Are You Safe? Online Shopping

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Online shopping has become as natural as popping into a store for milk, it is something that we all actively participate in and a trend that more people each day are becoming accustomed to. I regularly shop online as I love finding bargains and searching through new online boutiques that offer unique, inexpensive clothing. However, there comes a time with many online shoppers, where they click a link that does not seem right and it suddenly dawns on them that the £1.99 dress they saw is not quite legitimate. The issue is, many people believe what they see on the internet to be honest and genuine. If Google supplies you with a link, of course it is going to be okay, isn't it? This is not always the case. Many people forget that although online shopping makes everything easier and more accessible, it can come with dangers.

A few years ago I was shopping on Ebay for a new dress - something that I regularly do and thought nothing of. I purchased this dress and it went straight to my Paypal account where I paid on my debit card. I don't know why, but I had a feeling that I ought to check my Paypal history - maybe I was suffering from post shopping guilt and wanted to scare myself into stopping shopping by showing how much I spent or a regular basis or maybe it was just an instinct, but nevertheless I'm glad I checked. My Paypal history showed me that someone had taken £17.98 out of my account. I began questioning what I had spent that money on and eventually shrugged it off thinking it must have been one of my countless dresses. Later on that day, I decided to go back to my history and look again. Eventually I began to unravel something that I found truly disturbing. Someone had hacked my account and was taking various amounts out of my Paypal. It was little things they were buying - such as items for £3 or sometimes even £25, but it was relatively low transactions that I would have barely noticed. This had been going on for quite some time under my nose and I knew nothing about it. After going through my Ebay, I had noticed it was my Ebay account that had been hacked and that they used my card to make payments and ship these items to an address in China. When I rang the bank, they knew it could not have been me and refunded all the money and chased my hacker. Needless to say, ever since my little encounter, I have strict when it comes to online shopping safety.

So why am I bringing this up? Well, as a fashion and beauty blogger, I am always promoting products - many of which are online and although all the shops I feature are genuine and trustworthy, there are still ways those pesky little hackers can access your accounts. Plus, many of you will probably do a lot of online shopping and accidents can happen with it comes to clicking on the wrong link. There are many ways to fool online shoppers into being hacked or handing over money and not getting their product, this means we as consumers need to be on our guard now more than ever and take control of what we do.

So here are my helpful tips:

  • Try get yourself a credit card. Credit cards offer you more legal protection than standard debit cards and usually offer free fraud assistance. My dad has always advised me to get a credit card, but I have always shrugged it off. Since being a victim of fraud, I have used my credit card every time I shop online. 
  • Beware of URLs that do not look genuine. If something looks far too good to be true, it usually is. If it involves cheap shipping from China or has a website URL that does not reflect the store, the majority of the times it can come with problems.
  • Search for online reviews. I rarely shop online these days without looking for a review first. There are so many bloggers reviewing products these days that it is generally easy to find a good review of a reputable company. Many scam awareness sites may also highlight non genuine websites.
  • Mix and match your passwords.  Make sure that you do not regularly use the same password, because if someone has hacked your account, there is a chance they may try other methods of getting additional bank details and if your passwords are all the same, they have a higher chance of getting to your personal details. It also helps to incorporate many numbers, letters and even symbols if they are allowed in your password, to make them complex and harder to hack.
  • Check your shopping history. Make sure you regularly check bank statements, Paypal history and other methods of payment so you are up to date with your finances and you can see where you money has been going. 

Recently a website called CyberStreetWise was launched and their main objective is to make people aware of the scams on the internet and to raise awareness of online safety. The website features a street in which you can pop into the shops, take quizzes to see how safe you are when it comes to the internet and give you helpful tips. I really enjoyed going through the virtual stores and seeing if I could spot the safety hazards. 

Have you ever been a victim of fraud?



  1. CyberStreetWise sounds fab. My daughter doesn't see the danger with anything online, which I think is so scary. I'm definitely going to be checking this out myself so I can see how savvy I am (or not)

    Great post :D

    Louise x

    Confessions of a Secret Shopper | An Undomestic Goddess

  2. love this post .. i once order things from sleek and my products never arrived but thankGOD got my money back.. never tried online shopping after that


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