The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Are You Safe When Online Shopping?
While the internet has made it convenient for us to communicate and acquire the things that we need, it also has become the place that houses many crooked minds these days. Cyber crimes have become a common sight these days that in fact, a report from Experian states that e-commerce fraud attacks on 2016 have surpassed 2015 totals.
While convenient, many people don’t know that shopping online can be more dangerous as shopping on offline. Because everything already takes place over the internet – from browsing product catalogs, comparing items, to completing the purchase, it is not hard for hackers to obtain valuable information about you which they can use to access your bank account or use your identity to make illegal online purchases.
Fortunately, there are ways that you can easily implement to protect yourself from identity and online theft. To sum up, here are the main points from the infographic below from Sign Within which walk us through the tips and tricks that you should consider in order to make your online shopping as convenient and safe as possible.
- Make sure the online shopping site is SSL-encrypted. You can easily identify this by checking if there is a lock icon in the address bar, and the URL starts with HTTPS.
- Only provide the basic information when filling-up transaction forms.
- Regularly check your billing statements.
- Install security programs on the computer or any other device you use to shop online.
- Always use strong passwords.
- Avoid using public devices.
- Secure your wi-fi connection.
- Know the online deals which are too good to be true.
To learn more, check out the infographic below.
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TIPS FOR SAFE ONLINE SHOPPING
Let’s face it, one of the best products of the modern technology is online shopping and e-commerce. Nobody can deny the convenience and ease it provides to shopaholics and seldom mall-goers alike.
There’s every reason in the world to shop online—from impulsive buying to last minute shopping. Even window shopping can be done on the Internet.
And the selection is endless. Shoppers need nto to worry about delivery time as well as returns.
However, some reports claim that online shopping is not that secure like everyone thinks.
Phishing attacks–or when thieves attempt to swindle you out of your sign in credentials, or acquire your credit card by pretending to be a legitimate website or online bank.
Fret not! While this may be alarming, there are many ways you can secure your information and protect yourself from identity fraud and online theft.
Through these guidelines, you can stay safe while online shopping and enjoy its myriad of perks and benefits.
LOOK FOR THE LOCK
Make it a habit to always check the website you’re buying things from.
Never purchase anything online or give your credit card from a site that doesn’t have Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption installed.
You can check if the website is SSL encrypted if the URL starts with HTTPS:// contrary to the more common HTTP:// counterpart.
An icon of a locked padlock will also appear, typically along the status bar at the bottom of your web browser, or right next to the URL in the address are, depending on the browser you use.
Moreover, never provide your credit card information over email.
NEVER PROVIDE ALL YOUR INFORMATION
If the website asks for your social security number, or birth date for no apparent reason, then it is best judgement not to continue the transaction.
Still, don’t be confident if you are not asked these questions. Expert hackers and crooks can get a lot of information using just the credit card you used in purchasing.
Keep in mind that the less they know, the harder it is to steal your identity and use it for damage.
When possible, just provide the basics and the least amount of information.
REGULARLY CHECK YOUR BILLING STATEMENTS
Don’t just wait for your bill to come at the end of the month. Practice regularly checking your card statements for credit card, debit card, and checking accounts.
Check for any fraudulent charges.
Sometimes these inappropriate charges can even originate from sites like Paypal. If you do see something fishy, don’t hesitate to address the matter as soon as you can.
You have 30 days to notify the bank or card issuer of the problems, however; after that, you might be liable for the charges.
PROTECT YOUR PC
Be defensive. Remember that swindlers don’t just wait around all day waiting for you to input your data while shopping.
You need to protect against malware with regular updates to your anti-virus program, whichever brand and type you prefer.
USE STRONG PASSWORDS
Never underestimate this golden rule: use strong passwords. Ditch birthdays as passwords.
It is very important and helpful that you utilize uncrackable passwords, especially when shopping online.
Experts advise combining letters and numbers, as well as capitalization.
AVOID USING PUBLIC DEVICES
It is a bad idea to use a public computer when you make purchases.
If you don’t have any other options, remember to log out every time you use a public terminal, even if you are not online shopping or input other information.
PRIVATIZE YOUR WI-FI
It’s not being selfish, it is just being defensive. Only use the wireless if you access the Web over a virtual private network (VPN) connection.
It is also not ideal for you to connect with an unfamiliar hotspot, again, even if it’s free.
KNOW WHAT’S TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE
There are a lot of deals online which turn out to be just scams.
Beware even of your friends, who might innocently forward such a thing through links that open and direct to unprotected websites.
Skepticism in most cases can go a long way towards saving you from a stolen card number.
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