Online shopping – everyone loves doing it. It’s fast, it’s easy, it’s convenient. But did you know that it can also be risky?
You might have heard a lot of stories of online theft recently. Unfortunately, criminals nowadays have gotten more and more creative and sophisticated when it comes to gaining access to your personal information.
Once they have that, they can use it to commit fraudulent or illegal transactions, steal your hard-earned money, rack up debt, or even commit crimes. And with the technologies available today, even online shopping platforms can be an avenue for criminals to access your personal information.
You need to protect your information, and that’s what we’re here for. At the end of this article, you’ll have the security measures you need to keep yourself safe when online shopping. We’ve done extensive research, looked at the latest reports and complaints users have, and read reputable sources on online shopping and internet safety.
Don’t miss out on crucial measures for safe online shopping. Keep reading until the very end to find out the top tip that can help make your online shopping secure 99% of the time.
Top tips for safely shopping online
There isn’t one fail-safe method for safely shopping online. Combining these tips, however, can significantly minimize the likelihood of you becoming a victim of scammers, identity thieves, and other criminals.
1. Shop at reputable websites with good customer service records
With the rise of online shopping, it’s important to be aware of scams and choose websites with good customer service records. Reputable websites will have a few key features that you can look for, such as:
- A way to contact customer service, either by phone or email
- A secure payment system, such as SSL encryption.
2. Keep track of your online shopping activity by creating an account on the site
Creating an account will allow you to access your order history, view your saved items, and track your progress through the checkout process. Additionally, it will let you easily update your shipping and billing information.
Creating an account on a shopping site is a simple way to keep track of your online activity and make buying items easier and more efficient.
3. Make a list of your online shopping passwords and login information
This will not only help you to stay organized, but it will also protect your personal information from being hacked. There are several ways to keep track of your passwords and login information.
One option is to use a password manager, which is a software application that stores your passwords in a secure database. Alternatively, you can also create a spreadsheet or document where you can manually store your login information.
Whichever method you choose, make sure to use a strong password and keep your information in a safe place.
4. Read customer reviews before making a purchase
Anyone who has ever shopped online knows that customer reviews can be quite helpful in making a purchasing decision. But what many people don’t realize is that reviews can also provide valuable insights into the quality of a product.
A well-written review can highlight both the positive and negative aspects of a product, giving potential buyers a more complete picture of what they can expect.
While it’s always important to take reviews with a grain of salt, reading them before making a purchase can give you a better idea of what others thought of the product and whether it’s likely to meet your needs.
Next time you’re shopping online, take a few minutes to read customer reviews. It may just help you make a better purchase.
5. Be wary of deals that are too good to be true
In today’s economy, it’s easy to get caught up in the search for a good deal. However, it’s important to be wary of deals that seem too good to be true. Oftentimes, these deals are actually scams designed to take advantage of unsuspecting consumers.
Scammers often advertise low prices for popular items, only to switch out the item for a cheap knock-off once the sale has been made. In other cases, scammers simply pocket the money and never deliver the promised goods.
To avoid becoming a victim of a scam, always do your research before making a purchase, and be sure to buy from reputable sellers. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
6. Make sure that you’re using a credit card rather than a debit card
When it comes to payment protection, credit cards offer several advantages over debit cards.
For one, credit card companies are typically more proactive about fraud prevention, offering features like text alerts and fraud monitoring. In addition, credit card companies are required by law to limit your liability in the event of fraudulent charges, while debit card companies are not.
As a result, if your credit card is stolen or your account is compromised, you will not be responsible for any unauthorized charges.
If you’re ever in doubt about which type of card to use, remember that credit cards offer significantly more protection against fraud than debit cards.
7. Use a virtual credit card for added security
A virtual credit card is a credit card that exists only in digital form. It isn’t connected to a physical card, so you can use it for online purchases without the risk of fraud or identity theft.
Many major credit card companies offer virtual cards, and they’re becoming increasingly popular as people become more concerned about security online. Virtual cards are typically linked to your existing credit card account, so you can use them anywhere that accepts major credit cards.
To get a virtual card, you simply log into your credit card account and generate a new card number. This number can be used for one-time purchases or for recurring payments. You can also set spending limits and expiration dates to help manage your finances.
8. Don’t store your credit card information on websites.
When you’re making an online purchase, it can be tempting to save your credit card information for future use. However, this isn’t always the best idea.
Your credit card information could be compromised if a website’s security is breached. In addition, storing your credit card information on multiple websites makes it more likely that you’ll forget which websites have your information and put yourself at risk of fraud.
It’s best to only save your credit card information on websites that you trust and with robust security measures. That way, you can be sure that your information is safe and sound.
9. Look for the “https” in the website’s URL
When entering sensitive information on a website, you want to ensure that your connection is secure. One way to do this is to look for the “https” at the beginning of the URL.
This indicates that the site uses a secure protocol called Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). SSL encrypts the data exchanged between your computer and the website, making it much more difficult for anyone to intercept and read your information.
If you’re ever in doubt about whether a website is secure, just look for the little “s” in the URL. It could mean the difference between a safe transaction and a costly one.
10. Keep your apps and software updated for protection
App and software updates are important for many reasons. They can provide new features and improvements, but more importantly, they can also patch security vulnerabilities.
Hackers are constantly looking for ways to exploit unprotected systems, and outdated apps and software are an easy target. By keeping your apps and software up-to-date, you can help to protect yourself from these attacks.
In addition, many updates also include performance enhancements that can help your devices run more smoothly. Because of these, it’s always a good idea to install the latest updates as soon as they become available.
11. Use anti-virus software and malware protection to protect your computer from online threats
One of the best ways to protect your computer from online threats is to use anti-virus software and malware protection.
These programs can help safeguard your system against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. In addition, they can also help to block dangerous websites and prevent you from accidentally downloading infected files.
IMPORTANT: While no single program can offer 100% protection, using a trusted anti-virus program is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of being infected by a computer virus or other malware.
How online shopping puts you at risk for fraud
While online shopping is convenient, it also comes with a certain level of risk. There have been many instances where hackers have been able to steal personal information from unsuspecting shoppers. They can do this by:
1. Exploiting a website that isn’t secure
When you enter your credit card information on a website, you’re trusting that the site will keep your information safe. However, if that website isn’t secure, a hacker can easily exploit it to gain access to your information.
This can include your credit card number and Social Security number. Once they have your information, they can use it to make unauthorized purchases or open new credit accounts in your name.
2. Hacking into your shopping accounts
This is another popular method for stealing personal information. By gaining access to your shopper account, hackers can view sensitive information such as credit card numbers and shipping addresses.
3. Installing malware on your computer
Hackers may also install malware on your computer to gain access to your account information. This attack is especially difficult to detect, as the malware may not cause any noticeable problems on the computer.
4. Setting up fake websites
They may also set up fake websites that look like legitimate online stores. When people enter their payment information on these sites, the hackers can use it to make unauthorized purchases or withdraw money from their accounts.
5. Sending phishing emails
These emails typically contain links that lead to malicious websites designed to look like legitimate online stores. If you click on one of these links, you may accidentally download malware onto your computer or unwittingly give the hacker your personal information.
If you suspect that your account has been compromised, report it to the company immediately and change your password. By taking these precautions, you can help ensure that your personal information stays safe this holiday season.
Criminals nowadays have become more and more creative about the ways that they can exploit weaknesses to access your personal information. Applying the 11 internet shopping precaution measures we’ve listed above, however, you can significantly minimize the chances of yourself falling prey to these kinds of scams.
Make sure you apply these tips every time you go shopping online so you can enjoy a fun, safe, and hassle-free online shopping experience.