How do you shop for the things you need? Do you go to the nearest store and find everything there? Do you go shop by shop to search for the exact thing you are looking for? Or, are you smart enough to do it all at home? Online shopping is that revolutionizing phenomenon which disrupts the whole industry. When you can get everything you could ever want at the click of the button, the whole world becomes your very own department store.
However, online shopping isn’t always as easy as it sounds. With so many people now choosing to shop online, especially around the holidays, the market has increased beyond anyone’s wildest expectations. More sales occur online than ever before, which means, people with bad intentions have a bigger opportunity to take advantage of all the personal data going around. But, that does not mean that you give up on online shopping. No, that just means you have to be more careful while enjoying the perks of shopping from home. Just as you would be careful while walking around a mall with a wallet full of cash. Here, we have 15 of the best tips we could gather to keep you safe while you shop online:
- Make sure the website you are using is secure and that it possesses a valid encryption certificate. How can you check that? By looking for a lock icon before the website’s address in the address bar. If the website is secure to use, the lock icon will be green and locked, which is often guaranteed by a known organization such as Symantec Corporation. If a website lacks this green, locked icon, then the security level of the website is not high and should be avoided.
- The best way to avoid unsecure websites is to use website you are familiar with and other people have vouched for. Or, you can use websites for reputable stores to decrease the likelihood of running into security issues.
- You need to make sure that not only the website you’re using is secure, but that your system is secure too. For that, you should ensure the most recent security and system update and patches are installed on the device you are using.
- Another way to ensure your computer or device is secure by installing a reputable and efficient anti-virus software, such as AVG, Norton, Avast, or others. You can either choose the free versions for basic protection or you can buy the complete program for full protection.
- Then, you can also install an ad-block plugin in your browser to add an extra level of security to your shopping experience. These plug-ins help keep the risks of viruses and spyware to a minimum, by blocking all dangerous ads usually present on online shopping websites.
- If an ad or link bypasses the ad-block plugin, make it a habit to never click on any unfamiliar links. Whether these links are on a website you’re using to shop online, or in an email you received, do not click them unless they are from a source you trust.
- If you plan to shop online regularly, it is preferable if you don’t use a credit card that is linked directly to your personal bank account(s), including BitCoin and PayPal.
- Make sure you always monitor your credit through a third party source before and after transactions. Check the credit periodically if you shop online a lot.
- Set up SMS and Email alerts for your credit card through the credit card company, so you can be notified of all your card’s activities. You can set up the terms and details of the notifications by discussing it with your company.
- When checking out, do no answer any privacy or security questions. The only details you should be providing while checking out are your Name, Address, and Phone Number.
- Only use trusted networks on your computer or device when shopping online. If you are using a WiFi connection, make sure it is secure. You can check that by ensuring the connection requires a password to use it. If it doesn’t, then it means that your traffic can easily be monitored and stolen by outsiders.
- Use strong passwords that are difficult to guess. You should choose passwords that others can’t guess, but that you can remember so you don’t need to write them down anywhere.
- If offered, always use two-factor verification and authentication.
- Be careful of scam offers around the holidays, for example, coupons for getting a free product on a purchase of another product. Some of these deals may be authentic, but if a deal is giving away a free iPhone, then it’s definitely too good to be true.
- If a store has a mobile app, such as Amazon, use the app to do your shopping instead of using the website since apps are harder to hack and misuse.