Avoid Christmas Fraudsters on ebay and online generally

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Don’t get ripped off

In the hunt for a great price some shoppers sacrifice security.

But if you unwittingly hand your personal details or credit card details to a fraudster you risk your account being emptied or your credit card being used to its limits.

Equally, once a criminal has your information they could apply for new credit such as a card or loan in your name.

The good news is there are some simple steps you can take to avoid falling victim to fraud when shopping online this Christmas.

Shopping on eBay

On ebay always use PayPal as your preffered payment option as you do get buyer protection, also make sure you have a look at the seller's feedback before purchasing.

Outside of ebay.... Use a trusted website

If a deal looks too good to be true then it probably is, so take a minute or two to check you are buying from a trusted website.

Look for genuine, secure trustmarks and watch out for rogue companies fraudulently copying trust seal logos and placing them on their websites.

If a site is new to you, ensure it has a “real world” presence, with a full address and phone number.

If in doubt, don’t take a risk on an unknown site. Find a reputable site that you know and trust.

Look for the padlock symbol

When shopping online, look for the padlock symbol on the page and check the web address starts with “https” rather than just “http”.

This is especially important when you are on the payment pages, as the “s” indicates that the website is secure.

Type the address of online shops yourself

Never visit a website from a link in an unsolicited email as the site could be bogus.

Don’t click on links that supposedly take you to online shops,

Always type the company address into the browser window or navigate via a search engine.

Protect your computer

Make sure you use the latest version of your browser when surfing the internet.

Also ensure you have the latest versions of security software installed as this will help minimise any chance of someone managing to access your computer.

Security software brands include Norton Antivirus and McAfee.

Register with an online payment system

Protect your personal details by registering with an authentication service for online payments, such as MasterCard SecureCode or Verified by Visa.

You simply register a private password with your card company, and use it when shopping online at participating retailers.

Paypal also operates an online payment service.

Choose passwords carefully

It might not be practical to use a different password for every online retailer you shop with but it’s worth having more than one.

Don’t share your passwords with anyone else and avoid passwords that can easily be guessed

And remember to change your passwords regularly.

Don’t shop on public computers

Never use a public or shared computer or a public wireless network to pay for purchases, as this makes it easier for a criminal to steal your account and log-in information.

Always log out after shopping online and keep the confirmation email your receive as a record of your order.

Check your statements

Get into the habit of checking your statements regularly.

If you find a transaction that you didn’t make contact your bank or card company immediately.

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