Protect Yourself When Shopping Online

by Evan
working and shopping on laptop

Are you an online shopaholic? If so, join the crowd. Many people enjoy reaping the benefits of shopping online. There’s no fighting traffic to get to the stores. You can shop anytime day or night and do it in your PJs. Comparing prices is simple and you can read both professional and personal reviews of items before purchasing them. The selection of products is amazing and includes items that aren’t even typically sold inside the US. Additionally, whatever you buy is delivered right to your door.

However, you need to be safe when shopping online so that your personal identity is protected from malicious users and so that you won’t find yourself needing to report identity theft and look for social security office locations. To that end, here’s a quick look at a few tips to keep you safe.

Padlock

One of the easiest ways to save money when you’re doing a bit of online shopping is simply to be safe about it. You should always make sure you’re using a secure connection. All reputable sites use security tech like SSL that encrypts your data. This means that you should look for a padlock in your address bar. Also, watch to ensure that the URL begins with https as opposed to http. Some browsers will even let you know if your info will be safe by showing the address bar in green while sites that aren’t protected will be shown in red.

Secure Payment Methods

Try to only shop online on those sites that allow you to use a secure payment method, like PayPal or credit cards, because they tend to give buyers protections in the event of a dispute. In layman’s terms, this means that you won’t be made liable for any sort of fraudulent charges.

Additionally, many times, before it gets to that point, you’ll likely be notified by your bank or credit card company if they detect any sort of suspicious activity. Avoid sites that only accept things like checks, wire transfers, or money orders. Look for sites that have security labels like VeriSign, DigiCert, and others.

Passwords

When you’re shopping online, you’ll need a strong password. This is a password that has a minimum of seven characters and utilizes a combination of symbols, numbers, and letters. At least one letter should be uppercase. Routinely change your passwords. If you worry about forgetting them, you can use a password management app. 

It’s a good idea to reset each of your shopping passwords on a regular basis, in the event that the retailer suffers a data breach or hackers get a hold of them. Also, you shouldn’t use the same password for every place you shop online, or even other activities online such as banking. 

Fake Apps

If you use Google Play or the Apple App Store, be careful of using bogus retail apps. These pop up occasionally and are created by malicious people or entities that hope people will download and use them. These appear as if they’re from actual stores and may even feature logos that appear authentic and have similar marketing messaging. They’re after your credit card and identity information. Some of them even ask that you log in with your Facebook account in order to steal your personal information.

Finally, keep all of the software on your devices up to date. You can easily do this by turning on your automatic updates. This includes things like third-party add-ons and web browsers. These can warn you when you happen to land on sites that are suspicious. Also, always use a good anti-malware program installed so that you’ll have the ability to catch a variety of threats that can include viruses. 

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