With the popularity of the Internet, shopping has thankfully become so much easier. But like most things in this world, this convenience is accompanied by risks, and as a shopper, you have to protect yourself. Not that you need a whole manual for this. Truth is, it’s easy as 123.
Below are five things to remember just before you click on Buy:
1.Pay through a payment service if possible.
Credit and debit cards are great, but you will be generally safer with online payment services (e.g. Paypal, Payoneer, etc.). Remember, those cards are linked to your bank account, which means if they get hacked, that bank account is automatically at risk. On the other hand, your credit card number gets stolen, you will get more protection and less liability. This is one time paying with plastic works best.
2. Shop only from secure websites.
Before keying in your personal or financial information, first make sure you’re using a legitimate and secure website. This is easy – just look for an “https” on the address bar. The “s” tells you that all information you provide as part of the purchase process will be encrypted before it travels the Internet. If it’s just “http,” don’t risk it.
3. Let your software update.
One of the simplest ways of protecting yourself as an online shopper is to update your software when it’s prompting you to. New security risks are created everyday, and updating your software ensures that it remains primed to work against those new threats. You may find it too inconvenient having to wait for the update process to end, but this is nothing compared to benefits you will get.
4. Avoid clicking links.
On top of those sneaky emails, links to offers that sound too good to be real should never be clicked. If something looks really tempting, at least do a bit of research first and see if anyone has actually benefited from that offer.
Improve your passwords.
There’s a reason you hear this advice ever so often: it’s absolutely important. Unique are your first line of defense when it comes to protecting your private information. If you use a single password multiple sites, it’s time to change every one of them. There are password generators that will make it easier for you to create complex and more effective passwords that hackers will likely shy away from.
It’s undeniable that web shopping is one of the best gifts of technology this generation. But this is something that we need to learn to enjoy with a sense of responsibility, if only for our protection.