Tips for Safe Online Shopping

There’s every reason in the world to shop online. The bargains are there. The selection is mind-boggling. The shopping is secure. Shipping is fast. Even returns are easy, with the right e-tailers. Shopping has never been easier or more convenient for consumers. And in the age of COVID, it’s safer than going out even if you’re fully masked and gloved. 

But what about the bad guys? It happens. The FBI’s own Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)(Opens in a new window) says the number one cybercrime of 2019 in half the 50 states was related to online shopping: non-payment for or non-deliver of goods purchased. 

Stay calm. While somewhat alarming, these stats should not keep you from shopping online. You simply need to use some common sense and follow practical advice. Here are basic guidelines; use them and you can shop with confidence.

Look for the Lock

Look for the Lock

Never buy anything online using your credit card from a site that doesn’t have SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption installed—at the very least. You’ll know if the site has SSL because the URL for the site will start with HTTPS—instead of just HTTP. An icon of a locked padlock will appear, typically to the left of the URL in the address bar or the status bar down below; it depends on your browser. HTTPS is standard now even on non-shopping sites, enough that Google Chrome flags any page without the extra S as “not secure.” So a site without it should stand out even more.

Don’t Overshare

Don't Overshare

No online shopping e-tailer needs your Social Security number or your birthday to do business. However, if crooks get them and your credit card number, they can do a lot of damage. The more scammers know, the easier it is to steal your identity. When possible, default to giving up as little personal data as possible. Major sites get breached all the time. 

 

Online shopping has become a convenient and popular way to shop. However, it is important to be aware of the risks involved and take necessary precautions to ensure a safe shopping experience. Here are 10 tips for safe online shopping:

Tips

10 Tips for Safe Online Shopping

Online shopping has become increasingly popular in recent years. It’s convenient, easy, and often offers great deals. However, there are also some risks associated with online shopping, such as identity theft and credit card fraud.

Here are 10 tips to help you shop online safely:

  1. Only shop on secure websites. Look for the “https”:// at the beginning of the website address. This indicates that the website is using a secure protocol, which encrypts your personal information as you enter it.
  2. Beware of phishing emails. Phishing emails are emails that appear to be from a legitimate company, but they’re actually from scammers trying to steal your personal information. These emails often contain links that, when clicked, will take you to a fake website that looks like the real website.
  3. Never enter your personal information on a public Wi-Fi network. Public Wi-Fi networks are often not secure, which means that hackers could potentially intercept your personal information as you enter it.
  4. Use a strong password for your online accounts. Your password should be at least 12 characters long and include a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
  5. Keep your software up to date. Software updates often include security patches that can help protect your devices from malware and other threats.
  6. Be careful about what information you share online. Don’t share your full name, address, phone number, or other personal information on social media or other public websites.
  7. Use a credit card for online purchases. Credit cards offer more protection than debit cards in the event of fraud.
  8. Monitor your credit card statements for unauthorized charges. If you see any charges that you didn’t make, report them to your credit card company immediately.
  9. Use a virtual credit card for added protection. A virtual credit card is a credit card that is linked to your real credit card, but it has a different number. This means that if your virtual credit card number is stolen, the thief can’t use it to make purchases on your real credit card.
  10. Be aware of the signs of a scam. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Be wary of websites that offer discounts that are too good to be true, or that ask for your personal information before you’ve even made a purchase.

By following these tips, you can help protect yourself from the risks of online shopping and have a safe and secure shopping experience.

Additional tips:

  • Use a secure payment processor. This will help protect your financial information during the checkout process.
  • Keep your computer up to date with security software. This will help protect your computer from malware and other threats.
  • Be aware of the latest scams. There are always new scams popping up, so it’s important to stay informed about the latest ones.

By following these tips, you can help protect yourself from the risks of online shopping and have a safe and secure shopping experience.

 

 

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