Safe online shopping

You will have to disclose some information if shopping online or, for example, setting up a PayPal account, so always check that the site on which you have to disclose any personal information is secure: a secure web site will display a padlock icon (where this appears is dependent on browser). This means that the information can't be intercepted in transit, but says nothing about how trustworthy the people at the other end are. You should also read all privacy statements to see who the website is going to let have access to your information.

Think about why a website requires certain information from you. For example, why should an online retail company require your date of birth if you are buying a DVD that has a Universal classification rating? If there is no good reason for asking for certain personal information, then do not give it. You can always find the same DVD on another website that doesn't ask for spurious personal information.

As regards your credit card numbers and bank account details, you should only input these details on secure websites operated by a trustworthy organisation. Be especially aware of phishing scams, which include fake websites and emails which look like the real thing and are designed to trick you into disclosing your personal details. Never include your credit card number in an email as emails are easy to intercept.

The following external links give a variety of excellent advice for ensuring that your online shopping experience remains good and that you don't end up wasting your money or giving away your personal details to a fraudster: