8 Tips for Shopping Safely Online
Shopping online is wonderfully convenient, with items on demand in just a few clicks of a button. While online shopping has certainly changed the way that many consumers interact with brands, it’s always a good idea to be wary when giving out credit card information online. There are many malicious scams and people with ill intentions out there, so it’s important to take the proper steps to ensure safe online shopping. With Cyber Monday just around the corner, here are a few tips for shopping safely online this busy holiday season.
#1 Only use trusted shopping websites.
A great way to safely shop online is to only use trusted shopping websites. For example, any Shopify online store is secure because Shopify does not allow third party storeowners access to your payment information; all transactions are handled through Shopify itself. This is a great way to support small businesses while still protecting yourself. If a website feels off to you, leave the site and shop elsewhere. Trusting your gut is always preferred to blindly giving out personal information online.
#2 Log in to shopping sites using unique passwords.
Many online shopping sites require you to log in so that you may review order histories, track packages, and so on. When registering for an account, it’s always a good idea to use a unique password that isn’t easily cracked (“12345” or “password” obviously aren’t going to cut it). One way to make a secure password is thinking of a phrase. For example: “I think oranges taste great, too!” As a password, this becomes: “Itotg2!”. Give this a try the next time a password requires capital letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
#3 Look for the “secure” lock on your browser.
Whether you use Google Chrome, Mozilla FireFox, or Internet Explorer, be on the lookout for the “secure” lock in the top left-hand corner of your browser. The lock symbol is an indication that any information that is sent or delivered through the site is secure and private, eliminating any chance of your information being leaked to a third-party. Should a “not secure” or “dangerous” symbol be present, proceed with extreme caution or avoid the site entirely.
#4 Use a personal computer and private Internet connection.
Free public Wi-Fi can be a great way to stay connected at the local coffee shop or library, but it’s not recommended if you want to do some online shopping. You never know who actually owns the Wi-Fi modem, and therefore who has free access to your information on the other end of the signal. When shopping online, it’s highly recommended that you do so from a personal device at home and only use a secured and private Internet connection.
#5 Update your device’s firewall and anti-virus.
There are many people out there that will do anything to get to your information. This is why it’s vital that you update your device’s firewall and anti-virus programs to provide an up-to-date defense against things like viruses, Trojan horses, spyware, and adware. Many computers and laptops come with pre-programmed firewalls and anti-virus software, so be aware of the protection you have in place and what you may be lacking.
#6 Consider using a prepaid credit card when shopping online.
Many online shopping sites have taken extensive measures to ensure that your credit card information stays safe. However, sometimes mistakes are made or there are lapses in their security systems. For the extra cautious online shopper, it’s recommended to use a prepaid credit card instead of actual credit cards to make purchases. Prepaid credit cards aren’t directly linked to your credit score or your credit card account, meaning that if the card’s information were to fall into the wrong hands, your credit and bank account would be perfectly safe.
#7 Do not give away more personal information than necessary.
Always treat websites that ask for your social security number or your birthday with a great deal of scrutiny. This, along with your credit card information, could result in identity theft. At most, legitimate shopping websites should only ask for your credit card information, billing address, and shipping address. If the site asks for any more of your personal information, this should be treated as an immediate red flag.
#8 Check your credit card statements.
After a long online shopping spree, it’s always recommended that you double check your credit card statement when it arrives for any unusual or suspicious purchases you don’t recognize. If everything looks as it should, then there’s no problem. But if you notice a few purchases that you have absolutely no memory of, it’s likely that your private credit card information has fallen into the wrong hands. If this is the case, be sure to call your credit card company to place a temporary freeze on the card so that the scammers are cut off from your funds.
So there you have it! With these tips in mind, you’ll be ready for some online splurging when Cyber Monday rolls around. Be sure to also check out all of the great deals this week that Fitneff has to offer on wellness products that help you to keep moving throughout your day. Happy shopping!