When you first get the ability to start spending online it’s great! You have all the freedom in the world. But if you’re unlucky you run into a scam which sees your money vanish as quickly as you got it leaving you with nothing. Learning how to avoid this happening to you when you’re young is extremely important so we’re going to give you some top tips for safe spending online.
Only use trusted websites
As a rule of thumb you should only use websites you already know are trusted retailers. You should also double check if the website url is correct as scam artists can sometimes use very similar website names and layouts to try and con would be shoppers. If the site isn’t one you recognise look into them or ask your parents if they’re safe to use.
Check if the site is secure
There are two main ways to check if a site is secure:
- Padlock symbol – There should be a padlock in the address bar next to the website address.
- Website address – This should start with https://. The S stands for secure
These give users an indication that the site is safe to shop but not that the prices/products are what they should be.
Don’t shop on public wi-fi
If you limit your online spending to when you are on a private and secure wi-fi network or device such as at your home, it will be much less likely to have your passwords stolen.
Keep your card information private
This should be obvious but don’t share your card information including your pin unless it’s for a secure payment to a trusted retailer.
Be aware of email scams
If you receive an email from a retailer requesting card information double check with your parent that it isn’t a scam. Retailers are unlikely to ask for card information via an email. If there are any links in emails you don't recognise or you're not sure of hover over them to see the website address without clicking the link. The same goes for phone calls you receive.
In case you didn't already know our PINs will always come securely through the website or app not via the post. If your PIN ever needs to be changed you would need to do this via a cash machine, we would not contact you asking for it.
Know what you’ve spent
Charges can take up to two weeks to leave accounts so knowing what you’ve spent and when can help you avoid overspending. You’ll make your pocket money go that much further this way.
If a deal is too good to be true it probably is
Double check deals which sound too good to be true especially if you don’t recognise the website offering the deal.
There are lots of places to improve your online spending knowledge and stay safe online but one we definitely recommend is Barclays Life Skills which is made for young people.
We would also recommend following Action Fraud where you can keep track of any scams you should be wary of and report any you come across. Action Fraud is also a good place to ask for more advice on how best to stay safe online if you have any questions, or feel free to contact us.