How to stay safe when paying online

The internet is an amazing tool and without it we couldn’t help you break geographical boundaries and find awesome projects to work on. However, the incredible accessibility and connections of the web also make it easier than ever for people to have their details and money stolen. You might even know someone who’s been defrauded and seen first hand how scarily easy it is to lose large sums of money. Here’s some advice on staying safe when paying online.

No matter whether it’s a service or a product, never hand over the money until you’ve received what you’re paying for however nice or persuasive the person may seem. On the flip side, if you’re the one with the product or the service then don’t hand it over until you are sure that the payment is in your account. Check credit card and bank statements carefully after the payment’s been made to make sure that the correct amount has been debited from your account, and also that no fraud has taken place as a result of the transaction. Don’t throw away your receipts – electronic or otherwise. If you don’t have a record of the payment then it can make very difficult to get the money back. If you’ve not moved to online banking, it might be worth considering as it makes it easier than ever to keep track of payments.


When making a payment to an individual use a secure payment site such as PayPal – avoid transferring the money directly into their bank account. Remember that paying by credit card offers greater protection against fraud than other payment methods. If you have no choice but to pay money straight into their account or you’re paying through an unfamiliar payment system then check it has a padlock symbol in the browser window frame on the page where you’re entering your account information. This symbol lets you know that any information you enter is encrypted and so cannot be viewed and therefore stolen. Check carefully that the padlock is not on the page itself because this is more likely an indication that it’s a fraudulent site.

Whenever you’re entering payment details check that the URL of the site begins with ‘https://’. That extra “S” in the URL means your connection is secure, and it’s much harder for anyone else to see what you’re doing. In the future it is likely that the entire web will become https but, until then, be on the look out. If you are really concerned then check the website’s privacy policy. Also, always log out of sites into which you have logged in or registered details. Simply closing your browser window does not mean that the details are private.

Finally, install effective and updated antivirus/antispyware software and firewall running before you go online. There are lots of options these days, they’re not expensive and really simple to install so there’s really no excuse not to give yourself peace of mind and have a secure system, particularly with how much of our lives online these days.

There you go, we hope those tips are useful and help you to stay safe when paying online.


Joe Scarffe

Joe Scarffe

Joe is the CMO at Twine.

When he’s not moaning about the state of the music industry or public transport in Manchester, he works with the Twine community and handles social media, the blog and partnerships with companies and institutions.

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