Online shopping and spending is a fact of modern-day life. The share of sales being made online is increasing all the time. Although it is incredibly convenient and usually reliable, shopping online is not without its hazards. Parallel to the boom in online shopping is also a growth in cybercrime, so purchasing as safely as possible is extremely important. Here are a few pointers.
- Shop at well-known or familiar sites
Reputation is quite often everything. If you need help finding a reputable site, try visiting Shelf where they review the best products and where to get them. They review a range of products from crochet hooks to microwaves, making it easier for you to find a safe site to buy them from. Additionally, if there is a site that you have purchased from before or comes recommended by friends, try to shop there rather than anywhere else. You will almost always find a cheaper version of what you’re looking for via a search engine. However, if it means making a purchase from a site you’re unfamiliar with, you have to ask yourself whether it’s worth the risk. The same principle applies to online gaming and checking the current odds for events. It’s advisable to use a well-known online gaming site.
- Use the extra s and find the lock
When you have decided where you want to shop, you should check straight away that it can facilitate safe and secure transactions. In order to do this, the site needs what is known as an SSL certificate, which encrypts sensitive information, allowing it to be transferred safely. Finding out whether your chosen site has one of these is simple. Just make sure that the URL begins with https// and not just http//. The extra s makes all the difference. You will usually find a neat padlock icon on the status bar of a safe browser too.
- Look out for odd detail requests
We are all used to having to fill in a variety of payment details in order to make an online purchase. But does the vendor really need to know your social security number? If a request for information doesn’t feel relevant or quite right, then it should raise a flag. Even seemingly innocuous details such as your date of birth can be used to help forge or steal an identity. Handing out personal information is part and parcel of online activity. However, be aware what the reasonable limits are.
- Check your account regularly
Even if nothing seems awry about your online purchase, you should still keep a close eye on your bank account. Cybercrime is always becoming more advanced, so you can’t be too careful. If you notice odd outgoings from your account or unaccounted credit card purchases, then ask your bank to investigate. It is worth noting that quite often if you do not notify your bank within 30 days, you will be liable for charges however they were made.
- Only use a secure connection
This may sound basic, but it is always worth remembering. You have to assume that if you are using an unsecured connection or a public network, then anybody and everybody can see what you’re doing. As a result, you do not want to be sharing your bank and credit card details in this way. Just wait until you are home or using a connection which requires a password before buying that new pair of shoes! If you’re in a tight spot and you absolutely have to use a public network, then you may want to consider using a VPN service to help protect your private information from bad actors looking to exploit unsecured connections for their own gain. Read this purevpn review to learn what such services can do and how this particular example has been received by its users.
- Strong passwords
Hackers love cracking passwords. So, the less generic and more complex you can make them the better. Try to use a combination of letters, numbers and symbols in the same password. You should also not be using the same password for everything. Don’t leave all your eggs in one basket in case your password is compromised.