Thanks to the World Wide Web, shopping can now be done as conveniently as ever. However, this convenience doesn’t come without a risk, and it is your job as a shopper to make sure you are safe. Not that you need a whole manual for this. Fact is, it’s insanely easy if you come to think of it.
Remember the following tips next time you shop online:
1. Use a payment service if available.
We love our credit and debit cards, but if you’re paying online, you’ll be safer with a payment service such as Google Pay, Paypal, and the like. Note that these cards are connected to your bank account, so if they are exposed, so is that bank account. On the flip side, you will be more protected and less liable should your credit card number end up stolen. This is one time plastics rule.
2. Shop only from secure websites.
Before keying in your personal or financial information, first make sure you’re using a legitimate and secure website. The easiest way around this is to look for “https” on the left side of the site’s web address. The “s” tells you that all information you provide as part of the purchase process will be encrypted before it travels the Internet. It all you see is “http,” back off.
3. Allow your software to update.
Among the easiest ways to stay safe while web shopping is to allow that software update when your vendor is prompting for one. New security risks are created everyday, and updating your software ensures that it remains primed to work against those new threats. You may hate having to wait for that update process to finish, but the benefits will be worth that extra patience.
4. Don’t open links indiscriminately.
On top of those sneaky emails, links to offers that sound too good to be real should never be clicked. If you’re really tempted to open one, at least do a bit of research.
Improve your passwords.
You hear this advice practically everywhere for a reason: it’s really important. Unique are your first line of defense when it comes to protecting your private information. If you’ve relied on one and the same password for various sites, take time to create a different one for each. There are password generators that will make it easier for you to create complex and more effective passwords that hackers will likely shy away from.
There is no doubt that online shopping is one of the most indispensable benefits reaped by this generation. But this is something we can only truly enjoy with a healthy sense of responsibility for our own welfare.