Top Tips for Safe Online Shopping – What You Need to Know
By Johan Curtis 6 minutes
Nowadays, more people use the internet for their day-to-day shopping. Some shopping websites like Amazon and AliExpress changed the eCommerce world, and people will continue to use them as is predicted that by 2040, 95% of all transactions will be done online. This raises another concern that comes with online shopping, and that is protecting private information. There are many scams and fake websites online, and sometimes it is confusing choosing the right source for shopping.
You have to increase your online protection, especially when you deal with transactions and sensitive card information where it can be easily abused by hackers. In this article, we will go through some of the simple ways to increase your precautions while shopping online.
Research Seller and Website
As we mentioned, there are a lot of fake sources who claim that they sell some brands just to catch your attention and steal all your private information. That is why you have to research the seller and website before any transaction is done. There are many different individual sellers online and most of them are legit, but spotting the fraudulent ones will take a bit of research. You should try to always try to use websites from authorized distributors.
The best place to start is Google, as you’ll search the brand for any negative comments. There are also websites where you can browse reviews on independent stores such as TrustPilot.
The website is considered to be secure if it has the Padlock symbol that flashes green next to the website address and starts with https://. This means that all of the information that is typed on the website is encrypted and nobody can access it, not even the website owner.
See Sellers Returns and counterfeiting
Sometimes even though they seem to be legit, their product might be described in a wrong way and you’ll end up receiving different quality or products as shown. Their return policy is very important and you have to know it before placing an order. Sometimes your order will not arrive or arrive broken and you need to stay protected. Also, you can get information about online shopping and how long will the delivery take. If some website does not have privacy, return, and delivery policy, they are probably a scam.
Be Aware of Pharming Scams
This is a scam where hackers target a legit website and they make an exact copy of the website you are trying to visit in order to steal all your information. Usually, there is something wrong with the website that can be easy to spot, such as strange-looking web addresses, spelling mistakes or odd things such as color or design changes.
You should always choose strong passwords and try to use different ones on different websites. Try combining different symbols and lower and upper case letters. You must take your security seriously especially when you access websites where you make transactions such as online stores or betting websites. Look for trustworthy gamblings websites, with SSL certificates, like the football sports betting website BetAmerica. Also, you must have some layer of anti-virus protection and make sure it is up to date. It is a very powerful tool for online protection.
Sometimes the problem comes with the network selection. Try to avoid public Wi-Fi networks such as shopping centers, coffee shops just because public Wi-Fi is not secure which can lead to information leaking while connected to these networks.
If you must shop from public Wi-Fi, it is best if you use a VPN or Virtual Private Network. By doing this you establish an encrypted connection between your device and the VPN server. It is basically like a tunnel that information is transferred where hackers cannot interfere with it even if they have the password for the network you are using.
In addition to Wi-Fi security, don’t forget to keep a check at your Wi-Fi router number. It will help you to change or update your configuration settings easily when required.
Add Limit on Credit Card
If you use your card for only small transactions, for example, less than $100, you can go to the bank where they will set you up a limit for online transactions or withdraws. This way you will stay safe and not risk the chance of losing more money.
Look Out for email scams
This is probably the most used method by hackers, where they offer you some sort of product for “special price” just so they can increase your temptation for opening the file. However, if you click on the link from an unknown sender it could infect your device with viruses and malware. You must open emails that are trustworthy and from known senders, if you come across something like this it is best if you delete them without clicking anything.
Limit the Information You Give Out
Many shops have different information requests for registering on their websites. However, you should limit the information you give about yourself and stick just to the basic ones. No shopping website would need your social security number or any other sensitive information, which is why you have to avoid websites that request such information.
Credit Card Payment
You will probably get the best protection by shopping with your credit card and there is a good reason for that. You have added a level of protection on unauthorized changes on your credit card, where your company will cease all transactions until things are cleared up. Unauthorized changes on debit cards are capped at $50 if you report within two business days. You can also limit the amount of money you are willing to spend per transaction.
Try Virtual Credit Card
Some banks offer great tools such as virtual credit cards where your card will use a randomly generated number and link to your account. This way you stay protected with every transaction.
These are some of the tips you can use in order to stay safe online. Since we all move on in the digital world, almost every transaction will be done online in the future. However, we expect to have more advanced security in the future such as fingerprint scanner or face recognition software. We have to do our best to prevent such actions that can lead to frustration or bigger problems.