It doesn’t matter whether you are looking for pet insurance, or buying for any other product online, you should always try to follow basic internet safety precautions, and know what to look out for.
We have gathered some tips together for shopping safely online.
Using credit card information or your bank details?
If you are using your credit card, or submitting any particularly sensitive information about yourself like your date of birth or bank details, always look out for HTTPS.
This means you are connected using a secured HTTPS connection. This offers a basic level of encryption between the website you are using and your internet browser, making it harder for your data to be intercepted.
This will usually be indicated in the browser’s URL bar towards the top of the screen. An example is show below, of what you would see in the Google Chrome browser whilst connected to a secure website.
For less sensitive information such as your name and telephone number, it is not always absolutely essential for a website to use HTTPS. But it certainly is something to look out for.
Do not click on links in emails unless you absolutely trust the sender. Even if you do you should always show extreme caution. Cyber criminals are getting increasing sophisticated, shrewd and clever. Just because you receive an email from a friend, co-worker or loved one – it doesn’t mean that they themselves sent it. Their computer, social networking profile or email account may have been hacked.
If you receive an email claiming to be from your bank or other financial service, always be extra careful.
Your bank will never send you an email asking you to “Verify your account” by filling in your account number or other details.
Even if the link takes you to a site that looks like your banks website still be careful. You have ended up on a “phishing site” – that looks like your bank but actually isn’t.
More information on staying safe online
For more information staying safe online, the following resources may be useful:
- http://www.safecard.ie/cardholders/phishing/ – Information from the Irish Payment Services Organisation (IPSO) to help raise awareness about credit card card fraud and phishing.
- http://www.webwise.ie/ – Special web-portal for kids about online safety
- http://www.ispcc.ie/Under-18/Staying-Safe-Online.aspx – Information for kids in Ireland on staying safe online