Online shopping is a great way to compare prices, pick up bargains and track down those hard-to-find gifts – and with a bit of know-how anyone can do it safely. There are plenty of benefits to shopping online. You’ll often get the most choice, the best prices and can shop from the comfort of your own home.
There are a thousand reasons for you to shop online – bargains are there and so are the choices, shipping is fast and so are the returns. The best part is you get to skip the maddening traffic on streets and malls or long queues at the cashiers. However, shopping securely is the key. A smart shopper needs be on guard, whether shopping online via desktops or mobiles.
1. Not all web sites are secure
Believe me, not all sites displayed in the top of search engine result pages are good ones. The results include websites with spam,Trojans and viruses. Since all the e-commerce sites involve monetary transactions, we need to give high priority to know whether the website is reliable or not. Majority of advertisements we come across in all the sites are related to one or the other e-commerce sites. So the chances of getting phished are higher since they post attractive deals to trap the user.
Before entering any personal or payment information, take a look at the address bar and make sure URL starts with HTTPS, not HTTP. The letter S, tells the difference between a secure site and an unsecured site. This is a pretty handy tip for browsing both on desktops as well as mobiles.
2. Stick to the vendors you are familiar
It is best to stick to the vendors you are familiar with rather than going to sites offering the lowest price and attractive offers. To check the authenticity of a website, a user can download free safe browsing tool WOT or Web Of Trust that helps find trustworthy websites and protects against online scams.
3. Use tools that encrypt keystrokes to bypass keyloggers
There are also application that allows cyber criminals to keep a track of all keys struck on your keyboard. Through keylogging, cyber criminals can get access to all passwords and information you enter.
4. Avoid public or unsecure Wi-Fi connection
We all love free Wi-Fi, but it has its own risks. Experts feel entering any personal or financial information on public, unsecured connection should be avoided as user can be easily snooped on. When you are about to make a purchase in a shopping mall, it can be useful to make a last minute comparison with the deals that internet retailers are offering. But avoid using public WiFi network because cyber criminals can intercept your data and capture your login details, passwords and financial information. When you are out for shopping and need access to internet, it’s safer to do by using your mobile phone network.
5. Use the right credit/debit card
Users should try and keep a separate credit/debit card for online shopping of lesser value, rather than one card with all your money in it.
6. Keep your computer/mobile device virus-free
It is essential to keep your operating system, application and anti-virus (both on PCs and smartphones) up to date, which may include fixes for latest security vulnerabilities. On your smartphones, download banking applications or applications of e-commerce sites only from official stores, such as Google Play and App Store. This reduces the risk of application being Malware-infected.
Pop-ups and pop-up ads:
Disregard any suspicious pop-ups that appear during your shopping / online banking session or even during your browsing sessions. By clicking these pop-ups there are chances that you might end up in malicious sites or even download unknowingly virus into your desktop or smartphone. Such viruses run in background and export your confidential information to third party sites or the hacker. Don’t get attracted to ads saying – make money in no time.
Create strong passwords for your login:
Strong passwords are difficult for others to guess but easy for you to remember. They are at least 14 characters long and include upper and lower case letters, symbols and numbers. Keep PIN’s and passwords secret and don’t share them in instant messages, email or over the phone. Use unique passwords for bank accounts and other important financial information and avoid using the same password everywhere!
If you have anymore tips for safe and secure online shopping please do not hesitate to mention them in comments section.