Online shopping is an increasingly common practice. Online shopping is also becoming more and more popular for scams and fraud. Whether you are shopping for clothes, electronics, or any type of accessory, online shopping could put your confidential information at risk. The good news is that you can take action to help you mitigate the danger and to keep your information more secure and protected.
Here are my 7 Steps To Secure Your Online Shopping:
1) Use Trusted Sites
The most obvious suggestion is to use trusted websites. These sites, such as Amazon, Nike, or American Eagle, are used by millions of people on a daily basis and appear on the first page of most web searches. If you are looking to buy an item and use a common search engine, such as Google, to find an item online, it would be smart to use the links from the first page of that search. Anything after the first page might put you at risk.
2) Use Secure Sites
A related precautionary step is to look for the letters "https", with a padlock to the left of it, in the address bar. Https is an acronym for HyperText Transport Protocol Secure which means that the specific address is encrypted and secure. The https is typically shown when you are checking out an online order. This is meant to protect and secure confidential information such as name, address, and credit card number.
3) Use Strong Passwords
It is extremely important to keep your online shopping accounts secure - because those accounts can hold some very private information. So, when setting up and maintaining your accounts, make sure your passwords are strong and unique. And, remember to change them from time to time.
4) Protect Confidential Information
Carefully guard all confidential information - such as your social security number. Any online shopper is going to be asked for credit card information. But, if a social security number is required, that should raise a red flag. A virtuous website will never ask for a social security number when you are shopping.
5) Don't Click On Ads
Another danger in online shopping is pop-up ads; especially malicious ads that look like legitimate businesses. A security action you can invoke is to download the extension called AdBlock. AdBlock works in all popular browsers, including: Google Chrome, Safari, Mozilla Firefox, or Opera. AdBlock filters content on the web and also blocks unwanted ads.
6) Avoid Using Public (Shared) Computers
Many people do not think twice about using public computers, or using their own computer in public. Think again! These practices are risky. You may not believe it, but there is something called shoulder surfing, and it can result in confidential information being stolen. This is why it is important to avoid online shopping in public places, especially if you are entering private information such as a credit card number.
7) If It's Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is
My last piece of advice is to remember the saying, " If It's Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is." It is crucial to know when an online offer is too good to be true. Typically, if you see something and say to yourself, “Wow! How’s that so cheap?” it is a scam. This is where using trusted websites will keep you safe.
Remember to always be cautious and secure, and to never fall for those online scams.
I wish you all the best,
Matthew D. Haddad