We touched on the subject of safe shopping online in our Why shop online for garden furniture in December? post last month.
In that article I stated that the subject of online security was a full post all of it’s own, so I felt it was only right to follow up on that sooner rather than later.
Cyber security was again in the spotlight recently with warnings over the use of the Russian based Kaspersky Labs anti-virus software and the Barclays Supercon advert that aired over the festive period.
When it comes to internet security, it’s very easy to be blasé, take the ‘it’ll never happen to me’ attitude. The internet is a such a great resource, it’s hard to remember what we did before it existed.
However, it can also be a dangerous place if you stray off the beaten path or fall victim to online trolling, hacking, theft or fraud.
An article published by the BBC at the start of the year stated that there were an estimated 3.6 million cases of fraud* and two million computer misuse offences** in 2016 alone.
In the same article, John Flatley, from the the Office of National Statistics was quoted as saying:
“In the past, burglary and theft of vehicles were the high-volume crimes driving trends but their numbers have fallen substantially since then. When the crime survey started [35 years ago], fraud was not considered a significant threat and the internet had yet to be invented. Today’s figures demonstrate how crime has changed, with fraud now the most commonly experienced offence.”
Scary stuff but that shouldn’t put us off. The advantages to shopping online far out-weigh the negatives.
As an online retailer, we know that privacy and security are the primary concern for the majority of internet shoppers.
Hopefully with this article we can help alleviate any fears you may have when it comes to safe shopping online with us.
And while I can’t give you a surefire way to avoid online scams, simply exercising a little common sense, and knowing what to look out for, will give you a fighting chance of avoiding the scammers.
Safe shopping online: What to look out for
Online threats can come in a myriad of different forms. Ransomware, Malware, Phishing and Sharing Scams are just a few of the tactics cyber criminals use to defraud.
However, in this post I want to focus more specifically on online shopping scams. The things you’d need to look out for if you were shopping online for garden furniture.
Online Shopping Scams
The two main areas criminals are targeting are as follows:
1. Fake retailer websites
It can be difficult to spot a fake, fraudulent or scam website. I’ve seen everything from a fake Amazon to many garden furniture retailers that were too good to be true.
The fraudsters are getting very creative at at creating convincing websites. The warning signs section below will help you identify if a website is legitimate or not.
2. Online Auction Sites
For many of us, the likes of eBay and Gumtree are our go-to’s to grab a bargain. However, cyber criminals are also using them to take advantage of our trust and sell poor-quality or non-existent items.
This article from Action Fraud (the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime) has some great tips to help avoid being caught out by criminals on online auction sites.
- If you see a product advertised at an unbelievably low price, or advertised with features that sound too good to be true. Then it usually is too good to be true. You aren’t going to find an iPad £200 cheaper than the Apple store.
- One of the go to scams that fraudsters use is the fake website. It looks like you are buying genuine products but they steal all the images, text, even the layout from legitimate websites to peddle their knock offs.
- Avoid any website that is poorly designed with spelling mistakes, poor grammar, lots of repeated key phrases etc. Look at the contact info, ensure they have UK telephone numbers and it is easy to get in touch with them.
- Also a good ref flag is if the site hasn’t been around for very long, it is not well ranked in Google and if the web domain name just doesn’t look quite right. Amazon.info or apple-deals.co.uk for example.
- When it comes to the like of eBay, the seller rating is key. Always check feedback before you buy.
- Avoid any sellers that want to complete complete the transaction outside of the auction website. If you do this, you will lose any protection offered by the likes of eBay.
- To be honest, if they don’t take PayPal, then I tend to avoid them altogether. And I’m always a little wary about purchasing from overseas sellers.
How to protect yourself
Cybersecurity is the most important commerce feature on the Lazy Susan shop. Without the correct protocols in places, we would be putting not only ourselves, but also our customers at risk of fraud.
The key to keeping safe is to pay attention to HTTPS protocols, and this is why the Lazy Susan site is protected by Comodo Security.
Ensuring all our customer information is secure from the moment you start browsing our website all the way through to purchase is critical. Using Comodo means that:
- Any data you submit to lazysusanfurniture.co.uk over a https connection will be securely encrypted with the strongest available algorithms.
- The SSL certificate used by this website carries a $250,000 warranty to further protect customer purchases.
- By choosing Comodo SSL, Lazy Susan have proven that customer security is our highest priority.
- You can see the site security activate when you are about to enter any personal information by looking at the URL search bar – The Padlock icon and the ‘https’ must be visible to ensure all information is secure.
- At Lazy Susan we also have a Site Certificate from Security Metrics which means we have complied with PCI data security requirements.
However, it is also important you remain vigilant. There’s a few simple steps you can take to make sure the transaction is a safe one.
- Install, keep up to date and use anti-virus software.
- If you’ve got a firewall, use it.
- Install anti-spyware software.
- Use complex and secure passwords.
- Check on the security settings of your preferred browser.
- Use the latest version of your preferred web browser.
- Keep your operating system (Windows, Safari) up to date.
- Use a malicious software removal tool.
- If in doubt, take it your device to an expert.
Be clear on the refund policy
Before you click to buy, check that the website or online auction site has a refund or returns policy, and that that policy is fair.
The likes of eBay and Amazon have detailed complaint or dispute handling processes in case something goes wrong.
At Lazy Susan or policy is clearly outlines in our Delivery & Returns section.
When you buy online, you need to know that when that item is delivered, if your are not 100% happy, then it is easy for you to return it. Whatever the reason!
What to do if you’ve been a victim of online fraud
The only name you need to know is ActionFraud. They are the the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime.
If you think you’ve been a victim of cyber crime, then this is where you should report it. Their website is also a great resource for advice and guidance, with great up to date articles on the latest scams to look out for etc.
We’ve only scratched the surface with this article, so if we’ve not answered your concerns, then ActionFraud should be your next port of call.
Safe internet shopping!
*Cyber and fraud covers bank and credit account fraud, advance fee fraud where the victim has been tricked into handing over cash after a communication, such as a lottery scam, non-investment fraud where the victim is tricked into buying something, often online, perhaps through a bogus phone call or email and any other frauds including investment or fake charity scams.
**The term computer misuse is defined as unauthorised access to your personal information, including hacking
computer viruses, malware or other incidents such as Distributed Denial of Service attacks aimed at online services