Online shopping is convenient and lots of fun but it is not without its share of pitfalls. For example, there are plenty of challenges to security on the Web. We all have to be mindful of them and always be on our toes so that we don’t become victims. Here are a few tips for safe shopping:
1. Don’t Stray from Trusted Sites and Brands
There are lots of e-commerce sites popping up to try to ride the wave. While many of these are legitimate businesses, there are also scammers who are just out there to look for preys. Others may be authentic but they lack advanced security features that could protect data from hackers. It is best to stick to the trust platforms and brands. Check the records to see if they have histories of getting hacked. If you really have to deal with a certain site, then read reviews. For example, Salehoo reviews will identify it as a reputable store.
2. Avoid Shopping Over Public Wi-Fi
Finding a public Wi-Fi network is often a cause of celebration if we really need to check on something or send an urgent message. It may be fine to use this type of network for non-essential and non-sensitive data exchanges. However, online shopping is a different beast as it requires you to share your credit card information, along with some personal details like your address and email. These could be used by malicious individuals for identity theft. If you are on-the-go, then consider using your mobile network instead which should provide a greater amount of security.
3. Shop Best with HTTPS
Web addresses start off with HTTP which stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. There is an added “S” at the sometimes which signifies that the communications protocol uses an additional layer of security. Everything is encrypted such that the data, even if intercepted midway between the parties, will not be intelligible. Thus, all of the sensitive information remains safe from prying eyes. Aside from seeing HTTPS on the top of the browser, you will also see a padlock icon next to it to signify security.
4. Use Credit Instead of Debit Cards
If you are going to use a card as the means to pay for your order, then consider using a credit card instead of a debit card. The truth is that each has their own pros and cons. Debit cards prevent you from overspending as you can only take out what you already have. Credit cards are tricky because you are essentially borrowing everything that you are spending, but the good thing about them is that they have an artificial limit above which the card can no longer be used. In case it is hijacked, the hackers will not be able to bleed you dry.
5. Monitor Statements Regularly
Just to be sure, you should monitor your financial statement regularly to check for any odd entries. If you see any transactions that you don’t remember, then call your bank immediately and ask them to cancel it for you. Report it as fraudulent and have your card replaced. Do whatever is necessary to prevent it from happening again. If online payment was compromised, then you will probably want to change your password. Use one that is longer and has special characters to make it harder to crack.
6. Be Wary of Sites Asking for Too Much Info
This should be a big flashing red flag. Sites don’t really need to get all of your personal details to enable a transaction. If a store is asking a lot of odd questions, then you should begin to question them in turn. Things like your birthday and social security number aren’t really important or necessary for purchases. Leave these and go shop at more reputable sites instead where you can be certain that your data will be protected.
7. Install a Security Suite
You should also install a security suite to protect your computer from viruses and malware. Make sure that your own computer system is not collecting your data and sending it to hackers through the back door. Keep your anti-virus definitions up-to-date and run a scan regularly. Be careful when downloading and installing applications on your device.