1. When entering your card details, make sure you the website address is prefixed with https. For example: https://www.silkstream.net/. This means the web page is using a secure connection, which will encrypt any data on the web page.
  2. In addition to the above, always ensure you can see a locked padlock icon or unbroken key symbol next to the address bar or at the bottom of the page.  Double-clicking on the padlock symbol will display further security information for the site.
  3. If the merchant’s site prompts you to enter your “3D Secure” password (you must register with your card issuer for this facility) you can be assured that an additional layer of protection is in place to prevent funds being spent in your name.
  4. Look for the website’s Privacy Policy. This should provide details on what information the merchant will collect and how they intend using it.
  5. Always keep hold of any order confirmation emails that you receive from the merchant’s website and check the goods match your card statements. 
  6. Make sure the merchant’s website mentions PCI compliance. If you can’t find the information, don’t be afraid to contact the merchant and ask.
  7. It is a legal requirement, under the Distance Selling Regulations, that a merchant must display their company contact details, including a physical address.
  8. Try Googling the merchant’s name with the word “reviews”, to see what other customers have said about them. If people have had a bad experience you may save yourself from the same bad experience by checking first.
  9. Try using a credit card rather than debit card – this will offer you more consumer protection
  10. And last but not least, if you haven’t received your goods and are unable to contact the company in question, contact your bank and explain the situation, you should ask for a charge-back.
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