, organisations, and society as a whole from the negative impacts of cybercrime.”
If you do encounter any online shopping or email scams, then don’t feel embarrassed, it can happen to us all, but you must report it.
If you have been a victim of fraud or encountered something suspicious, including fraudulent emails or websites, then please do not open any attachments or click any links. Report all incidents of fraud to Action Fraud, the UK's national fraud and cybercrime reporting centre, via their website or call them on 0300 123 2040.
By following our IT team's simple guidelines, you can keep safe and secure when shopping online for new outdoor tables and chairs and reduce the risk of falling victim to a scam or identity theft!