Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Top Tips for Safer Online Shopping

What follows is a press release from M-Web......

Mad dashes to the shops before closing time for that last forgotten item, manic searches for parking, nervously navigating through the crowds, tussles with strangers over the last turkey, not too mention queues longer than the Nile. It’s no wonder that shopping’s therapeutic qualities disappear faster than you can say “charge it”, over the festive season. Unless of course, you’re shopping online.

“Shopping online is fast and convenient, making it incredibly easy to shop around for a better deal and you’ll find everything from groceries to discounted flight tickets. Best of all, Internet shops are open 24-hours a day, seven days a week,” says Natalie Thayer, General Manager of MWEB, South Africa’s leading Internet Service Provider.

“To ensure that you reap all the benefits that online shopping affords, it’s best to err on the side of caution,” advises Thayer, who has the following top three tips for a great online shopping experience:

1. Only shop on a secure server.
Make certain that the shopping website is on a secure server before you enter any personal or credit card information online. This ensures that no-one besides the merchant is able to see or use your information.
“You can do this by looking for a picture of an unbroken key or closed lock which is usually located in the bottom right-hand corner of your browser window. Either one indicates that the server is secure. A broken key, no lock or any open lock indicates that others might be able to access your information. Also check to see whether the web address on the page that asks for your credit card information begins with the letters https instead of http. The additional “S” at the end stands for secure,” continues Thayer.

2. Use a credit card.
Use a credit card instead of a debit card when shopping online. Credit
card companies such as Visa and Mastercard protect you against unauthorised
purchases. Remember to keep your passwords safe and not to save them on your
computer in much the same way that you wouldn’t keep your ATM PIN number in your

3. Only buy from trusted merchants.
Only shop at companies that you have heard of or know. If
you’ve not heard of the company before but are keen on their merchandise, why
not check their contact details and give them a call. Also remember to make
certain that they have a return policy on the site too. Finally, look for logos
from privacy enforcement companies such as MWEB Safeshop, Thawte or TRUSTe.
Online shopping malls such as include a host of trusted

“The cyber-world is not that different from the real world and similar rules apply. Trust your instincts and be street wise. If an offer sounds too good to be true, then it probably is! And, remember to print records of your purchases. MWEB wishes you happy holidays made that much more enjoyable with an online shopping experience second to none,” concludes Thayer.

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