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Follow this ten point Internet shopping checklist:

  1. Make sure your browser is set to the highest comfortable level of security notification and monitoring - the safety options are not always activated by default when you install your computer.

  2. Keep a record of the retailer's contact details including a street address and a non-mobile telephone number. Beware if these details are not available on the website, and do not rely on email addresses alone. If you're not familiar with an online supplier it is highly recommended to contact them first and ask for some company background before you make a purchase. Check if there is some form of accreditation, which can be verified e.g. Which? For more information contact the Internet Fraud Watch (www.fraud.org).

  3. Be aware of private sellers as your legal rights may not be the same as they would be if you were dealing with a registered business.

  4. Read the delivery and returns policy before completing an on-line transaction. Check you can return any unsatisfactory items and whether you will get a refund or a merchant credit. Goods' delivery and returns policies should clearly state the cost and method of delivery, currency accepted, taxes applied, return and refund policy and a contact telephone number or e-mail address.

  5. Click on the security icon to see if the retailer has an encryption certificate, which should explain the type and extent of security and encryption it uses. Only use companies that have an encryption certificate and use secure transaction technology. If you have any queries or concerns telephone the company before giving your card details to reassure yourself that you are dealing with a legitimate business.

  6. Ensure you are fully aware of any payment commitments you are entering into, including whether you are instructing a single payment or a series of recurring payments. And be aware that additional taxes may be payable if you're buying from a company based overseas.

  7. Print out a copy of your completed order plus the order confirmation email. Most suppliers send a verification e-mail to confirm that your transaction has been processed and supply a reference number for your records. Consider keeping copies of the retailer's terms and conditions and returns policy.

  8. Check statements from your bank or card issuer carefully as soon as you receive them. Raise any discrepancies with the retailer concerned in the first instance.

  9. Inspect your goods carefully when you take delivery.

  10. Never disclose your PIN (Personal Identification Number) to anyone, including people from your bank or the police, and NEVER write it down or send it over the Internet. ( No one in Fission IT will ever ask you for passwords or PIN numbers)