It’s amazing how much we now rely on the internet to find almost anything. But this convenience has a dark side: hackers and identity thieves who can get their hands on your credit card numbers and personal information just by clicking a few buttons. And once that happens, it might be too late for you to protect yourself from financial woes or even worse.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when shopping online, so you don’t become another victim of these cyber-criminals:
Safety tips for online shopping
1. Check if a site’s connection is secure.
All the sites in our blog are secured by HTTPS. You can see this in your browser when you type in the address- there should be a lock next to the site name. If there is no lock, it means that someone may be trying to steal your information!
Not only should the site’s connection be secure, but also the site’s logo. You can check that by looking at the address bar of your browser window when you are on the site. It is NOT secure if it says “HTTP” in red next to the web address.
2. Use Secure online payment platforms.
If you make payments online using your credit card, ensure the site offers a secure payment platform. Most of these platforms are provided by reputable companies, such as PayPal or Amazon.
For added security, use two-factor authentication on these platforms. This means that the site will require your mobile phone number in addition to your username and password, making it more difficult for cyber thieves to take over your account.
While credit cards are the most common way of paying online, using alternative payment options can also help to protect your data. Services like Google Wallet, which is linked directly with your bank account, offer some protection against fraud because you have to verify each transaction on the site and don’t need to give out your banking information.
3. Avoid shopping while logged in on public Wi-Fi networks.
Many people enjoy shopping while on the go, and who wouldn’t want to save a few dollars? But many people also do their online shopping from public Wi-Fi networks such as those in cafes or airports. If you do that, consider your information not just stolen but out in the open for anyone to see! It’s no secret that hackers can easily access public Internet connections and view everything you do on them.
To avoid this, you should always log out of sites when using public or unsecured networks. You could even use a private browsing window in your browser to ensure that no information is saved while browsing on public Wi-Fi.
4. Always use a strong password on e-commerce websites.
Never use the same password for more than one account, and always use a strong password with both letters and numbers. A good rule of thumb is to have your passwords be at least nine characters long. If you are unsure of what makes a strong password, then try using an online generator.
5. Use your own devices when shopping online.
One of the easiest ways for hackers to get your information is by installing keyloggers on your devices. This way, even if you don’t buy anything from an infected site, they will still have access to all your personal info and credit card numbers!
To avoid this, only shop online using your own laptop or phone and not your family or friends. If you don’t have access to your own devices, it is best to go to a store in person.
6. Check your bank statements regularly.
This might not be a protection method against hackers, but it is a way to check if anything suspicious has been going on with your information. If you notice any unknown purchases or withdrawals from your accounts, then immediately contact the bank and have them review the info on their end for potential fraud.
In today’s world, many people are enjoying the convenience of shopping online. But when you give out your information to e-commerce sites, it is up to you to protect yourself! Just use these quick tips to stay safe while shopping online, and you will be fine.
Happy online shopping!