You have every reason in the world to shop online. Product selection is unlimited, bargains are there, shopping is secure and shipping is quick. It is even easy to return defective products in case you just changed your mind and want something else. With the right and correct e-tailers, shopping has never been more convenient and easier for consumers at these days.
A 2011 IDD’s 3rd quartere Crime Report suggests that phishing attacks (one that commonly used in an attempt to swindle your sign in information and even credit card credentials by pretending to be an online bank or real website) are down to 8%since the 2nd quarter and over 11% on the 3rd quarter last year. However, the same reports added that since the 2nd quarter, websites with malware or malicious codes that compromise your privacy has raised by 89%.
Although these stats are somewhat alarming, it should not stop you from shopping online. All you need are practical advice and a little bit of common sense. Shop with confidence by following these tips to safely shop online.
- Shop on familiar websites
Rather than shopping in a site found in the search engine, stay on trusted and familiar websites. Search results can be modified to lead you astray, particularly if you went past the first few pages of the link. However, if you are familiar with the website then there are fewer chances of it being a rip-off.
You can shop on the famous Amazon.com that has almost everything you need, or other major retail outlets that also runs an online website such as Home Depot, Best Buy, and Target. Watch out for sites with misspellings or uses different domain—instead of .com, it is .net, for instance. This is one way to trick you into giving your info.
- Always remember to look for the lock
Never— and I mean never ever trust a site that does not have a secure sockets layer or SSL encryption installed. Do not even buy anything on such sites using your credit card. In order to know if the site has SSL encryption, look for a locked padlock icon usually right next to the URL or in the status bar. Also, SSL encrypted sites start with HTTPS:// instead of HTTP://.Lastly, do not ever give your credit card info to anyone through email.
- Do not tell all
Your birthday or social security number is not a requirement when doing business with online shopping store. If a site requires you to input more than info than usual, stay away from it. If crooks get their hands on such info together with your credit cards, they can create a lot of damage. It is easier to steal identity with more info you gave.
- Use Very Strong Passwords
Make sure to create untraceable, strong passwords. It is very important when shopping online and banking. Creating a unique password can be helpful especially during the time of the year when you are in a shopping frenzy and needs to create new accounts on different e-commerce sites.
- Stay at Home
Using a public computer in order to make purchases is a very bad idea. But if you do, just make sure that you are logged out before leaving. Even using your own laptop while sitting in a cafeteria or public place is also as bad. Especially in crowded places, there are many snoopers that might be taking a peek while you input your credit info. So, do yourself a favor and just stay at home when you want to shop online.
- Count the cards
Gift cards and coupons are the most wanted holiday gift each year. You will need to stick to a trusted source when obtaining one. There are many scammers out there who love to sell off gift cards and coupon codes on websites with only little to no funds on it upon arrival.
- Think Mobile
A survey conducted by NRF predicted that 25% of adults will use their smartphones when shopping online but mostly to only find gifts and not purchase. If you do use your mobile device to shop online, then you might want to download the certain apps for such sites like Target and Amazon and use them to find and purchase what you want without going to the Website.
Online shopping is the newest and fastest way to get what we need, wherever it is. In fact, over the past years, there are millions to billions of dollars that were spent online. Unfortunately, there are bad guys who are looking for some ways in order to steal it. Do not be a victim and follow the guidelines above for a safer, happier online shopping.
Being aware is always the key, as such cliché prevention is better than cure applies even with today’s technology. Happy Shopping!