Personal finance columnist, Jill Kerby, has some advice regarding online shopping and is pushing the ‘Buy Irish’ and ‘Shop Local’ messages whether buying online or in store…
If you are like me and have close family living abroad – in Australia, Canada, Italy the United States – and this year, of all years, you want to send a special Christmas package…then you need to get moving to ensure that you not only get your gifts purchased, but that they also get packed up and shipped in time.
Just before the latest lockdown, I was lucky enough to get into my favourite bookshops, chocolate shops and Irish gift shops, but I still had to order a few things online.
A few bad experiences in the past with overseas websites (especially Chinese ones, I’m afraid) have steered me back almost exclusively to Irish online retailers and that ‘Buy Irish’ message seems to have gotten through to most of us as surveys show that a healthy majority of us – up to 70% according to a TaxBack.com consumer sentiment survey – will support Irish retailers this Christmas. Others report they would be happy to include their own neighbourhood or town’s high street shops especially if they have a good website and reasonable delivery or postal charges. (Most of the ones I deal with offer free delivery with purchases of at least €30-€50.)
Not only is shopping local proving to be the patriotic thing to do this Christmas – two thirds of us now shop online once a month – but it can be safer than ever if you adhere to a few basic online shopping rules about verifying the legitimacy of the retailer and being very careful about giving up your password and pins.
Unfortunately not everyone knows how to shop safely online. According to Ulster Bank recently published Annual Fraud Survey, just under half (46%) of people across all age groups change their passwords at least once a year.
One in 3 (30%) of those surveyed said that they had never changed their password.