There are so many reasons why shopping online is dubbed as the new ethos for modern shoppers. Well, shopping has indeed become faster, more convenient, and even more secure online. There are also many options to choose from which makes it, even more, an enticing social activity. Discounts and sale items abound and it can be really addictive at some point! Well, shopping has always been a stress-reliever which provides you all the more reasons to splurge!
On an alarming note, even the creeps online or cybercriminals see online shopping as an opportunity to attack. Yes, credit card fraud, malware, and ransomware have seized even the most stable e-commerce companies online. However, keeping yourself protected by taking precautions when shopping online is the best way to avoid falling prey to cybercrimes.
Use One Computer Mainly For Online Shopping and Banking
Using just one computer or machine solely for your online financial transactions or such as when online banking or shopping is one of the first layers of security to implement for safe online shopping. This would allow you to use a clean machine that has not been used for other internet activities like emails, social media use, or other browsing activities. This will ensure a laptop or computer that is free from any computer malware infections or viruses.
Create a Dedicated Email Address for Online Shopping Use
Just like a dedicated machine, with one email address used specifically for the purpose of online shopping will help you keep your email from spam messages or other malicious notifications that can infect your machine. It also keeps you organized with tasks – as you have one email mainly for online shopping and others for personal or business use. This will also help strengthen your security when shopping online.
Shop Only From Trusted and Familiar Websites
Familiarity with online shopping websites does build trust and confidence in your shopping adventures online. Look into the spelling of the sites and make sure that you are buying or signing up on the right domain. This is an old shady trick of trying to lure shoppers to give up their financial information but may still work if you are not careful when you shop online.
Always make sure that the website is secure and have SSL or Security Sockets Layer encryption. The website should start with HTTPS and not HTTP. Also, look out for the padlock icon which could appear on the left side of the URL found in the address bar or the status bar depending on the type of browser you use.
Use a Strong Password
This has always been one of the tested ways to protect your data and financial transactions online. It is recommended to always change your password at least on a monthly basis however some would in reality just change passwords a few times in a year or never really bother doing so. This old rule really works especially when shopping online because you will be creating new accounts on these shopping sites.
Using a password manager would help you figure out uncrackable passwords to use and also keep track of everything so you won’t have to remember it. If you aren’t using a password manager, then it’s time to consider doing so.
Check Seller Or Shop Reputation
You can always check online shops or e-commerce sites using the Better Business Bureau which has an online directory of registered businesses. It always pays to the very legitimacy of online shops before you entrust your credit card number or other financial information. You can also check out Google and Yelp for seller and retailer reviews.
When checking out reviews, you should know that some reviews can be staged or are in fact paid to appear positive. In this case, you have to probe further. Trust your gut feel on this. Make sure that you have a phone number and a business address so you can always follow up with your orders or file a complaint if some things go wrong.
Check Your Statements Religiously
Always check on your statements weekly or regularly to catch any fraudulent charges made on your PayPal, debit card, credit card, and checking accounts. It’s also wise to use your credit card for shopping online because if you use your debit card and it gets compromised then the scammers can directly access the funds available in your bank account.
Remember that you would only have up to 30 days to notify your card issuer or bank of any issues in the statements so you have to act quickly to correct or override fraudulent charges.
Make Sure to Connect to a Secure Wi-Fi
Never use public Wi-Fi for your online shopping or internet banking transactions because this isn’t a secure route. It would always be the safest way to use your private or home Wi-Fi when shopping.
Use a Secure Payment Option
Using a virtual wallet or PayPal and credit card is still the safest way to shop online because it provides you that security and flexibility especially if you want to request a chargeback on fraudulent transactions made.
You can also use a single-use or virtual credit card that provides you a unique number so that your real credit card number will not be compromised. Check with your bank if they have this option available for you.
Shopping online on 24/7 is really very enticing for any customer. However, with these great perks come rough challenges too. The accessibility and availability factor that makes e-commerce stores stand out can work against the system too especially if cybercriminals can threaten and access its secure servers.
Putting your credit or financial information out there is dangerous to your bank funds. Data theft should be taken seriously. Protecting yourself from these fraudsters is possible if you take heed of the above tips that can be your best armory for a safe shopping rendezvous online.