Christmas is a little more than a month away and its now the season of discounts, discounts, and more discounts. But the latest reports on shopping suggests that more people will be (and are) doing their shopping online this holiday. There are many advantages of shopping online with sales, discounts, and ease-of-access being the main ones. However, online shopping also comes with its risks, especially with the threat of online scammers, hackers and thieves increasing.
According to the survey statistics, there is an 18% increase of online shopping during this holiday season which is 2% higher than last season which is over $10 billion in sales for just a few days. For such an attractive pie, there are also countless online hackers and thieves waiting for the unaware customer to fall into the many traps they set out, bleeding them of their money or even their identity. It’s found that over 25% of the online security breaches occur when people are shopping online which makes up a big portion of the internet.
So, what are you to do if you want to shop online but don’t want to be scammed out of your life savings? Well, consider following the safety tips for shopping online this season shown below:
Keep Track Of Your Online Activity
Technology has advanced to the point where you now don’t need to visit the back or wait for the end of the month to find out your credit card status. Most banks and money-lenders have their own apps or provide online banking which gives you access to your details including your transaction history and credit card statement.
You can use these apps or go with a third party tool which sends you an SMS or email when there is any activity done on your credit card. I have set up my credit card with this system where I receive an email and an SMS when there is a transaction on that particular card. This will give you the peace of mind to know that your credit card isn’t being misused without your knowledge.
Limit The Personal Information You Give Out
Online hackers are very inventive in ways to steal your personal information for their gains. So, when you are online, it’s always best to make your purchases through the “guest” account which is available for many websites.
If this is not available, it’s wise to not give out your personal information, not including your name, phone number, and address. Anything else should be avoided and may be someone trying to get more information out of you. Just imagine that merely adding their pet’s name has caused millions of users to be targeted by hackers because they used their pet’s name as their passwords.
Keep Your Home Network Protected
Always protect your home network by password protecting the WiFi connection so that no one misuses it or uses it to hack your devices. This is one of the biggest reasons networks get compromised by hackers and can be easy to avoid if you simply protect your network. All you have to do is log into your router settings and add a password to the security settings which will be required if anyone wants to connect to the WiFi.
Avoid Using Easy-To-Guess Passwords
Whatever you do, don’t use easy to guess passwords like names, important dates, and places. The passwords should be easy to remember but hard to guess. This is one of the essential points to remember in online shopping security.
Use A Separate Card For Online Purchases
The best way to protect your personal bank account is by keeping it isolated from the internet purchases. You can do this by using a separate credit card when paying online, even if it’s a payment through Bitcoin, PayPal or other payment gateways. All you have to do is transfer the funds you want to purchase with from your personal account to the account linked to the credit card you use for online transactions. This will limit the risk you put yourself into when online.
Keep Your Device’s Security Software Updated
It’s always wise to keep your personal computer or devise updated with the latest security patches and software. This is to ensure that the valuable information you have isn’t easily hackable when you surf the web.
Only Make Purchases On Well-Protected Sites
When you are about to make a purchase online, be sure to check if the website has a secure and valid encryption certification from a known entity like Symantec and VeriSign. This is usually visible with a green lock icon beside the website URL. If the website doesn’t have a valid encryption certificate, its best not to share your details there as its data may not be well-protected.
Set Up Your Card To Block Suspicious Activity
Credit card theft is now difficult with all the innovations in online shopping security. The best way to keep track of your credit is by using a service that keeps track of your purchases and flags any potential risks with a call to your primary phone number, an SMS, and an email alert. These services are also available with some banks and help credit fraud by a large margin.
The advantage of this is that if there is any suspicious activity on your credit card, you will be immediately notified. So, if you are living in New York and do most of your shopping there, you won’t be notified of each purchase. But if there is an unexpected purchase in Moscow with your credit card, it may be flagged as fraudulent and blocked before receiving confirmation from you.
Use An Antivirus And Ad Blocker To Avoid Malware
While it’s not common for most people to use Antivirus programs on their computers, it’s always best if you do because there are many viruses and malware that can attack your computer that aren’t stopped by the protection from the operating system.
You should also use an Adblocker plug-in on your browser to help avoid those pesky pop-ups. While most of these pop-ups aren’t harmful, some may install malware on your computer because of an accidental click from you. And if your computer gets infected with malware, it may be difficult to remove without compromising your files.
These were the top nine safety tips for shopping online this holiday season.