E-commerce has blessed our daily lives with a lot of convenience. When the shopping list is getting substantial, last thing you want to do is roam through endless shopping malls. Making your purchases online – from the comfort of your home or a coffee shop – feels like a better choice.
Sadly, the comfort of online shopping sometimes comes at a serious price. It is all too easy to overlook your safety when you are so busy hunting after best deals online. How can you avoid falling prey to the numerous online shopping scams out there?
Shopping Online: What to Look Out For
Following the tips below will help you stay safe from e-commerce fraud:
- Shop in a safe online environment. Avoid shopping online from a public Wi-Fi network. All it takes is one tech-savvy criminal to exploit its vulnerabilities and your credit card is no longer safe. If you can’t avoid shopping online from public Wi-Fi networks, use a virtual private network (VPN) to secure connection. A good VPN hides all your Internet traffic inside a secure encrypted tunnel making your data hard to intercept.
- Use a strong password. Strong passwords contain at least 8 random characters consisting of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols. Use a different password for every account.
- Use a secure connection. Before you key in your password or credit card information, make sure the web site’s URL starts with ‘https’. If it starts with just ‘http’, there’s no encryption for the connection between you and the website. Which means that nothing protects your data from interception.
- Analyze the website and the company. Genuine online stores have authentic contact information and use neither outdated nor brand new websites. Negative reviews about them will also not call them ‘fraud’ or ‘scam’.
- Mind the red flags. Deals that seem too good to be true are usually a scam. Resist the temptation to buy something at a 50% discount or click ‘special offers’ from unknown email senders.
- Maintain your privacy. Genuine online stores will never ask for your personally identifiable information such as your social security number.
- Use the safest payment option. Paying with a virtual credit card is the safest option. Such credit cards allow you to generate a number for every new online payment keeping your real information private.
- Save transaction data. Keep track of your credit card statements, receipts, order confirmation numbers and postal tracking numbers. In case the business you paid to was bogus, all this information would help you take appropriate action.
Shopping Online: Safety First
Looking for the things you want online can be very exciting. And buying those things online can be very convenient once you have finally found them. But prioritizing the fun and comfort of online shopping over your safety may not be in your best interest. After all, who wants to give their money to criminals instead of buying things they want for themselves online?