Stay Safe While Online Shopping – This Is How You Can Keep Your Money and Data Protected
The current situation is promoting online shopping a lot, but the privacy of data and cash is essential while doing. Before adding anything to your cart, you should get used to some of these safety habits. Following are the tips to improve your security:
Don’t use Public WiFi.
Using public WiFi can make you vulnerable to hackers and scammers. It might seem very pleasant to do online shopping while sitting in a café with your friends, but these public WiFi networks are not a secure platform to do so. The vulnerability of public networks allows hackers to steal passwords, browsing history, personal data and emails. Moreover, there is a high risk of giving away your credit card details to these hackers while using public WiFi networks. That’s why it is much safer to do online shopping at home using your secure network.
Use VPN or Mobile Data
Even if you are using public networks, use a VPN. A VPN is a secure network server that connects with ISP (Internet Service Provider). This makes it difficult for hackers to spy on your device over the public network and steal data. By using a VPN service, your data is encrypted and isolated from the public network. This is also called a VPN tunnel, through which all data is routed and thus isolated.
The other secure option to do online shopping while being outside of your home or away from your secure network is to use your mobile data. Mobile data has its private network and doesn’t need any VPN to make the connection safe.
Keep Your Passwords Updated
This is a simple and obvious yet essential step to make your online transactions secure. A report of the US National Cyber Security Crime showed that 23.2 million victims of online identity theft in 2019 happened because they were using too simple passwords to guess. There are a few steps you can take to keep your password strong and secure your transactions:
- Set different passwords for different accounts. The same passwords for all the accounts can make your all accounts vulnerable to just one successful attack.
- Keep your password lengthy. This is much convenient than one word.
- If you find difficulty in choosing a strong password, try using Password Manager.
Protect Yourself Against E-Mail Fraud
Email scams are very much an effective way to steal your credentials. These scammers are very smart, so you need to be extra careful to keep an eye on them. If you notice anything odd with any of the incoming email, there is a high chance that it is a scam email. Avoid clicking any links from any unknown email source as these can leave your computer with virus and become a source to attack your accounts. If you receive any scam emails from your close-contacts, their account most probably is hacked.
Keep Your Devices Updated
Keeping your mobile phones and computer updated is a crucial step to keep your accounts safe. Hackers are always looking for some back-door to get into your devices and steal your credentials. On the other hand, mobile phone companies also update the security patches as they detect any bug in the existing operating system. This is the reason you should keep your devices updated so that you are no longer vulnerable to any cyber-attack.
Use Trusted Platforms
You should be shopping from trusted online retailers. Still, if you want to shop something from a website that you don’t know, the following tips will help you to be sure of your safety:
- If there are a lot of grammatical mistakes in the content of the website, there is a high chance that its not a secure platform.
- Look for their social media contacts. If they are right and regular in customer interaction, then it implies that the website is secure.
- Read the comment section of the website to look for customer’s feedback.
Check the Returns Policy
Before buying any product online, make sure to check the policy in case of return. If you can’t find any return policy, then don’t go for any transaction. Try to find any email, contact number or inbox to ask about the return policy. If you can’t even find any contact information, then it means that it’s not a safe platform you.
Avoid Providing Too Much Personal Information
While signing-up or purchasing something from online websites make sure to give just the required information, a website can be bogus if they are asking too much personal and irrelevant information. For instance, you were asking about your family members and tax number. If you feel uncomfortable while providing your personal information, try contacting the website administration. Again, if there is no contact provided, then it is not a trusted and authentic website.
Use Secure Payment Methods
If a website is asking you to pay via wire-payment or sending them money directly (for instance, MoneyGram) or asking you to write a direct check to them, it is an indication of a bogus website. Always use trusted sources, for example, PayPodo, PayPal or via credit/debit cards if the website doesn’t accept payments through these secure methods than its better to walk away from these websites.
Keep Yourself Updated About Your Statement
Your bank statement keeps you informed about your transaction history. Some times these hackers and scammers, after stealing your credentials, take out a small amount of your money from your account monthly. These amounts are often very insignificant to notice, but by the time you get to know that something is not right about your account, it’s too late to recover the damage. The best way to tackle this situation is to keep on checking your statements and have full awareness of your every transaction. In case of any new transaction, don’t hesitate to contact your bank and to change your passwords immediately.
Online shopping is an uprising trend. It is essential to be safe while shopping from these platforms. The primary purpose is to protect your identity, credit-cards and passwords. In case of any uncertainty, take the necessary steps and chose a secure platform to perform your online transactions.