Shopping online is quite convenient and can be a lot of fun, but it is important to protect your personal information while surfing the web, here are some simple tips that will help you stay safe when shopping online:
- Make sure the sites you visit are encrypted, look for “https://” in the web address and the padlock icon in the address bar at the top of your browser.
- Never give out your personal information, such as your social security number or credit card number, on a website you don’t trust.
- Help yourself with a good antivirus, do not forget to keep it updated.
- Use strong passwords and change them frequently.
- Keep a record of your purchase history and all the movements of your credit card, check everything regularly to make sure that no strange movements were made.
- Be careful with links in e-mails or social networks, if you feel that something is not right, do not click on them for any reason.
Research well the online stores you are accessing
Think well before clicking on the “buy” button, take some time to research about that store, make sure it is a reputable store, get it by checking user reviews and looking for an SSL certificate.
What is an SSL certificate? Basically it is a sign that the site is secure and that your data is encrypted, you can check if a site has an SSL certificate by locating the padlock icon in the address bar and seeing “https” instead of “http”.
When you are surfing the web and a product catches your eye, it is normal that you feel like clicking immediately, but before doing so, think for a moment: is the link authentic or was it supplanted by a hacker?
The aforementioned hackers are getting more and more sophisticated, they are able to create very realistic looking emails and links that trick you into providing your personal information, so if something looks too good to be true, be cautious, don’t click on a link or open an email attachment that is unfamiliar to you.
And always check if the website has the security certificate before providing any personal information, you should see a padlock icon in the address bar, and the web address should start with “https”, this is an indication that the website is secure and your data is protected.
Use strong passwords
Your first line of defense against hackers is your passwords, so take the time to create strong passwords, make sure you use a different password for each website and mix characters, use uppercase, lowercase, numbers and symbols.
If you have trouble remembering several passwords, use a password manager to keep them all secure, and don’t use the same username and password for your email account and your online shopping account, that could cause you some problems.
For example, certain sites collect all kinds of information about you, such as your name, address, phone number, e-mail address, payment information, etc., but they may not have a policy in place to protect this data, so it never hurts to check that they have such a policy.
Familiarizing yourself with the website’s return and exchange policies is also important, because they are helpful if you want to make sure you will be satisfied with the purchases you make, if something goes wrong with a product or its delivery, or if you simply change your mind, what are your rights as a customer? All of these are important things to keep in mind when shopping online.
Look for “safety” signs on the sites
When making an online purchase, it is imperative that you are aware of the security features of the website, you should always be on the lookout for any “security” symbols you see on the site that may indicate the existence of encryption or other security measures.
Be sure to look for signs of trust, such as logos of payment processors like Visa or MasterCard, or contact customer service if you are concerned about something, and ask them for more detailed information about their security measures.
It will also be useful for you to check and analyze reviews about the company or website you are thinking of buying from. What do other people say about their experience with this seller? Read their reviews, they will help you feel secure when making your purchase.
Use security software, VPN and other tools.
Take extra steps to make sure your online purchases are secure, start with security software that is able to detect and prevent malicious programs from being installed on your computer, phone or tablet. A VPN (virtual private network) can give you extra protection when you are away from home, as it creates a secure connection between the device you are using and the internet.
Make use of two-step authentication when available, this requires the user to confirm their identity by providing a code sent to their phone number or email address before they can log into an account.
Frequently monitor your accounts for any unauthorized activity, it is also advisable to use a credit card instead of a debit card whenever possible for added protection against fraud, all of these measures help create an extra layer of security that can help keep you protected from cyber criminals and keep your online shopping experience safe.