Updated: October 23, 2014
Everyday, more and more people are trusting websites with their personal information.
Some use their credit cards to book flights and shop online. Others use their social media accounts as log-in for websites. And of course, most of us share details about us in social networks.
The question now is, how do we ensure that our data remains secure?
Today’s guest article written by Emma, will try to help us with this problem.
Let’s now read what she has to say.
These days, most of us carry out at least a few transactions online and for many of us – this is a day to day thing as we organise money transfer online or do high value shopping online. So how do you know whether a website is safe or not – and what do you look out for?
Firstly, if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is!
Many stolen or sub-standard goods get offered online at big discounts by small traders on auction sites. Look out, in particular, for phrases like “the actual item supplied may not be identical to the illustration” or something similar. And if any web site asks you for your card details when you’re responding to a free offer, it is most certainly fraudulent.
Ask whether you can properly identify the seller from the information on their site. The law says that a commercial website must include contact details – so make sure you can find a trading name, a street address and a contact phone number if you can.
It’s always worth calling or getting in touch with them to make sure anyone you’re dealing with sounds business-like and if the whole thing feels right when you speak to someone. Remember – you can always find another supplier so don’t take risks. Beware of sites that only give out mobile contact number details and make sure you read the Terms and Conditions before sending payment online.
If the trader’s website is their own, you can use a WHOIS service online to find out the site’s webhost and domain name registration details. Double-check if these match the details given on the site and find out how long they’ve been registered.
If it’s only for a very short time, beware. If everything does check out then you should next carry out an online search for customer comments in online communities or via independent blogs If this is through a well-known auction site like eBay, the site should publish a seller’s ratings and history which are always worth checking, though remember that these aren’t fool-proof.
When it comes to paying, ensure the address of each page on the ordering site starts with “https://”. This is vital on the page when you put in your bank or credit card details and the last “˜s’ before the colon is important because it means that the data you’re sending and receiving on the page is encrypted in transit. Moreover, a pop up warning saying the website you’re on isn’t the same site that owns the certificate, then this should make you very suspicious.
Overall – if in doubt, leave it out.
This guest post was contributed by Emma, a reader of this blog based in the U.K.
Photo credit: dannyoosterveer