We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
 
74,944 News Articles

Reduce online holiday shopping risks

New guidelines for Christmas web shoppers

Santa Claus may take online orders this year, but the Grinches will also be on the Internet.

Holiday shopping online is expected to reach new peaks this year, and with the surge comes concern over the safety of transactions, according to technology services company EDS and the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), both of which have issued guidelines for web shoppers.

US shoppers are expected to buy about 25 percent of their holiday goods online this year, with a typical shopper spending nearly $800 (£420), according to the National Retail Federation. But various vendors and consumer groups have issued warnings for online shoppers because a likelihood of fraud accompanies the increase of buying online. Internet-related fraud cost an estimated $340m (£180m) last year, the FTC said.

EDS and the FTC cautioned that online shoppers should:

  • Know your retailer. Stick with reputable businesses with contact numbers and physical addresses. Some websites display seals that vouch for their security, but these can also be faked.
  • Use secure websites. Sites that use encryption to protect data should display "https://" rather than "http://" in the address bar. Secure sites should also display a padlock symbol to show that the website has a secure, encrypted connection. EDS advises against sending a retailer more information than they need to complete a purchase.
  • Be aware of phishing email. Most people have received fraudulent email asking for personal information. Never send information and never click on links in such emails, which are likely to be directed to look-a-like websites designed to harvest identity and financial details. It's safe to type a website address into a browser. Reputable businesses do not ask for information through emails.
  • Review privacy and security policies. Most companies will tell you what information they collect and how they use it. Also, foreign websites may be bound by different laws for how they can handle your personal information.
  • Use antivirus and firewall software.
  • Check your credit report and credit card balances regularly.

The FTC website has a page devoted to holiday shopping tips, including those for online shoppers.


IDG UK Sites

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 release date, price and specs 2014

IDG UK Sites

What's the best smartwatch? 11 iWatch rivals compared in our wearables round-up

IDG UK Sites

25 Years of the World Wide Web: Happy Birthday, Intenet

IDG UK Sites

Developers get access to more Sony camera features