Online shopping is getting more popular with each passing day. The fact is proven by statistics like:
- 80% of Americans shop online at least on a monthly basis.
- 23% of online shoppers have made an online purchase at the office.
- 51% of Americans think shopping online is the best way to shop, with 49% preferring shopping in-store.
On one hand, online shopping is hassle-free but on the other hand, it leads to a number of concerns for shoppers. It’s a no-brainer because with the amount of personal data and critical information floating around on the internet, hackers or people with malicious intent are bound to take notice and you never know when your private information will be compromised.
However, technology has come a long way too and there are ways to be alert and stay safe while shopping from virtual stores.
That said, here is a quick look at how you can enjoy shopping online without constantly having to worry about safety and security aspects. Use these pointers as a checklist for your next shopping expedition!
1. Is the Online Shopping Site REAL?
The first thing you need to check while shopping online is whether the site from which you are shopping from is REAL or not. This is because there are “shady” websites that mimic the look of eCommerce websites. These are deliberately set up by hackers and are 100% fake. Clicking on various links on such sites is dangerous enough, but not as dangerous as entering your card and other details during checkout!
Luckily, it is possible to detect a fake shopping site by watching out for these red flags:
- A weird URL or website name
- A bad user-interface
- Brands you’ve never heard of
- Images that don’t match the product description
- The website sells everything under the same brand name
- Bad copy/bad content or bad product descriptions
- Dubious contact information
- Suspiciously low rates for products that will never sell them so low
2. Check for the Padlock Sign
If you don’t see an SSL encryption enabled site (HTTPS://), abort mission right away! The easiest way to check for the encryption is to locate a lock key in the status bar at the bottom of the browser or next to the URL in the address bar. Take the instance of Amazon, Walmart, and Nike, which all have SSL encryption enabled for their online stores.
3. Don’t Use the Same Password
It’s a tedious task to use different passwords for all your online shopping accounts. But it also adds an extra layer of protection. Imagine using the same password that you can remember for all the websites you shop on and a hacker gets access to just one of them. This means he will have access to all your accounts and data.
Don’t be a sitting duck for hackers and use different, unique passwords for the ecommerce sites you frequently shop on. Also, make it a point to use a good password manager so that you don’t have to remember all the passwords.
4. Regularly Check the Statements
One of the major drawbacks of using an ecommerce website for shopping is that there are no secure magnetic card readers by renowned brands such as Lintech. Therefore, even if you’ve shopped from a trustworthy site, there’s no way of knowing when and where your card information is being misused by frauds or not.
This is why it makes sense to keep a close watch over your credit or debit card statements regularly so that you can immediately spot something fishy and tackle it as soon as possible.
5. Update Your Antivirus
There’s a wide range of antivirus, which offers extra protection against malware. If you have one installed on your PC or mobile, make sure that you update it on a regular basis to keep the common dangers of hacking, ransomware and other issues at bay.
Similarly, keep your software and operating systems updated regularly and keep taking backups on an external storage device/the cloud.
6. Don’t Use Public Wi-Fi While Shopping Online
We all use public Wi-Fi and save data whenever possible. But did you know that public Wi-Fi can pose some serious threats to your security online?
This is because unsecured connections will let a hacker find a way to intercept all traffic and get to know your activities in real-time. Ergo, your passwords, emails, addresses, card numbers etc. are out there for them to see (and worse, use).
So the next time you’re tempted to use free Wi-Fi that’s not secured, you know what NOT to do!
7. Steer Clear of Opening Suspicious Links in Emails
Spam emails in your inbox can also include emails about exceptional shopping deals that are too good to believe. That, is another potential sign of a scam, especially if you don’t remember having subscribed to any of the newsletters or having shopped from that particular site. Just stay away from opening such emails or any link or attachment included in the same.
8. Use Apps to Make a Purchase
Almost all the major stores online have their mobile app versions. They are considerably more secure and it becomes too much work for hackers to attack the mobile apps. So, the next time you want to make a purchase from your favorite store, use an app from your mobile instead of shopping from a browser on your desktop or laptop.
Whether you’re a shopaholic or someone who’s new to the world of online shopping, these are some of the ground rules that you need to follow. Have any online shopping security tips that you want to add to the list? Leave a comment and let us know.