Online shopping is a rage in the present times. It is interesting to know that this trend is not just limited to the holiday season. It goes on throughout the year. Customers are taking to online shopping mainly because of the great discounts and deals that they get on the web stores. The huge rush in the brick and mortar stores, and lack of time are the main factors that have led to the increasing popularity of these websites.
Here are top tips to shop safely from online stores.
1. Shop from trusted websites
Instead of choosing a website displayed in the search engine results, shop from a familiar website that you can trust. Sites like Amazon are less likely to pose a threat to your confidential information Do not purchase from a website that is displayed after the first few result pages. Watch out for spelling errors and websites that use an unusual top-level domain like .net rather than .com. These websites may pose a threat to your data and lead to an unpleasant shopping experience.
2. Check the green padlock in the address bar
It is recommended that you only buy online from websites that have a green padlock in the address bar. Make sure that the website has an EV SSL Certificate installed so that your information is encrypted and does not get leaked to the public. These websites will be displayed as HTTPS and not as HTTP. Check this without fail before shopping online.
3. Go through the customer’s ratings
Have a look at the customer feedback and ratings for the product you intend to buy. This will give you a clear idea on how the buyers have liked the product and enable faster decision making.
4. Pay through a credit card
If possible, make the payment through the credit card. As per the website by American Bar Association – safeshopping.org, credit card payment is safer as federal law provides special protection to credit card users and reduces their liability to USD50. There are certain card issuers that waive the entire fee or bear it on your behalf. You can even get a different account for shopping online so that you know exactly how the money is getting spent without any other miscellaneous transactions.
5. Do not provide credit card information on unsecure pages
If the website is not SSL certified, do not enter your personal details or credit card information. Always check for the green padlock on the checkout page of the ecommerce website. If it is not equipped with HTTPS, your confidential data is at risk of use by unauthorized sources.
6. Go through the return policies of the seller
Always make it a point to take a detailed look at the return policies of the seller. Also, run an eye over the fine print and learn about the shipping charges or any hidden restocking fees. Do not get carried away by coupon clubs as you may have to pay additional charge to redeem them.
7. Log out as soon as you complete the order process
Once you are done with shopping and the check out process, sign out of your account. This becomes more important if you are using a shared device to place the order. As a precautionary measure, clear the browser history, page cache and cookies.
8. Avoid sharing your social security number or birthday
Ecommerce websites usually do not need your birthday or social security number. In case you are trying to apply for being a seller at the website, you may need to enter all these details but not otherwise. Sharing your birthday does not sound like a big deal, but hackers can make use of it to know your identity.
10. Refrain from clicking on a coupon link sent by unauthorized sources
Do not click on any coupon links sent by third party sources without verifying them. Cross-side scripting is usually used to create a hyperlink that resembles the real website. Beware of such scammers and do not add any personal information on these links.
11. Research well before shopping from any website
Carry out proper research before you choose to shop from any website. If you find any suspicious elements, avoid placing any order. Check out for any complaints or grievances received for the website and only then complete the purchase.
12. Learn about the physical address of the seller
It is a must that you know the physical address of the seller and the place where they are based. This will make things easy for you even if you face any issue with the order.
13. Keep an eye on your financial statements
Check your financial statements for debit card and credit card at regular intervals rather than waiting for the monthly bank statement. In case you see any additional charges, immediately report it to the concerned authority before 30 days.
14. Get an antivirus on your device
Protect your device from hackers with an effective antivirus such as Norton Internet Security. It will prevent any data loss by virus like Trojan horse malware. Go for premium antivirus rather than free versions.
15. Using public Wi-Fi is a strict No-No
Access Wi-Fi only if you get a VPN (Virtual Private Network) connection. You can even set up a private connection using Anchor Free HotSpot Shield. This in turn will protect your data and mitigate any security risk.
Cyber crimes and scams are not a new thing anymore. We come across such incidents every once in a while. Follow these simple tips and you would not be a victim of any hacking threats on shopping websites.