Online shopping is an extremely convenient aspect of the past decade and is steadily overtaking conventional shopping. This is because it lets you buy whatever you want from all over the world with just a few clicks. From parts for your car, to renew an internet subscription through a spectrum payment center, you can get anything you want online. This has revolutionized global shopping habits and opened up many opportunities for both buyers and sellers.
However, online shopping does have a few challenges. Naturally, when you’re shopping, you need to enter personal and financial information on various websites. While reliable websites all have security measures in place, you need to be vigilant at your end as well. Otherwise, malicious parties may leak and misuse your data.
Here are some online shopping tips, how you can protect your personal information on your online shopping sprees.
1. Do Not Use Public WiFi Networks
While you may be tempted to use public WiFi networks when you’re out and about, avoid doing so. This is because these connections are not as secure as your private home WiFi networks. Furthermore, hackers may be lying in wait to exploit any vulnerabilities in your systems.
Therefore, do not use public WiFi networks to carry out your online shopping activities. If you absolutely must, use your mobile network, with all due diligence in place. Otherwise, wait until you get home to use your secure, private network.
2. Set Strong Passwords
This is a core aspect of internet security. Passwords form the basis of how you protect your information online and are the most convenient security method. However, you really need to work on strong, unguessable passwords. Do not use any identifying information such as your birthdate, children’s names, or anything like that in your passwords.
In addition, use a healthy mix of alphabets, special characters, and numbers to really mix things up.
Furthermore, do not set the same password for every website. If you’re afraid you’ll forget all these passwords, use a password keeper to organize them. Do not write them down and leave them lying around your computer.
3. Install Protective Measures
Apart from strong passwords, you also need to add a few more layers of security. Good antivirus software is the right place to start. It will protect your devices from most threats such as viruses, malware, worms, and others. It may even warn you about phishing or password guessing attempts. There are numerous all-rounder security suites out there that you can use easily.
A firewall is another essential security measure for your devices. It acts as a guard against incoming traffic and detects anything suspicious. Basically, it filters your network traffic in a vigilant way and protects your computer from malware.
4. Check Site Security
Always shop from reliable websites. It’s best to shop from brands you know about and only use their official websites. In addition, you must check site security status when you access a new website. This is easy, as you just need to look at your browser’s bar and confirm if there’s a closed padlock icon at the left. Furthermore, the URL should start from HTTPS instead of HTTP.
Only use these secure websites for your online shopping. If you attempt to use an unsafe website, your browser will warn you as well. Do not ignore the warnings, and leave such websites immediately.
5. Watch Out for Phishing Attempts
Do not click on suspicious links or open fishy emails. These are usually phishing attempts aimed at getting your personal and financial information to misuse. So, avoid email offers that look too good to be true, because they usually are.
In addition, only click on links if you absolutely know where they’re leading. Phishing is one of the most common ways of getting into your systems, so you need to be vigilant.
6. Use Credit Instead of Debit Cards
It is safer to use credit instead of debit cards. This is because the former has a lot of security protocols in place, and often involves multi-factor authentication. In addition, when you use a debit card, and then its information is misused, then the money will disappear from your account. There is a very short window where you can report fraudulent transactions, and it can take some time for the money to be refunded.
On the other hand, credit card transactions are reversed within a reasonable time period if you report them at any point, without being responsible for the due amount.
In conclusion, you need to protect your personal information when shopping online. It is quite easy to do so, therefore, you should be on your guard at all times.