Online shopping is on the skyrocket, and there’s every reason why more and more people are shopping online today. For instance, there are many great bargains, a mind-boggling selection, secure shopping, fast shipping, easy returns, and more convenience than ever. Indeed, online shopping is seen as one of the internet’s greatest benefits. But still, there are challenges. Phishing attacks and other hacking exploits that lead to theft of credit cards info and personal credentials are on the rise. There’s also an alarming increase in shopping websites with malware. So how do you stay safe while purchasing goods online?
1. Shop from Familiar Websites
Sometimes, the basic things can keep your online shopping safe. Rather than doing your shopping from that new site you found through a quick Google search, try to do things from a trusted site such as Amazon.com or eBay – whenever possible. If you’re still going to buy from the little-known site, do some background research to make sure that it’s secure and reputable? Take heed of misspellings on shopping sites using top-level domains other than .com (for example .net). Don’t just get baited by those enticing offers, they might be trying to trick you into giving away sensitive personal info.
2. Don’t Give Away All Details
Regardless of what you’re buying, you shouldn’t have to provide your birthday or social security number. If a hacker gets this private information, together with your credit card details, they can do a lot of damage. The more crooks know about you, the easier it’ll be for them to steal your identity. Always be in that mindset where you want to give up minimal information.
3. Look for Secure Websites
As a rule of the thumb, you never-ever want to purchase something using your credit card from a site that doesn’t have SSL encryption. It’s easy to find out, a site that has this form of security starts with HTTPS:// (rather than HTTP://). More so, a locked-padlock icon shows on your browser’s status bar. Whatever the case, never give your credit card details to anyone via email.
4. Check your Statements
Rather than waiting for your bills to get to you at the end of the month, login to your email regularly and check for electronic statements related to your checking accounts, debit cards and credit cards. The point is to make sure that there no fraudulent charges, even from payment processors such as PayPal. If you pick up something wrong, you want to call the relevant parties and iron out the issues immediately. You have 30 days to notify your card issuer or bank when there’s a problem. However, after that, you’re liable for any charges.
5. Secure your PC
Hackers won’t be just sitting idle waiting for you to provide them with sensitive data – they’ll extend their crooked arm to get into your PC if you’re not secured it enough. Consider installing a trusted anti-malware and anti-virus program. Most good anti-virus software today have protection against phishing, identity theft and other common exploits used by hackers. However, you’re still going to need to be careful and update the program regularly.
6. Strong Passwords
Strong passwords are necessary so that hackers do not break into your online shopping account through a brute force attack, which uses a computer generated combinations of letters, numbers, and special characters to crack your password. Don’t use passwords such as your name, date of birth, anniversary date or other simple approaches that might be easy to guess.
Although this is not a comprehensive defense plan, these few and seemingly simple measures are a great way to shop safely online.