EVERYONE loves a bargain – it does not matter if it’s a new leather jacket or a Tetley teapot we all like to get value for money.

But is it safe to shop online?

That is what I have been left wondering this week after someone hijacked my eBay account, opened an online store and sold a barbecue in my name.

I tried to access my account yesterday morning but the website said the email was incorrect.

Initially I thought I had just forgotten my details but then I began to find it odd because the email is one I have used for about a decade.

So failing with the email address I tried my username.

Then I went cold – I could see the reset options but they did not make any sense.

The email and two phone numbers had been altered making it impossible for me to access my own account.

I called eBay and was informed that luckily they had not bought anything in my name but had set up an eBay store and sold a barbecue for £20.

After regaining my account I could see messages from the duped purchaser and the seller (pretending to be me) was not intending to send the item.

I cannot fault eBay – they quickly dealt with the issue, closing the store and reimbursing the person who purchased the barbecue but I can’t help but feel concerned at how easy someone could do this – or how long had they been lurking in the background looking for an opportunity.

Of course I have changed all my passwords and added security to my account but can I really feel confident that this will not happen again?

You always think it will be someone elderly or vulnerable who is conned but you never know one day it could be you.

So what can you do if someone compromises your account?

Act straight away – I believe I was lucky to notice so quickly.

So change your password if you can – obviously that was not possible for me.

Change your secret question and answer, check on My eBay for any active bids or listings that you didn’t make.

Finally, report any fraudulent activity to eBay as soon as you can and they will assist you.

For more information on protecting your account, visit pages.ebay.co.uk/help/account/securing-account.html.