Tips for safe Christmas shopping online

Monday, 12 October 2009
E-retail expert IMRG has issued top ten tips for safe Christmas shopping online. Rocketing fuel prices, online bargains, vast choice, and the chance to beat the crowds – all these factors point to another successful Christmas for online shopping. But e-retail industry group IMRG is urging consumers to stay safe when buying on the web during the forthcoming festive season.

If it’s anything like last year, Christmas online will be big. UK consumers spent an impressive £4.6 billion online on presents, food and other goodies last Christmas while research showed that 37% of us bought at least half our festive shopping online. Meanwhile, goods bought online now account for 15% of our total consumer spending in the UK.

There’s no doubt that shoppers have embraced all the benefits online has to offer; including choice, convenience, and time saved. IMRG’s Director of Operations David Smith said: “Consumers love shopping online for Christmas. We want to make sure they protect themselves, keep their personal details secure and be certain about the retailer.”

IMRG recommends consumers first check the credentials of the online merchant they plan to buy from. That’s why the group has set up the Internet Shopping is Safe (ISIS) programme, to help consumers shop online with confidence.

Retailers who sign up to the scheme commit to trading responsibly and have their website and services regularly checked by IMRG. ISIS-accredited retailers now account for around two-thirds of all UK online shopping. A list of approved retailers is available via www.isisaccreditation.imrg.org and is also carried on Kelkoo.co.uk, the shopping site.

In addition, here are IMRG’s top ten tips for safe online shopping this Christmas:

1. Secure your computer – install a firewall and update antivirus software 2. Password protect your wi-fi network and your machine 3. Consider using a high security web browser that checks for validated URLs and turns the address bar green
4. Keep all passwords and PINs secret and NEVER divulge them, even if you are contacted by someone purporting to be from your bank or card company
5. Know the merchant – check for ISIS accreditation or at least a postal address and landline number
6. Ensure the site is genuine – watch out for misspelt URLs returned from search engines. If in doubt, start on the retailer’s home page and navigate from there
7. Using credit cards offers extra protection
8. Ensure the payment connection is secure – look for the https in the address bar (the ‘s’ stands for secure) and the padlock symbol
9. Log off from the site when you have finished shopping
10. Print out records of what you have ordered, and always check your bank and credit card statements.

IMRG (Interactive Media In Retail Group) is the industry body for global e-retail. Formed in 1990, IMRG is setting and maintaining pragmatic and robust e-Retail Standards to enable fast-track industry growth, and facilitates its community of members with practical help, information, tools, guidance and networking. The strength of IMRG is the collective and co-operative power of its members.

Image: Online Santa Claus

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