Shopping is almost like a ritual for some people. And I’m not just talking about the regular brick and mortar stores. When I say shopping, in this digital era, I also mean online shopping. We are living in the age of digital buying.
Follow some tips for safe internet shopping such as secure click, use of the debit card, record transactions and others. The electronic age has facilitated connecting with anyone anywhere over the globe, finding information at the tip of fingers, shopping, etc. There is a tremendous rise in online shopping trends because of the convenience, variety, and ease of compare and shop!
As a matter of fact, according to the Maristpoll, almost 70% of adults in the US shop online at least once a month. Another one-third of them shop online once a week.
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But what about the bad guys who lay in wait? It happens. The FBI's own Internet Crime Complaint Center says the number one cybercrime of 2017 was related to online shopping: non-payment for or non-delivery of goods purchased. Phishing was third, but it was at an all-time high during Q2 2018, according to the APWG's Phishing Activity Trends Report
With the increase in online shopping, internet thefts are also on the rise, where the electronic thieves access either your machine or get hold of the information like credit/debit card details, etc. and misuse it.
Stay calm. While somewhat alarming, these stats should not keep you from shopping online.
The following article gives for safe online shopping
You simply need to use some common sense and follow practical advice. Here are basic guidelines; use them and you can shop with confidence.
Be extra careful if you're on a mobile device
Smartphones can basically do everything a computer can do nowadays, but that doesn't mean they are as protected against threats as your desktop. Most phones aren't equipped with the anti-virus software that you have on your computer, so it's easier for criminals to get malware on your mobile device that could help them steal information you enter.
The shortened URLs that are often used because they're more phone-friendly can also trick you into visiting a risky site since it's harder to tell whether it's secure or trusted. There's also the risk of your phone being stolen, so make sure it's password-protected so any information you may have stored on it isn't easily accessed.
Always place orders from a secure connection look for the lock icon
Never ever, ever buy anything online using your credit card from a site that doesn't have SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption installed at the very least. You'll know if the site has SSL because the URL for the site will start with https instead of just http. An icon of a locked padlock will appear, typically to the left of the URL in the address bar or the status bar down below; it depends on your browser.
HTTPS is pretty standard now even on non-shopping sites, enough that Google Chrome flags any page without the extra S as "Not Secure." So a site without it should stand out even more.
So, what is SSL?
Here’s a word about SSL from SSL2BUY:
SSL is basically what protects your personal and sensitive information as it travels from one network to another across the world. It keeps the information encrypted so that only the person it is sent to can read it.
Privatize Your Wi-Fi
If you're shopping via a public hotspot, stick to known networks, even if they're free, like those found at Starbucks or Barnes & Noble stores. Any of the providers part of Fastest Free Nationwide Wi-Fi can generally be trusted, but you should probably also use a virtual private network to be safe.
In a survey by PCMag, 48 percent of the respondents said they'd never used a VPN service. Only 26 percent knew they should have a VPN for safely using public Wi-Fi. That's not enough. It should be 100 and 100 percent on both of those (here's why).
If you must shop online on public Wi-Fi, use a VPN (a virtual private network). A VPN creates an encrypted connection between your computer and the VPN server. Think of it as a tunnel your Internet traffic goes through while you browse the web. Hackers lurking nearby can’t intercept it, even if they have the password for the Wi-Fi network you’re using. A VPN means you’ll likely have a safe way to shop online while you’re on public Wi-Fi.
How to create a VPN?
Learn about the Business
Break out your detective skills when you want to buy something from a new merchant. Does the company interact with a social media following? What do its customer reviews say? Take it one step further by contacting the business. If there’s no way to contact then consider it to be a red flag.
It’s understandable that a shopping site needs some of your personal information such as your name, contact number, email address, and billing information. Beyond payment options, these companies use this information to send you future deals and offers.
But any site that asks you for anything more than that, like your Social Security Number, is not a legitimate one. Some things always need to be kept to yourself. This is true for physical stores as well. Many of these sites will make you feel that it’s part of their normal registration process. But it’s not. Make sure you don’t end up giving out details that aren’t necessary.
Pay through Paypal, If you don't have an account PayPal gives you the facility to pay as a guest as well
Try to pay through secure methods like Paypal. It will help you maintain hard copy records of all the purchases. The record should mention the date of purchase, time, quantity, price and the delivery date. This is helpful for further communication, in case the need arises. You should also maintain records of the URL of the merchant, confirmation email/message of purchase, etc. Following these basic, easy security tips will ensure that you have a good buy and time in online shopping!
As rightly said by the popular financial blog NerdWallet, “With a credit card, the card issuer must fight to get his money back. With a debit card, you must fight to get your money back.” When you use a debit card, instead of a credit card, you give out information that allows a possible cybercriminal direct access to your bank account. When you use a credit card, you are using the card issuer’s money. It’s easier to take protective measures and get a new card issued in the case of fraudulent activity on your credit card.
If you are paranoid about your security & shopping from an unreliable or new site, you can use PayPal or any other such payment method which doesn’t require you to give out your credit card details.
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When you shop online, you need to provide your email address.
My advice is to maintain a separate account just for online shopping. This gives you two advantages:
1. If that site ever gets hacked or is compromised in some way, none of your important personal information (which is present in your regular email) is at risk.
2. All the promotional and marketing emails go into that account, which lets you save a lot of email space.
Here are a few articles that you must read:
Update your browser
Each new version of your Internet browser, especially if you use one of the more popular browsers, gets a boost in security. Older browsers, besides not working as well with some websites, often have holes in their security that hackers have discovered and can exploit.
The same goes for your operating system and anti-virus software. Updates will keep you ahead of would-be identity thieves and keep your credit safe.
Make sure your Computer’s Firewall is On
If your computer isn’t protected from potentially malicious software, your financial information and passwords are at risk from being stolen (and everything else you store on your computer or do online). This concept is so basic, yet only a fraction of the world population adequately protects their computers. Use a secure connection – make sure your computer’s firewall is on.
Use several layers of security
When you see two and three-step authentication processes for shopping sites, do not skip them. They add an extra layer of security to your account, and it makes it harder for hackers to get access.
You need to do this even if it means going through an extra step while you are hurriedly trying to purchase something. You will not want to have a hacker steal your information because you didn’t want to spend an extra 30 seconds ensuring your security.
According to Symantec:
One of the best ways to keep your business safe from cybercriminals is layering your security. Start with firewalls, an essential aspect of stopping attackers before they can breach your network and gain access to your critical information.
Keep all these points in mind and let the online shopping begin.
Now it's your turn
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