8 Tips For Safe Online Shopping So You Can Sleep Easier At Night
Online scams can sometimes be sneaky AF, making online shopping riskier than you think. Within your group of friends and acquaintances, it’s more than likely you know someone who’s fallen prey to a scam, where they bought an item and didn’t end up receiving anything at all, or even worse, had personal information stolen. Luckily, there are ways to make sure the website your buying from is secure, as well as to protect your personal information. Here are 8 tips for safe online shopping so you can sleep easier at night.
Use familiar websites
This may seem like a no-brainer, but oftentimes when a deal is so good we might overlook that it’s coming from a totally random website. Try to shop only on websites you now to be legit or have had good experiences with before. If you are shopping on a new website, do your research and look at third-party reviews on google to verify it’s safe website to order from.
When in doubt, don’t click
When it comes to email sales and advertisements, this is one of the biggest ways cybercriminals will steal your information or even worse, infect your devices. If an email looks fishy, don’t click, just throw it out!
Look for the lock icon
Websites that are secure will ALWAYS have an SSL (secure sockets layer) that will typically display as a lock icon in the status bar of your browser. Never ever give your credit card information to a website that does not have this icon, or through an email, unless you are using Paypal, another safe and encrypted payment service.
Don’t give out unnecessary information
Remember an e-commerce website is NEVER going to require your social security number to process a payment. If a website is asking you for personal information other than your address and credit card information, this is a sure fire way to know it is a scam. Go by the golden rule of sharing as little information as possible.
Only ever use secure connections
Try to avoid shopping on public networks. When you’re using wifi, it needs to be encrypted with a firewall otherwise your personal information could be compromised by anyone who is lurking around on the public network. A good rule of thumb is to only ever do online shopping on your own home network.
Make sure your security software is up-to-date
This is especially true during big sales like Black Friday where you are visiting lesser known sites with the best deals on the Internet. If your security software isn’t fully up-to-date it leaves weak spots in your laptop or desktop system where intruders can more easily hack in.
Mix up your passwords
Other than the obvious method of making your passwords strong (a number of upper/lower case characters and numbers) don’t use the same password for every single website and definitely make sure the password is different from the one you use on banking or government websites.
Check online statements
If you’re a frequent online shopper, purchasing from multiple websites, you should get in the habit of checking your bank statements on a more regular basis, especially during peak Holiday and sale seasons. Don’t wait for your statement to arrive at the end of every month, but rather check it periodically throughout the month to keep an eye out for any unexplained purchases.
Do you know any other tips for safe online shopping? Share with us in the comment section.
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