While online shopping has revolutionized the way we shop today, we need to give some serious thought to the way we spend online, risks involved and the ways to mitigate those risks.
All online shoppers are vulnerable to these risks as scammers and cybercriminals are always lurking and can target any one.
Read our simple guidelines on how to safeguard your sensitive personal information from falling into the wrong hands.
Step# 1 – Clean Machine
The first basic safety step is to ensure that your machine is clean from viruses, malwares, spywares or any other infections.
Install a good anti-virus program and keep all your apps and software updated to the latest version esp your firewalls and virus protection software. Make sure that all web-connected devices like smartphones, tablets and PCs are clean too.
Step # 2 – Use Trusted Websites
Always begin shopping at a trusted site rather than a search engine. Search engine results can be manipulated to include malicious links. Ofcourse these links will have some enticing offers, but the thumb rule is – when in doubt, opt out.
You can reduce the risk in most cases by 100% if you type in the URL of a familiar trusted site. Everyone today is aware of online stores like Amazon.com or retailers like Walmart.com and that is where you should start shopping online.
Step # 3 – Love the Lock
Beware of sites that doesn’t have SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption layer installed. SSL is crucial when passing sensitive information like credit card, social security number or login details for secure transmission.
The SSL secured websites have their address starting with https rather than http that are vulnerable to eavesdropping. Another way to quickly check if the website uses SSL is the lock icon or green address bar.
Step # 4 – Say No to Public Wi-Fi or Public Terminals
You sure are aware of the dangers of using public hotspots, wi-fi network or terminals. Fraudsters are waiting for an opportunity to intercept your personal information, login details and sensitive data which is particularly easy to fetch on public networks.
Avoid checking your social media accounts and emails on public terminals as all this can wait till you have access to your private machine. If you wish to compare some last minute prices before buying in a store and need to use public hotspot, use your cellular network to do it, as it is much safer.
Step #5 – Links in Emails
Think twice before opening any links in a promotional mails or ads containing attachments which could be contaminated with malicious code or can be a spam mail to hack personal information. Stay away from emails that say that there is problem with your credit card or free gift with your purchase.
Best practice is to maintain a separate mail account for online shopping altogether.
Step #6 – Check your bank/ credit card statements often
Don’t wait for month-end to check your bank/ credit card statements. Whenever you make a purchase or notice any fraudulent transactions go online and check your statements.
Inform the bank or credit card provider right away. The consumer is not liable to pay for fraud and can reclaim the transaction if action is taken well in time.
Step #7 – Use strong Passwords
Prevention is better than cure. Ensure that you use unique and strong passwords for every site esp ones holding your financial information. Never share your password. Consider saving password in the browser only if you are the only one using the machine. At any point in time if you feel that your email or account is compromised, change password immediately.
Step #8 – Go mobile
More and more retailers are now offering mobile app for shopper’s convenience and safer environment to make purchase online.
But there are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind. Download app created by trusted developers and preferably from secure marketplaces like Google Play or Amazon. Always remember to scan downloaded apps for viruses and malwares.
Step #9 – Read the terms and conditions carefully
It might sound like a herculean task, but when you get into the habit of reading the terms and conditions that you are agreeing to before signing up on a website, you make sure that your personal data is in safe hands.
Step #10 – Use safe payment options
Credit card is by far considered the safest payment option. Third party payment systems like PayPal, offer an extra layer of security making it a popular payment option for those looking for easy yet safe method of payment. Virtual wallets are also in the limelight as they provide the flexibility of requesting a reclaim of fraudulent transaction.
Avoid using Debit cards whenever possible as they do not provide a robust protection against fraudsters who might get access directly to the bank account.
PureVPN for Safe and Secure Online Shopping
VPN (Virtual Private Network) is the best tool to secure your data when using a public WiFi.
While you might be blissfully paying for the headphones you like online, someone somewhere might be waiting for you to punch in your credit card details and hack your identity.
So while the above 10 steps offer limited protection, you can raise your security level by using PureVPN for extra protection and benefits like –
- Trusted service used by 1 million+ customers worldwide.
- PureVPN encrypts your internet connection to prevent hackers from accessing your instant messenger chats, e-mails and personal information.
- It allows you to surf the web anonymously making it impossible for third -parties and ISPs to trace your activities.
- PureVPN gives you the freedom to unblock any website or streaming channel from anywhere on any device.
- PureVPN runs seamlessly
- PureVPN is compatible with all popular OS and devices and supports protocols like PPTP, L2TP/IPSec and SSTP protocols.
- Reliable service backed by 7-day money back guarantee.
While shopping online is convenient, easy, cheaper and fast, you can even make it safe and secure your data by using PureVPN. Make sure you apply the steps laid out for you earlier for a fun holiday shopping experience.
Author Bio: Andy G is inclined to problem solving at shoutability.com. A tech geek to the core, he burns the midnight oil too often .. that’s until he is there with a fix. He is a lead vocalist for his neighbourhood band and his crew says, he is the best thing since sliced bread. Loves Japanese and an absolute crazy for Sushi. He can be seen blogging for some major tech sites.