Top 10 Tips for Safe Online Shopping

Online shopping has made it easy for consumers to compare prices, save money and find bargains when buying items online. However, as online shopping becomes popular, the risks have increased as people are trying to scam or get your personal details. Therefore, you should be very cautious when shopping online nowadays. Here are the top 10 tips you should follow:

10. Avoid public Wi-Fi

You shouldn’t shop online when using public Wi-Fi because scammers can get vital information like your browsing history, passwords, card details, names, and even your address!

9. Use a VPN

If you must shop online using public Wi-Fi, use a VPN (Virtual Private Network). A VPN creates an encrypted connection between the VPN server and your computer thus protecting your device from hackers.

8. Use a strong password

Since you cannot shop online without an account, you need to create a strong password. In case someone has the password to your account, he/she can change a lot of things including your shipping address, personal details, and even order items online using your card! A strong password should have both upper and lower cases, special letters and numbers. You shouldn’t use your name or words from a dictionary to make it hard for hackers to crack your password.

7. Checkout webpage security

The website you are using to shop should be secure to guarantee the safety of the details you provide. The URL should start ‘https’ and there should be a padlock icon in the URL to show that the website has SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption.

6. Use familiar websites

When you shop online using sites you are familiar with, you minimize the chances of getting scammed, hacked or losing money. Additionally, there is a high possibility that you have shopped using these familiar sites thus you know if you can rely on them.

5. Watch out for email scams

When you shop online regularly, you will start getting emails offering discounts and special offers. You should be very cautious when clicking these emails because you could end up getting hacked. As a rule of thumb, you shouldn’t click emails from unrecognized sellers or unknown senders to avoid infecting your computer with malware or viruses. Just delete such emails.

4. Avoid giving more information than you need to

You should never give more information than required (for example social security number or even your pin). In case this happens, call the customer service or find an alternative online shopping option.

3. Pay using a credit card

If someone hacks your account and your chosen payment method is a credit card, you have higher chances of getting reimbursed if you report the incident within 60 days. Also, your bank can notify you in case they detect any suspicious activities.

2. Check your bank statements regularly

You can either set up account alerts or check your bank statements at least once a week. With account alters, you can get a phone or email notification about a charge and you can determine whether it is legitimate or not.

1. Think mobile

Instead of relying on your computer entirely, you can use your smartphone to shop online. Reputable online shops have apps that can enable you to shop directly from the seller without going to the store or the website. Using an app is a guaranteed way of safe online shopping.

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