Every year, consumers all over the globe spend billions upon billions of their hard-earned money shopping online. Bearing in mind the convenience it brings—especially during this time, there are a million and one reasons to love this idea. Above all, online shopping is relatively safer than going out.
Speaking of which, it’s also important to note that safety concerns aren’t just limited by the threat of the coronavirus, and all the other diseases. With online shopping, for instance, your first line of protection begins and ends with us and our digital device.
We’ve reached out to some of our friends in the tech industry to know more about some practical security tips when shopping online. Here are their thoughts:
1. Use Only Secure Passwords
I believe that when you’re creating an online profile, you would usually see that it states whether your password is safe or not. I would urge you to always aim for a “really strong” one, with a good mix of lower cases, upper cases, numbers, and signs. Or better yet…
– Joseph Ferdinando, Founder, Hot Head Tech
2. Use a Password Manager App
Many Ecommerce stores require you to create an account to make a purchase. This can be a security vulnerability for you if you use the same password in multiple places.
Use a password manager app of your choice to help you create a unique password just for that site. If that site ends up having a security breach, then you can rest easy knowing that the password you’ve stored there won’t cause you any issues.
– Jim Lastinger, CEO, Ghost Path, Inc.
3. Turn On Notifications
If you haven’t already set up alerts on your accounts, then now is the time to do it. Notifications are sent directly to your mobile each time a transaction is made. Being alerted immediately means that you can notify your bank immediately of fraudulent transactions. Knowing that you’ll be alerted of each and every transaction really gives you peace of mind when shopping online.
– Ahmed Mir, Founder, Sip Coffee House
4. Always Buy from Reputable Websites
When shopping online, it’s important to only buy on reputable, well-known sites. You might find a great deal on a website that you’ve never heard of before, but oftentimes these deals are too good to be true. Making a purchase on an unknown website can put your credit or your debit card information and personal data at risk.
This can happen, for example, when the owners have bad intentions. An additional way you’re exposed to risk, however, is because of the lower security standards that these sites typically have. This makes them a prime target for hackers and gives you another good reason to stay away from them.
When in doubt, always go with a website that’s well-known and that has a good reputation. It’s better to miss out on a good deal once in a while than it is to have your payment information stolen even once.
– Tim Koster, Founder, Clever Creations
5. Don’t Shop Online When Using Public Wi-Fi
If you’re connected to the web via a Wi-Fi different from your house’s, you should avoid online shopping at all costs. Buying online requires you to input personal and banking information, information that could be accessed by fraudsters who also use that public network.
6. As Much as Possible, Pay with Credit Rather than Debit
A credit card doesn’t give a seller direct access to the money in your bank, and they’re almost 100% fraud-proof. If your credit card company notices any suspicious activity, they’ll call you to make sure it’s you. If it’s not you, all expenses will be declined.
– Tom Winter, Co-Founder, Dev Skiller
7. Be Sure to Check the Checkout’s URL
During checkout, if you’re being forwarded to a payment environment, check the URL before entering payment information. This can help you identify whether you’ve been forwarded to a real PayPal environment or a counterfeit page that was designed to look just like a real PayPal page, for instance. The URL will probably tell you which scenario applies.
8. Be Careful with Online Shops from Targeted Social Media Advertisements
Just because an online store’s ads were approved to be displayed on Facebook or other social media sites, doesn’t mean the online store is legitimate. Facebook has been known for its questionable vetting process regarding advertisers, and many scam sites have pulled in thousands of victims through Facebook advertising.
– David Janssen, Cybersecurity Analyst, VPN Overview
9. Never Store Information Online
This may be convenient for your future purchases, but stored information can possibly be stolen by hackers. Don’t ever save your credit card information online just like you don’t give it through email or over the phone.
– Sonya Schwartz, Founder, Her Norm
10. Know the Difference Between HTTP and HTTPS
When you see an “S” at the end of the HTTP portion of the URL, it means that the site is secure. Only do shopping on sites with that “S.” Finally, make sure you update your browser before you shop.
– Robert Siciliano, Cyber Social Identity Protection Instructor, Protect Now