Online shopping

16 ways to stay safe while shopping online

Online shopping is new to some, especially since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s already a preferred way to shop for many. It’s easy and convenient, and you can shop from the comfort of your own home. There are some fantastic deals to be found if you know where to look.

However, as with anything that involves putting your personal information online, there are certain risks associated with shopping online. With these 16 tips, you’ll learn how to avoid scams and secure your data, so you can enjoy shopping safely every time!

1. Make sure the website is secure before entering your information.

The website should have a green padlock in the address bar and the URL should start with “HTTPS”. If the URL does not begin with “HTTPS”, leave your information blank. You can always check the security of the site by clicking on the padlock.

2. Do not enter your credit card information on a website that is not secure.

Fraudulent websites will often have a web address very similar to a legitimate site, but with one or two letters changed. For example, the web address of Amazon.com is www.amazon.com, but the address of Amazone.com is not legitimate. Or the correct URL for PayPal is PayPal.com, not PayPall.

You should also be aware of websites that ask for your credit card information even before you place an order. They are always scams.

3. Be careful with emails.

Never respond to emails asking for your credit card information or other personal data. These are likely scams, and responding to them could lead to identity theft.

4. Beware of phishing scams.

Phishing scams try to trick you into giving out your personal information by posing as legitimate emails from well-known companies.

16 ways to stay safe while shopping online
Example of a fake PayPal email (Image: Hackread.com)

5. Don’t forget to consult the privacy policy

Always check a website’s privacy policy before purchasing from it, to make sure your information is safe. This will tell you how the site plans to use your information and whether it will be shared with third parties. Be careful if the policy states that your information may be shared with “unaffiliated third parties”. This means that your data can be shared with any company, even if you’ve never heard of it before.

6. Buy from reputable websites you trust.

If you are unfamiliar with the website, do some research before making a purchase. Look for reviews online to see what others have to say about their experience with the site. In the event of a dispute, you will want to be able to easily contact the company.

7. Read the terms and conditions of purchase before doing so.

This will tell you what your rights are if there is a problem with your purchase. For example, if the item you ordered arrives damaged, can you return it?

8. Make sure the website uses encryption technology to protect your information.

This will ensure that your data is sent over a secure connection and cannot be viewed by anyone other than the intended recipient. You can verify this by looking for a green padlock in the address bar.

9. Beware of bogus websites that offer great deals on designer items.

These sites often ask you to provide your credit card information, but the products they sell are often of poor quality or even counterfeit. It is best to stick to reputable websites when buying designer items.

10. Use a credit card instead of a debit card when shopping online.

This will provide you with some protection if the website you are shopping on is not legitimate. Credit cards are not as vulnerable to fraud as debit cards, and they offer better consumer protection in the event of a dispute.

11. Keep your computer software up to date.

This includes your web browser, antivirus software, and operating system. Make sure you have the latest updates installed, as they will include security patches that will help protect your computer against malware. Keep in mind that outdated software is more vulnerable to hacker attacks.

12. Avoid using public Wi-Fi to shop online, as it could put your information at risk.

Public Wi-Fi is not secure and anyone on the network could potentially access your data. If you need to use public Wi-Fi, be sure to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to encrypt your traffic.

13. Use a strong password when creating an account on a website.

This will help protect your account from hackers. Make sure to use a hard-to-guess password that is made up of a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols. Two-step authentication, where you receive a unique code on your phone or email address, is also a good idea. Don’t use the passwords revealed in the list of most used and worst passwords of 2021.

14. Back up your data regularly.

This will help ensure that you don’t lose your information in the event of a cyberattack or computer failure. You can back up your data manually or use a cloud-based service to do it automatically. It will also allow you to access your data from any device, anywhere.

15. Be careful with phone calls.

If you receive an unsolicited phone call from someone claiming to be from your bank or credit card company, do not provide them with any personal information. It’s a scam and the person on the other end of the phone is trying to steal your identity. Hang up and call the official customer service number of your bank or credit card company to report the incident.

16. Keep your anti-virus software up to date.

Just as you keep your computer software up to date, it’s also important to keep your anti-virus software up to date. This will help protect your computer from malware and other online threats. Typically, your antivirus software updates automatically, but you can also check for updates manually.

You can do all of your holiday shopping hassle-free if you follow these suggestions. Sometimes the best deals are too good to be true. Criminals expect buyers to pay no attention to details like fake websites and bogus offers. But if you arm yourself with the right information, you can safely take advantage of great deals and save money. And don’t forget to keep your receipts in case you need to make a return or exchange. Good shopping!

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