Our product and purchasing capabilities have undergone drastic changes since the advent of online shopping. Given the lucrative bargains, mind-boggling selection, fast shipping, and easy returns, there exist ample reasons for shopping online.
The COVID-19 pandemic has added further fuel to the fire by offering greater peace of mind as you get to deliver your desired products and services to your home address without having to actually brave outdoors.
But this increasing reliance of people on online shopping is also opening the floodgates for hacking and phishing attacks. Frauds related to shopping online have increased by a third during the COVID lockdown.
Although this might seem very alarming, you can continue with the trend by following the online shopping tips shared by us below:
Safe Online Shopping Tips
Also Read: Future of Digital Transformation
Shop Only From Trusted Websites
While shopping online, you should always proceed with a trusted website. Chances of being ripped-off gets marginalised while shopping from a known site. You can take the example of Amazon which is a premier online shopping portal known to deliver top-notch goods to users.
Often fake sites use a different top-level domain like .net in the place of .com for confusing customers and luring them in. They even offer lucrative discounts for tricking unsuspecting users into sharing sensitive data like bank credentials.
Beware Of Oversharing
An important online shopping tip is to never share redundant information like your birthday and social security number with online retailers. If they can somehow manage to get your credit card details, then they can do bigger damage in the form of identity theft.
This also holds true with trusted websites which might fall prey to hacking attempts, thus making your data highly vulnerable.
Look For SSL Encryption
Secure Sockets layer is one of the most basic security prerequisites if you wish to undertake safe shopping online. Websites with SSL shall have an URL beginning with HTTPS rather than just HTTP.
A locked padlock icon appears on the status bar at the bottom of the screen or the left side of the URL in the address bar. Positioning of the padlock is totally determined by the kind of browser you are using. Google Chrome for example flags websites without HTTPS URL as ‘non secure.’
Keep Tab On Your Bank Statements
The best thing about using a credit card is that you can spend to your heart’s extent and deal with the bill only at the end of the month. But if you are wondering how to do online shopping, then you need to keep tab over your bank statement regularly.
You can check the electronic statements of your debit or credit card during weekends or whenever you get free time. Here you need to search for fraudulent charges even when they are levied by original payment sites like Venmo and PayPal.
It is always advisable to use your credit card for carrying out safe shopping online. The scammers might get access to your entire bank funds if the debit card gets compromised in any way.
Get A Good Anti-Virus Program For Safe Shopping Online
Your laptop or smartphone gets exposed to the internet while shopping online. This makes it very crucial to get your anti-virus updated at a regular interval. You can opt for a full-blown security suite equipped with antivirus software for complete peace of mind. They are also helpful in fighting phishing attacks, spear-phishing emails, and spam.
But just having a heavy-duty program installed in your machine won’t be of much help if you don’t update it on a regular basis. Otherwise, it will not be able to offer a cushion of protection against newer threats.
Avoid Shopping In Public Areas
When was the last time you shopped for something online while sitting in the supermarket food court? If you are guilty as charged, then you have already exposed your bank credentials to risky waters.
An over-the-shoulder snooper could have easily made out your credit card number, 3-digit CVV code and its expiration date. To keep things on the safer side, you should always shop online from the privacy of your house and through trusted gateways.
Don’t Shop Using Public Wi-Fi
Free networks offered at Starbucks and similar stores might not be adequately strong in the security department. It is always advisable to stick to your mobile network or home Wi-Fi for safe shopping online.
Use Smartphone More While Shopping Online
Mobile payment apps like Apple Pay can help you transact easily in brick-and-mortar stores. It can help you undertake safe shopping online by generating a one-time user authentication code.
This assists in undertaking the transaction with maximum security so that hackers cannot steal your credentials. These applications support both QR code scanning and payment to another merchant account.
The mobile payment solutions can also buffer users from card skimmers and keep your wallet lightweight as you don’t need to carry your cards along anymore.
Run Background Checks On The Seller
Users should always undertake due diligence on the website and seller for safe shopping online. You can easily scan through retailer reviews from the search engines of Google or Bing. This can guarantee you peace of mind before sharing the card details for shopping online.
At the same time, it is also imperative to note that online reviews can be rigged. If you see nothing but 5 stars for a seller, then it actually is a red flag. You can also make out whether or not the writers are legitimate by following your instincts while scanning through the reviews.
If you are feeling clueless even after reading the reviews, then you need to make sure that the website offers a working phone number and concrete address of the seller. This can help you file a complaint if things don’t actually go your way.
It is definitely more convenient to use the online mode of shopping as you can access a variety of products at lucrative prices without leaving your house.
While undertaking safe shopping online, you can make use of the rebate apps for earning cashback from your purchase.