Each year, the holidays bring a shopping rush. And while you are keeping an eye on those flash discounts and tackling ‘today only’ sales discounts, fraudsters are busy taking advantage of this seasonal gift purchase craze. Therefore, you must learn a few tips for safe online shopping and mitigate the risks associated with sharing your sensitive information on retail websites. So, in the spirit of holiday shopping, here are tips for shopping online safely.
1. Beware of online shopping schemes
One of the tactics used by cyber criminals is phishing. It involves sending an email designed to look like it is from someone, particularly a brand you love. These emails will encourage you to click some links promising some great deals. Once you click on the link, you will be directed to a somewhat spoofed landing page of a particular brand that the cyber criminals are impersonating. They will try to collect your login details and other forms of information like your credit card number.
To be on the safe side, just don’t click anything that seems off. Check the email sender’s address just to be sure it is legitimate. Experts recommend hovering your cursor over the URL before clicking to confirm if it directs you to a legitimate website and not a fake one.
2. Avoid unfamiliar and suspicious retailers
And speaking of legitimate online retailers, you should be very careful when submitting your login details and paying information on any online retailer. If you feel the online retailer is scammy and something seems off about their deals, just keep off. Most scammers target shoppers chasing after Christmas sales online to steal confidential info from them. They set up websites designed to attract discount and bargain hunters intending to score crazy deals on the latest iPad, fashion items, and other products.
If you aren’t familiar with an online retailer, don’t risk buying from them. And don’t get swayed by some reviews on the site. Scammers can get fake reviews published to convince unsuspecting shoppers to order some items. First, find out about the credibility of a website before you buy anything from them.
3. Don’t save sensitive details in your browser or sites
It is common to save some details in your browser and payment on different shopping sites so that you don’t have to log in every time you want to purchase something. Keep in mind that online shopping platforms aren’t designed to store your info – they’re created for shopping. These sites can be hacked, and if that process is successful, your personal identification and financial information might land in the wrong hands.
If you must take advantage of the auto-filling convenience on various sites, use a password management service like Dashlane.
4. Don’t use free Wi-Fi unless you are using a reliable VPN
The advent of the internet, advancement in technology, and availability of internet connection nearly anywhere make it possible for you to shop on the go. But if you are using free Wi-Fi like in plains, hotels, airports, cafes, and trains, the first thing you should worry about is making sure that you are using a secure connection.
Be sure to use a VPN that encrypts all the traffic flowing in and out of your device. That makes it more challenging for anyone to spoon your internet activity and probably steal the details you input online. That includes your payment details and login information.
5. Secure your accounts using stronger passwords
You must have heard that password or pass-cord reuse is an epidemic. The phrase is true, and for a good reason – using the same as using the same key for your car, home, office, mailbox, and even your locker at the gym. In case someone gets the key, they can access everything you have worked so hard to earn and keep safe. Holiday shopping online is exciting, but that doesn’t mean that you use the same password for all the accounts you have created with different shopping platforms.
Online shopping can make life easier, but it has also opened shoppers up to countless potential cyber crimes. Exercising caution when shopping online can keep your login and payment safe from scammers. Follow the tips discussed here, and you will always be way ahead of the curve when it comes to making sure that your accounts are safe.