Top Ten Tips To Secure Your Online Shopping
Spending an hour of your day on your PC for shopping online is surely much simpler and easier than spending an entire day walking in and out of shops and selecting from the limited choices available. Lot of varieties, better prices, reviews to guide, complete information, convenience and privacy are the major reasons to choose online shopping.
But, it is equally important for us to understand the drawbacks of online shopping such as fraudulent transactions, shipping costs, re-stocking fees, less or no bargaining and so on. Here are some tips to make your online shopping experience much safer and have peace of mind.
1. Prefer to use credit card instead of debit card
Since most of the credit cards have a spending limit, the risk and damage taken or caused could be minimal. If possible try to use a credit card with a low credit limit, this will save your rest of the money if your credit card information is stolen. Debit cards which are directly linked to your bank account could very easily expose your financial information. Revealing financial information not only leads to money theft, but it can also lead to identity theft and other complications if the person who stole your info uses it for any illegal transactions.
2. Always check the connection type
Any payment details or checkout page URL should start with a secured connection https:// instead of unsecured connection http:// ; the “s” in https stands for secure connection and automatically encrypts your connection to remove tell-tale signs of entered data. When you are done shopping and ready to check out, make sure to check the type of connection the page has established to carry your payment information. Fill up the information only if the page URL starts with https://
3. Update anti-virus and optimize your PC security
Tricksters do not always wait for us to make the first move, they trick us into their sites by dragging our attention with attractive offers; playing on our fears, lust and greed. Most of these tempting advertisements exploit browser vulnerabilities and download malicious programs onto your computer. Make sure that your PC security stays up to date by enabling automatic update to your anti-malware and virus signatures. Run a program which will automatically find and repair loopholes that might exist in your operating system. Malware-bytes Anti-Malware and Norton Internet Security are known for being the most robust.
4. Provide only necessary information
Always default to give up only the least amount of information. Never in online shopping would you need to provide a social security number, your educational level or the names of your family members. It is always optional to provide your birth date and location. It is important to understand the basics of online shopping and not let swindlers lure you to give important information which could do you lot of damage later.
5. Document your order by Print or Save As
Most e-commerce sites would send an email confirmation on your purchase as soon as the payment is processed. Some sites lead you to a page which will let us save or print the receipt or purchase confirmation number. It is always recommended to keep documentation of your purchase ready at least until you receive the product.
6. Not every offer is a valid one
It is important to validate an offer which gains your interest. Always think twice before getting excited about a top rated product available at unbelievably lower price. Many of these offers will come during holidays and festive seasons or through social media. McAfee usually compiles a list of scam offers during holiday seasons.
7. Use your personal computer or gadgets
Spending half an hour in a public cyber café and entering your credit card number or expiration date to do an online shopping is a long enough time for a snooper to cause serious damages to your accounts and finances. Instead you should consider using your own laptop or a smart phone to finish the job.
8. Unique passwords
Use the many tips available on the internet to select a unique password which is easy to remember but hard to guess. Most of us give very little importance to choosing a unique password either because of urgency or fear of forgetting a strong password. A hacker needs to trying to use software to break your password will need to work harder if it has to mix between numbers and upper and lower case letters. A typical eight-letter password becomes an eight-letter sequence if the capitalization is less predictable. Combining alphabets, numbers and symbols for a password that makes sense to you but is harder to break.
9. Make transactions from a checking account/PAYPAL
Before you shop, transfer the necessary amount required for your day’s shopping to a checking account. Most of the banks provide free checking accounts, so use a secondary checking account to perform all your e-shopping, hence even if your checking account details fall into the wrong hands minimal damage is done.
PayPal is another great service you can use if the shopping site has an option for PayPal checkout. By using PayPal you can be sure that your financial information is never revealed. You are able to checkout and pay via PayPal by just entering your email address to login to your PayPal account.
10. Using verified by trusted sources or using familiar sites
E-commerce sites like Amazon and E-bay are considered more trustworthy; this is because these sites have a variety of products and sellers and make it a central part of their business philosophy to be reliable and secure. Thousands of customers use their site and selling features every day, so they work around the clock to make sure there are no vulnerabilities.
Almost all the branded products have an online shop, so make sure that you type in the correct spellings and reach the official website of the brand. Make sure you’re logging in to the right site; it’s a common trick to make a fake site that looks exactly like the official big-name website to capture login details. Double-check the address bar before logging in and entering sensitive information.
Extra: Cross-check bank statements
Discovering fraudulent transactions in your account as early as possible helps immeasurably in minimizing the damage, so do not wait for the bank statement or bill to be auto generated monthly. This is one of the reason many shoppers use online financial accounts like Pay-pal and etc., which list transaction details automatically.
Your bank’s online services should have the same features. Check often and make sure, don’t just rest on your assumptions before it’s too late.