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How to stay safe when shopping online
Stanbic IBTC team
Not applicable

*We offer some handy tips on safety while shopping online.*

Shopping online has many benefits that you don’t find in the market or in the next-door store. Online stores are open 24/7, so you can research your purchases thoroughly, and you can compare prices from store to store without leaving your comfort zone.

There are no queues, there is lots of choice, and often great low prices. Some stores even offer special deals on shipping and kind return policies to make everything even easier for you.

But you can also lose money.

If your personal data gets phished or otherwise compromised, a fraudster can exploit it to access your account. Before you take advantage of shopping online, read through our tips for protecting yourself:

Don’t leave your credit card number stored on your computer where someone
else can access it

1. Know who you are dealing with. As long as you are dealing with a reputable company, online transactions can be safe. But criminals do prey on the ignorant, so familiarize yourself with the techniques they use and be smart when shopping online. Reputable online merchants will post plenty of information about themselves and details such as:

a. Where they are located, their phone and emails;
b. Membership in organizations designed to guarantee standards, such as NAFDAC (National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control), CPC (Consumer Protection Council)and SON (Standards Organisation of Nigeria);
c. Certificates or seals of quality.

2. Be sceptical:
If a deal sounds too good to be true—it probably is. It may be an attempt to trick you into revealing personal information. You should also consider carefully whether you may be paying too much for an item, you may want to compare shops, online or offline, before you buy.

3. Check them out, when in doubt.
If you are shopping with a merchant you have never heard of, or on a little-known website, look around before you make a purchase. You should also ask around and find out what other people are saying about them. If you’re uneasy about what you’re hearing (or not hearing), shop somewhere else. Get objective evaluations of their products and services like magazine reviews, testimonials etc.

4. Closed padlock or unbroken key (or “https://”):
Look out for a small image of a closed padlock or an unbroken key which normally should appear in the bottom or top window frame of your browser, letting you know your personal information will be encrypted. If you don’t see either of these icons or if you see an open padlock or a broken key, it means your online shopping session is not being encrypted, and you may be taking a big risk. Another way to check if a website is secure is to look at the address, if it starts with "https://” it is probably safe.

5. Protect your computer:
Fraudsters don't just sit around waiting for you to give them information; sometimes they give you a little something extra to help things along. You need to protect against malware and viruses with regular updates for your antivirus and your browser. When your browser tells you a website is suspicious, be very wary.

6. Keep a paper trail. Print and save records of your online transactions, including the product description and price, the online receipt, and copies of any email you exchange with the seller. If the site has only an email address and no phone number, start an email or instant message dialogue with the people running the site before you buy anything from them.

Our security centre has some more helpful information on staying safe. Please tweet at us @StanbicIBTC, if you need to know anything else.