In the digital age, many people are getting more familiar with Shopping Online. Everything a person could want or need can be purchased online, from Amazon Prime to special online sales. However, security is an aspect of internet buying that is sometimes disregarded. This entails being aware of both the websites you visit and the information you provide. There are several simple and practical practices that everybody can and should work on incorporating into their daily life to ensure internet safety.
Ways to Keep Yourself Safe While Shopping Online
1. Don’t Shop While Using Public Wi-Fi
When you enter personal information on a website while using public Wi-Fi or a hotspot, you’re asking for it to be stolen. These Wi-Fi hotspots aren’t password-protected, so anyone can use them. Everyone, even shoppers, can see what everyone else is doing. You wouldn’t want to type your Amazon password with a stranger watching you, yet that’s exactly what you’re doing while using a public network.
You should also be careful of stores that track your movements within their stores or on their websites using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. This could be another way for hackers to gain access to your device and steal your information.
2. Password protection dos and don’ts
You’ve undoubtedly heard it a thousand times, but securing your passwords is the simplest way to keep your information safe. Each site or application should have its own password. Using a password manager to aid with this is a good idea. Additionally, you should change your passwords on a regular basis, at least once every 30 to 90 days.
Passwords that are one-of-a-kind or consist of sentences are also a good idea. The longer and more complex the password, the better. It’s also a good idea not to tell too many people your passwords. Is anything truly secure if ten individuals are aware of it?
3. Virtual account numbers
Virtual account numbers are unique cards that have a specific time and amount to spend on them, and after they expire, the card and any funds on it are useless. This is a safer option than using your debit card on the internet. If someone gets their hands on your debit card, they also have access to your bank account, which could cost you a lot of money until the transactions are resolved.
A standard credit card is still more secure than a debit card if you don’t have access to this form of card. Most credit card providers allow you to report theft for 60 days, but some banks only allow you to report debit card fraud for two business days.
4. Links in emails and on social media should be avoided
The days of clicking a link on Facebook and purchasing that new fantastic item safely and securely are long gone. Hackers are now employing links and attachments to infect your computer with harmful malware and ransomware. It is usually preferable to manually type the address into your address bar rather than clicking the link. Always double-check that the site you believe you’re going to is the one you really want to visit. Hovering your mouse over the link will display the address it goes to, allowing you to check that it is legitimate. This allows you to see where the link will take you before you click it.
It’s never a bad idea to remember the old adage, “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” So, if that $20 iPad bargain on Facebook looks too good to be true, it most likely is. Stick to well-known websites and stores where you’ve already done business. It is not worth it to lose money to criminals in order to save money on a tablet.
5. Be careful of what information is requested
Would you give Amazon your social security number if they asked for it in the middle of a purchase? Obviously not. Be mindful of the information that the website requests. It’s probably not legit if it seems weird or out of place. Names, phone numbers, email addresses, and addresses are all fairly common questions for a shopping site to ask. However, shopping online does not need the use of social security numbers, bank account information, or driver’s license numbers.
You should also check to see if what the site is doing with your information is legal and that they aren’t selling or stealing it. Always read the privacy statement and terms of service, especially if you are unfamiliar with the website. Before inputting any personal information, make sure the site is safe and secure.
6. Look for HTTPS in the URL
Look for HTTPS in the address when visiting a website. The difference between HTTP and HTTPS refers to the site’s security. The extra “s” denotes that the website is safe and secure. It encrypts the communication so that it is only visible to the intended recipient. If you’re purchasing there, the address bar should read HTTPS. Don’t shop there if it doesn’t.
7. When shopping on a mobile device, be careful
We’re all guilty of it. Because it’s quick and straightforward, we use Amazon or another shopping app on our phones or tablet. We like to buy from the comfort of our couches or chairs rather than from a computer. However, the risk of identity theft or payment information theft via a mobile device is significantly larger than from a desktop computer.
Shortened URLs should be avoided. They’re prevalent on phones and mobile devices, but they could also be a ruse to get you to click on them. Avoid using these abbreviated addresses and instead, use the full address. Another thing to keep in mind is that you should install a virus protection app on your smartphone. Although most devices do not come with one, they are just as vulnerable to hackers and malware as your PC. You’ll want to keep them clean and secure, especially if you use them to purchase or browse.
Understanding how online security works is an important skill to have because it can help you avoid problems in the future. You can better protect yourself from identity theft and credit card fraud by being aware of your online presence and who has access to your information. Applying these methods to your online life is simple and straightforward, and it might save you a lot of time and aggravation in the future.
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