Safely Shop Online: 12 Hot Tips

Every year, billions of dollars are spent as people safely shop online. While most transactions are secure, protection isn't guaranteed.

Every year, billions of dollars are spent as people safely shop online. While most transactions are secure, protection isn’t guaranteed.

There’s no excuse not to shop online. There are bargains. The choice is staggering. Delivery is amazingly fast. Good e-tailors allow returns. Overall, it’s relatively easy to safely shop online. Consumers have never had it easier or more convenient. In some ways, it’s even safer than going out.

On the other hand, the FBI’s own Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) says the top cybercrime of 2019 in half of the states was non-payment or non-delivery of ordered products.

However, remain calm. These statistics should not deter you from shopping online. You just need to use common sense and follow suggestions. Use these fundamental tips to shop with confidence.

1. Only use known websites.

Search results can be manipulated, especially after the first few pages of links. Knowing the site makes it less likely to be a scam. Misspellings and webpages with a different top-level domain (.net instead of .com) are old techniques. These sites’ sales may look appealing, but that’s how they get your information.

2. For safety, look for the lock.

Never buy anything online with a credit card from a site that has no SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption. If the site has SSL, the URL will begin with HTTPS instead of just HTTP. A padlock icon will display on the left of the URL in the address bar, though this depends on your browser. Even sites not designed for shopping now use HTTPS, and Google Chrome marks non-secure pages as “not secure.”

3. Oversharing is not safe.

No internet retailer needs your SSN or birthday to do business. However, crooks can do a lot of damage with them and your credit card data. Scammers know this and use it to take your identity. Whenever possible, default to giving up less personal data.

4. Online blur increases safety.

Abine’s Blur is a password manager and much more. For $39 a year, you may shop without giving your email, phone number, or even credit card number. It’s one of the best internet privacy tools around.

5. Safely shop online using strong passwords.

In a recent poll, 11 % said they changed their passwords daily. However, those people are either paranoid or liars. Most people only change their passwords once a year (27 percent) or never (35 percent).

If you’re in the latter category, we’ll reiterate the need of using secure passwords. It’s crucial when banking and purchasing online. It’s that time of year when shopping around involves registering new accounts on e-commerce sites.

Your perfect password is not perfect. Use a password manager to generate strong passwords for you. It keeps track of them and enters them for you.

6. Safety requires that you check statements often.

Don’t wait for your monthly charge. View your credit card, debit card, and bank account statements online periodically, especially around the holidays. Examine any fraudulent charges, including those from PayPal and Venmo.

Only use a credit card to buy online. Scammers might access your bank funds if your debit card is compromised. A vendor that wants to be paid by wire transfer is a major red flag.

The Fair Credit Billing Act limits your liability for fraudulent credit card charges to $50. Even if you’re unhappy with a purchase, you’re protected.

If you see a problem, call the company right away. Pay your credit card bill only when you are sure all charges are correct. If you don’t contact your bank or card issuer within 30 days, you may be liable for the charges.

7. For further safety, “vaccinate” your PC.

Swindlers don’t just wait for you to provide them with info. They sometimes give you something extra to help. Regularly updating your antivirus program protects you against infection.

Better yet, purchase a full-featured security suite that fights spam, spear-phishing and web phishing assaults. The latter two try to steal your personal info by mimicking a message or site that looks legit. Installing security software isn’t enough. Keep your anti-malware tools updated. Otherwise, new threats — and there are always new threats — can enter.

8. Check your WiFi security.

Stick to known networks, even if they’re free. In addition, you should use a VPN for security reasons.

9. Avoid public online shopping.

Why not shop on your laptop while you’re out? In a public cafe, avoid giving anyone time to see your goods. Similarly, it’s sometimes possible to see valuable data when you are typing your credit card number, expiration date, and 3-digit code.

In order to more safely shop online, sit near the back entrance. Use trusted sites that store your credit card so you don’t have to bring it out for anything.

10. Your smartphone safely replaces your card.

Paying with a smartphone is becoming standard in brick-and-mortar establishments. In addition, it’s actually safer than using a credit card. Making a transaction with a mobile payment software like Apple Pay provides a unique authentication code that no one else can use.

You don’t even need your credit card. So what if you’re shopping online? Many apps now accept Apple Pay and Google Pay. Your fingerprint, face, or passcode does it instantly.

11. Safely Shop Online: Buyer Beware!

If you’re suspicious of a site, investigate. The BBB maintains a directory and a scam tracker online. Amazon and eBay have many reviews. Test firms before giving them your credit card number.

The most prevalent cybercrime complaint is non-delivery/non-payment. Additionally, online reviews can be faked. If you only see positive feedback and can’t verify the writers, trust your gut.

Ensure you have the seller’s address and phone number. If things go wrong, you have somewhere to complain. Call them before you buy so you know their return policy and where to go if you have concerns.

12. Stick up for your safety. Gripe loud and proud.

In conclusion, don’t feel humiliated if you’re scammed while shopping online. Instead, become enraged. Contact the vendor. If you’re not satisfied, contact the FTC, your state’s attorney general, or the FBI.

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