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Fawbert & Barnard's Primary School

Learning for Life

Shopping & commerce

What is commerce?

Online shopping brings the High Street to your fingertips, wherever you are. The internet offers great choice and shopping online can be really convenient - there are no closing times, or queues, and you can compare deals from dozens of online stores to get the best deals. There are also other forms of shopping that are unique to the internet. For example, you can pay for virtual goods and services such as virtual currency to spend in games on social networking sites. But while online shopping can bring many benefits, there are also some risks. Below are a few things you need to look out for when shopping online - and a few steps you can take to ensure you’re not left out of pocket.

Things to think about

  • Remember – if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is
  • It’s also a good idea to look for unbiased reviews of online retailers. Cross-check information on the internet and see if anyone else has had problems
  • Beware of online scams, which can be very convincing; check that online stores have a physical address and telephone contact details

Things to do

  • Buy from reputable retailers online – brands and services you know well in person, or which you have researched thoroughly
  • When paying for goods and services online, make sure the website address in the browser window begins with https:// – the ‘s’ stands for ‘secure’ and ensures that any personal and financial data cannot be intercepted during transactions
  • Look for the padlock symbol on payment pages. Don’t be fooled by a padlock that appears on the web page itself. It’s easy to copy the image of a padlock. You need to look for one that is in the window frame of the browser itself
  • Always use a strong and unique password for all of your online accounts – a combination of letters, numbers and symbols (and if you’ve ever shared your password in the past, change it)
  • Never follow links to shopping or banking sites – always type the address straight into the address bar
  • Tell the truth about your age and do not lie about it to obtain goods or services which are age restricted – if you do you will be breaking the law
  • Remember to always log out of a service properly after use, especially on a shared computer

Additional advice for parents/carers

  • Ensure that you and your children check for the padlock symbol in the window frame of the browser: only 25% of 12-15s do this when visiting new sites according to Ofcom
  • Talk to your children about safe online shopping and supervise purchases with younger children – explain that criminals can set up online shops that are only there to steal money, so check out the website carefully, be careful when disclosing any personal/financial/payment information and ensure that the site is using a secure payment method
  • Check bank and card transactions regularly for unrecognised transactions
  • Install reputable internet security software on your computers and mobile devices; keep this and operating systems up to date – security software provided by your internet service provider or third party can tell you whether a site is secure or not


  • You can report fraud or online scams or viruses to Action Fraud –the UK’s national fraud reporting centre
  • Get Safe Online provides advice on how people can use the internet confidently, safely and securely