Thursday, February 1

6 Tips For Safer Online Shopping

6 Tips For Safer Online Shopping

Ecommerce platforms are a great place to find the best deals, compare prices, and ship products straight to your front door. However, there are malicious actors out there taking advantage of vulnerable people. The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center receives several reports relating to non-delivery scams annually. From identifying suspicious websites to turning down too-good-to-be-true deals, you can do a lot to buy goods safely online. Here are some proven tips for safe online shopping.

1. Shop with reputable merchants
Shopping safely is easier when you know the merchant and their reputation. You can trust that an online shopping site is safe if you verify that others have had consistently positive experiences with it. A reputable merchant can help you if there is any issue with your transaction. Take extra precautions when buying from a store you don’t know. You can do your background check by considering online reviews. Bad reviews could mean you have to think twice about ordering from the website. 

2. Avoid using e-stores that ask for too much information 

Ecommerce sites may ask buyers to provide some payment details, telephone numbers, and email addresses. But walking away is advisable when the merchant requires sensitive information like social security numbers, driver's licenses, and bank account deals. Some brands may ask you about your interest, but this is not mandatory. It would be best if you could check the merchant’s privacy policy page to understand how they use and process your information. Most online retailers state that they won't share or sell your information; meanwhile, others may claim ownership of your info and use it for abuse. Therefore, stick with online merchants that value and respect your privacy. 

 3. Use a secure connection and clear cookies 

Only a handful of internet users adequately protect their devices. Meanwhile, not protecting your network can make your passwords and financial information prone to hackers. A secure connection is a must for online shoppers who want to stay on the safer side. Consider encrypting your wireless network if you use it for online shopping. This will make it impossible for bad people looking around to steal your information. Virtual private network (VPN) apps can create an encrypted tunnel between your device and the server. They can mask your IP so that cybercriminals can’t see your actual location or steal your sensitive information. A VPN is the best tool to secure your connection when using public WiFi. It's important to note that clearing malicious cookies is also important for online safety. Ecommerce websites use cookies to track your identity and preferences. Unfortunately, some bad cookies can cause web browser issues on Android and iOS devices. You can read this article on how do i clear cookies on my iphone for more info. 

4. Don’t use your debit card

Scammers can directly access your bank account funds if your debit card is compromised. Therefore, use a mobile app or credit card instead to shop online. Some financial institutions provide disposable debit card numbers to boost shopping safety. Consider reviewing your electronic statements for credit and debit cards, and make sure you call your bank to address any matter promptly if you find out something is wrong. Credit card users will want to ensure the charges are accurate before they pay. You usually have up to 30 days to notify your bank or card issuer of problems, but it is worth noting that you may be liable for the charges.

5. Run away from too-good-to-be-true deals
Many retailers promote incredible deals to persuade buyers into their online stores. Unfortunately, cybercriminals understand this well and may attempt to take advantage of those searching for the best bargains. The rule of thumb is if a product’s price is too good to be true, it’s probably a trap. For instance, that high-quality 50-inch Ultra HD TV that usually costs thousands may show up selling for a few hundred. While rushing to click on the buy button can be tempting, you may want to take a step back and research. Find the authenticity of the company by looking it up to ensure it’s not a scam.

6. Activate multiple-factor authentication
Enabling multiple-factor authentication will add an extra layer of security to your online shopping accounts. Rather than relying on your regular password, MFA requires you to provide extra information to confirm your identity. For example, you may want to activate face recognition and one-time shortcodes from authenticator apps like Google to boost your account security. Multiple-factor authentication can deny unauthorized users access to your account, safeguarding your personal information.

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