Shopping online is usually really safe – just follow some common rules. Here’s 5 simple steps to help you protect your personal details whenever you shop online.
Step 1: update your browser for free
Your browser is the programme you use to surf the net – you’re using one right now to read this article. It might be Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, or another browser; but whichever you prefer to open, do make sure you’ve got the latest version. That’s because the newer the version, the higher the level of security it offers.
It’s free to update your browser, so don’t put it off! These are the most popular browsers that get updated regularly:
Step 2: What is ‘phishing’? How to spot fake emails
Basically, ‘phishing’ is online fraud. You might get an email that look like it’s real – as if it’s from your bank, or from another company you deal with – but it will ask you for personal information that genuine companies would never ask you for.
It’s probably a fake email if it asks you for:
• User names
• Security codes
• Date of birth
• Credit card details
Some fake emails may have links to other websites in them. These websites may also ask for personal details, so if you’re not sure about the email in the first place, it’s best just to delete it.
Step 3: What to do if you’re not sure an email’s from who it says its from
If you get an email that looks like it might not be from the actual company but you don’t want to delete it just in case, forward it to the company you deal with. They will normally have a customer support email address on their website.
Step 4: Protect your privacy with Anti-spyware software
Spyware is a type of software that can be installed on your computer for someone else’s benefit without you knowing it’s there. Sometimes clicking on an email or website link can install spyware. Anti-spyware detects and prevents this – for instance, Microsoft offers a free programme if you’re a Windows user. Windows Defender is easy to download and install, and means your privacy stays protected.
Step 5: Keep your software up to date
Another way of helping to keep everything safe is to keep your software and operating system up to date. You can set your computer to get updates automatically so you don’t have to remember to do it, or just go to the Microsoft security site and download them from there.
And that’s all there is to it! These simple steps make a big difference to your online security, and they’re really easy to follow. The final thing we’d add is that it’s a good idea to check your accounts/statements each time you get one to make sure all’s as it should be, and log into your online accounts from time.