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Experts warn about dangers of online shopping after Christmas rush

09 December 2010 - 11:28 by Graham Miller

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National headlines have been dedicated to the online shopping craze that has taken the UK by storm in the run up to Christmas 2010, but many security experts are keen to reiterate advice about how to practice safe shopping online and avoid getting stung.

The impact of the poor weather conditions has helped to increase the number of people shopping online, while high street firms have seen a nine per cent dip in sales over the same period.

Various firms including payment card provider Visa and online money transfer service PayPal, have spoken out about the benefits of safe shopping online and the dangers that consumers can face if they fail to take heed of expert advice.

The most basic way to reduce the chances of becoming a victim of fraud or having your PC infected by malware is to make sure you are using a current generation web browser. This would include Internet Explorer 8 from Microsoft or either Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox with the latest updates applied.

The second rule of online shopping is to never get duped by a deal that looks too good to be true. Criminals entice consumers with improbably cheap prices and if the difference between the RRP and online price is a little too large then use caution.

If you do suffer from fraud as a result of shopping with an unscrupulous retailer online, then you do not have to panic as in most cases your payment card provider will have provisions to keep you protected, although it is important to check before you start to spread your cash around, to avoid disappointment.

Finally if you do shop online away from home at a PC which is shared by other people, such as at work or in an internet cafe, then always sign out properly and keep your login details away from prying eyes.