We are all aware of the convenience and benefits of online shopping. Buying online allows us to shop whenever we want, avoid crowded stores, easily compare prices, and have our purchases delivered right to our front door. Seems like the ideal way to make a purchase, doesn’t it?
Online shopping, like most things in life, is not without risk. However, by becoming aware of the potential dangers of online shopping and taking precautions, you can ensure a safer shopping experience.
We’ve outlined some practical advice on the safest ways to buy online below:
Search the internet for your item.
Use Well-Known Websites.
Begin by visiting a reputable website. When you get past the first few pages of links, search results can be rigged to lead you astray. If you’re familiar with the site, it’s less likely to be a scam.
Check the site’s security.
When you are in the checkout process, any website where you make a purchase should have a padlock icon next to the address. This ensures that your information is encrypted as it is transferred to Amazon servers, making it impossible for thieves to read the data.
Safe sites will also begin with “https://www.example.com” rather than “http://www.example.com.”Stay away if the “S” is missing. The S stands for “secure,” and it makes a big difference.
Change your passwords frequently.
At the most basic level, when assessing online shopping risks, it is critical to ensure that your passwords are as secure as possible. Regardless of the inconvenience, always make sure that your passwords are different for each store because if one store is compromised, thieves will have access to your payment information at any store you use.
Check to see if your device is up to date.
It is critical to keep the devices you use to shop online up to date.
Enable automatic operating system and application updates (such as web browsers). Updates add new functionality and fix security flaws. New security features are typically included in new versions of operating systems and applications.
Install a reliable Virtual Private Network (VPN) to shop safely.
Installing a high-quality VPN is a must if you want to shop safely online. VPNs create encrypted tunnels that protect your identity, making them an effective defense against attacks on unsecured wireless networks. Many include additional malware protection and email filtering, as well as anti-phishing protection.
Keep all of your receipts.
Keep track of all of your purchases so you can compare them to your bank statement. Receipts for legitimate purchases will also be useful in the event of fraud.
Check to see if your antivirus software is up to date.
Viruses on your computer can compromise your security and send your data to hackers and thieves. To avoid this, keep your anti-virus software up to date and run virus scans regularly.
Deals that appear to be “too good to be true” should be avoided.
Here are a few indicators to look for when determining whether a marketing message is genuine:
If Walmart claims to have a special going on, they will not ask Steve to send out a newsletter using his personal Gmail account. Check to see if the email is corporate.
Poorly written content: Most reputable retailers are concerned with their content. Be wary if the content is sloppy, contains numerous typos, reads poorly, and so on.
Unencrypted email: If the lock next to the “to” field in Gmail is red and crossed out, the email is unencrypted. This does not necessarily imply that the email is a phishing attempt, but it is best not to communicate with the sender and, in particular, do not share any sensitive information.
Never purchase an unsecured wireless network.
Unsecured wireless networks are a goldmine for hackers, allowing them to easily place themselves between users and services such as stores or social media. Hackers frequently lurk on open, unsecured networks, and you don’t want to expose sensitive information such as passwords or credit card numbers. Start using a VPN if you frequently shop online while out and about. Your online activities will be anonymized and encrypted, keeping them safe from prying eyes.
Don’t Share Also Much
No online retailer requires your Social Security number or birthday to conduct business. However, if thieves obtain them as well as your credit card information, they can cause significant harm. The more scammers who know about you, the easier it is for them to steal your identity.
The best way to stay safe while shopping online is to learn how to spot suspicious websites and strengthen your security measures. Following these basic rules and guidelines should give you the confidence to shop safely online.