Top Tips to Protect your Money When Spending Online

Money| Online Security

The online world is hectic, with big businesses and small startups all competing for our money. All this activity has led to an increase in cybercrime, which costs worldwide economies billions every year. As consumers, we need to know how criminals could steal our information and use it against us.

According to the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index, goods and online services such as online casino games reached £116bn last year. As spending online continues to grow, there are steps you can take to make sure you’re safe when buying products or services on the internet.

This guide will help you understand the dangers that lurk online, so you can stay safe while spending your hard-earned cash!

Make sure it’s legitimate

When you’re shopping on your computer, tablet, or phone, you must double-check that the site is legitimate. Look out for things like security logos or certificates displayed on their website so that you know a recognized organization has checked them.

Use PayPal

If there is an option to pay through PayPal, then use it to pay for your goods. PayPal will guarantee that you won’t lose out if there is a problem with the items you’ve received.

Paypal policy offers protection to customers where goods are not received or are significantly different from how they were described. If you do pay using PayPal, remember that PayPal’s buyer protection doesn’t cover the seller.

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Check the seller’s returns policy

Check their website for best-practice customer service and support options – including how long they will respond and whether they offer refunds and exchanges. You should also contact them directly using their official contact details or by the phone number given on their site. If you’re unimpressed with either of these things, go elsewhere.

Use a secure internet connection

Using a secure internet connection (SSL) means that thieves can’t intercept information such as your card details while you’re online. Most banks and financial institutions will have their SSL technology, so checking your bank’s website is essential.

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Keep on top of your bills

Make sure that you keep up-to-date with all the different accounts you have, including any insurance policies or subscriptions you may have signed up for.

Keeping an eye out is particularly relevant when providers send out renewal letters offering the chance to renew at a lower price than usual. These are known as ‘ avoiding price hikes’ and can be annoying if you don’t know what’s happening until your account automatically reverts to more expensive rates.

Find out how much it will cost you

Check before you start shopping to get an idea of how much it will cost you so that you’re aware of whether the items are worth your money.

Keep track of what you spend

The best method to do this is to create an account with a program like YNAB (You Need A Budget), which allows you to keep track of your finances online. YNAB allows you to put money away for certain items and then pay yourself back when you purchase them, ensuring that your expenses are paid on time each month.

Take advantage of free trials

If offered one, always take advantage of free trials before buying anything. There are plenty out there, even if they only last for a week or two. If you don’t need something right away, this can be a great way to ensure that you’re not spending money on something you won’t use.

Don’t click on anything suspicious

Stay away from any links or pop-ups that look suspicious, as these could have viruses attached that may result in your bank details being stolen or your computer being affected.

Shop safe online with big brands

Make sure you’re shopping safely online by using a site with an established brand name and reputation behind it – for example, Amazon.

Well-known websites like Amazon or Walmart have been researched and tested to be secure and user-friendly for their customers.

According to Good Housekeeping, 10% of all purchases made online never arrive. In life, nothing is free. If an offer/deal appears to be too good to be true, it most likely is.

Cybercrime is increasing

Cybercrime is increasing thanks to the internet. One example is money fraud – which has increased by 80% since 2012 according to Action Fraud. The length of time that fraudsters spend on computers has grown from an average of eight minutes in 2015-2016 to 20 minutes in 2018-2019. Meaning they can access more people’s details before being caught.

Other examples include ransomware – where attackers hold computer files hostage until people pay a ransom. And phishing – where scammers send fake emails or messages pretending to be someone else (like your bank!) to access your details. Phishing is extremely dangerous.

Hacking is also a problem. In 2018, a cyberattack affected over 1 million people in 150 countries. The hackers used malware called WannaCry to break into computers and encrypt files until people under attack paid money. Just one example of a successful attack.

Anonymity online can spell danger

Online anonymity can lead to criminals staying hidden from the law, meaning that investigators cannot catch them for their crimes. If you are not sure who you’re buying from and won’t use a safe money transfer system, do not buy from them or send any money as they are likely criminals.


So what can you do? Make sure you always use the internet with caution! Don’t be fooled by unnatural links and give out any personal information – e.g., passwords – without knowing where it is going first.

If something doesn’t seem right, don’t click on it, as there are plenty of safer alternatives that won’t harm your bank account or computer. Also, remember that some companies may offer free trials but put extra fees on at a later date…so keep track of what you spend at all times.

Another way to make sure that your money stays safe online is to stick to big brand names for shopping on the internet.

These companies have enough money to invest in security. They may have a reputation to protect, so they will take significant steps to ensure that you’re able to shop without being hacked or scammed in any way. So enjoy your shopping, knowing that there are no real risks involved!