Here are some handy tips for staying secure when you make online purchases.

Research

If you’re about to use a retailer online that you’ve never used before, make sure you research them before you checkout. This is where Google can become your best friend in the online shopping world. Type the merchant in and read any and all reviews that you can find about them. If there are waves of negative reviews, or they outweigh the number of good ones, then it’s likely that this may not be the online shop to bring your business to.

Safety first

When you’re using a website to make an online purchase there are a few things you can check to make sure that you stay safe:

  • Check to see if the website URL starts with https rather than http. The s is really important, as it will tell you if the website uses encryption to protect your info when you checkout

  • Check their contact info. Many scam sites will tend to list numbers that don’t work, or addresses that lead to nowhere as their contact info. This is where Google can help you check whether this info is up to scratch

  • See if there’s a handy lock symbol at the start of the URL. If you click this in your browser, there will usually be an option for you to check the site’s security certificate from here. You may also find a ‘Verified’ or ‘Secure’ stamp at the bottom of the page. It’s really important to check the date of this stamp and ensure it’s recent

Does it look good?

We all know appearances aren’t everything, but with online shopping appearances can often be an indicator that something’s not quite what it seems.

For example, does the website contain a lot of pop-ups or adverts for bargains that seem too good to be true? This can sometimes be a fraudster's way of trying to get your details, and may indicate that the website has security issues.

Does the website look up to date? Usually if someone has genuine items to sell or services to offer, it’s likely that they will have spent time and money on a nice-looking website to sell these from. It’s a bit like high street shopping: you wouldn’t go into a boarded-up shop or buy a Rolex from a person with a pop-up table, would you?

Check out the returns policy

This is sometimes hidden somewhere deep in a website’s terms and conditions, or will have its own section somewhere towards the bottom of the website. If you can’t find a website’s returns policy anywhere then ask yourself: can I afford to lose this money if the goods/services aren’t up to scratch or don’t arrive? A lack of returns policy or a policy that says no returns can usually be a sign that the seller may not be who they seem. Again, someone who’s taken time and care to create a service or product that they’re proud of is usually happy to rectify a problem if you experience one, or need to return something.

Hello.. It’s not us

ANNA will never call you for any authorisation numbers or codes when you're shopping online, or to stop any payments leaving your account. At ANNA our support is 24/7 via chat first and foremost, we would never call you unless it was prearranged, or we contacted you via our app beforehand. Before you confirm anything with us, ask yourself ‘how do I know this is ANNA?’ If you need to double check, just pop us a message in the app. It won’t take us long to check whether a call is genuine.. Too busy to message? Just ask the caller to call back later, and pop us a message in the app when you get a chance. If the caller gets pushy or says your account is at risk, it’s definitely not ANNA. If we have any concerns about your account, we’ll message you in the app.

What to do if you are duped

It’s easy to overlook the checks we’ve described, or it might be that the website or scammer that you’ve encountered is extremely convincing. This can be the case when paying via 3DS secure.

If a shop has 3D Secure to process their payment, then it’s usually a good sign that they’re pretty safe to do business with. However, this can sometimes give you a false sense of security. If a shop has 3DS as a way of processing payments but they turn out to be a scam company, we can’t always help to get your money back. This is because 3D Secure is something that merchants opt into to protect them from people raising fraudulent or false disputes.

So how do you protect yourself online? As long as you’ve followed the above steps and you’ve done your research into the online merchant, then you should have nothing to worry about. If you still have niggling doubts about the seller after all your research, then it’s probably a good idea to find the product or service you’re about to buy elsewhere.

We hope this info above helps you keep safe online. If you have any questions or want to check anything with us before you buy, just start chatting in the app.

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