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How to stay safe while shopping online

Tackle hackers, phishers and other no-good cybermerchants

11. Before paying up, make sure you understand the retailer’s delivery and return policies. Your sweetheart won’t be best pleased with flowers arriving on 15 February – and you won’t like paying a courier to return unsuitable goods. Avoid disappointment by knowing where you stand before things go wrong.

Step 11

Step 11

12. Choose your payment method carefully. PayPal is very secure and doesn’t require you to give out your card details. You can dispute payments under its protection scheme if necessary. A credit card is another option; the provider will protect you in the event of fraud. Debit cards give direct access to your bank account.

Step 12

Step 12

13. A credit card presents an easy method of online payment – until it gets abused by an unscrupulous site. To limit your card’s exposure, use a gift card or prepaid credit card instead (see which-prepaid-card.co.uk). These cards may not offer the same protection against supplier bankruptcy or faulty goods, however.

Step 13

Step 13

14. If your experience turns sour, you’ll need properly documented records to present to a small-claims court. Print out any web pages containing the seller’s contact information, the product description and details of their legal terms, as well as order/shipping confirmations and any emails between you and the seller.

Step 14

Step 14

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