- Bagging a bargain shouldn’t outweigh security risks when shopping online
- By using a virtual wallet online shoppers can keep their personal data safe
London, UK: 9th October 2008 – The rise in food and energy prices combined with restrictions by banks and credit card companies on consumer credit are going to force a more frugal approach to Christmas shopping this year. As online shoppers use price comparison sites to find the best possible prices from a wide array of retailers, experts are warning against giving out personal information, such as debit or credit card details, to lesser known merchants.
“The best prices are often too good to be true,” comments Martin Ott, Co-CEO at Moneybookers, one of the world’s biggest online payment providers. “Fraudsters know that many of us will be searching far and wide to save money this Christmas and some will inevitably be setting up bogus sites in order to steal your personal data. We would strongly advise online shoppers to stick to the trusted online merchants or to open an eWallet to keep their payment details secure.”
eWallets provide shoppers with a cushion between them and the security risks of the internet. Once the eWallet is set up, online shoppers no longer have to give out debit or credit card details to third parties. Instead, the eWallet provider acts as a middle man to facilitate the payment directly from the customer’s virtual account. As well as being highly secure, it is also a surprisingly quick and convenient way to pay as all that is required to make a payment is the registered email address and password.
“While online shoppers over here have so far lagged behind those in the US where the majority use eWallets, we think this Christmas shopping season is going to see a huge surge in uptake,” continues Ott, whose company is opening 10,000 new accounts each day.
Moneybookers is also asking online shoppers to consider the following consumer protection advice while shopping online at Christmas:
1. Don’t use unsecure payment methods: The safest way to pay online is always the eWallet, where financial data is deposited only once and with a highly secure provider. By shopping online with an eWallet, you can pay quickly and securely using only an email address and password.
2. Always check for the key symbol in your browser: If your data is transferred unencrypted then it could fall into malicious hands and be misused. That’s why you have to watch out for the key symbol at your browser – a guarantee that the information will be sent securely. You should verify this before divulging your address, bank account or credit card details and this data should never be sent via email.
3. Read earlier customers reviews: Shoppers should read customer feedback and weigh up the security of the site. Online shoppers should also look for an escrow service which provides additional security in the case of the purchased goods not arriving.
4. Check that customer service can be reached before making a purchase: If you can’t get hold of anyone before you buy then you won’t be able to at a later date either.
5. Be careful on websites that provide limited information: If there is no name or contact person then you shouldn’t shop with that site. Also, if there is incomplete information about data privacy then the provider may intend to pass your personal information.