Online shopping is a delightful experience, especially for shopaholics who buy everything in sight. You visit your favorite e-store, find the shiny object you like, click the ‘purchase’ button, pay for it, and receive the package at your doorstep.
Unfortunately, the online purchasing process sometimes doesn’t go as smoothly as people think. In fact, according to the FBI’s Crime Complaint Center, they received around 1300 online theft complaints in a day alone in 2019, amounting to a total of 3.5 billion dollars in losses to businesses and individuals
Most online buyers fell for ‘too good to be true’ deals advertised on search engine shopping pages or social media platforms. So, instead of receiving the items they ordered and paid for, they either didn’t get anything or received a box containing face masks or bubble wrap.
Scams are everywhere and have plagued online shopping. With that in mind, here are a few security tips that every online shopper should use to ensure that they don’t get scammed or robbed.
Use a VPN while shopping online.
While home networks are typically safe for online shopping, you shouldn’t depend on them. After all, opening an insecure website or clicking an unprotected link allows hackers to steal your financial and personal details.
It is far worse if you’re using a public network or WiFi for online shopping.
So, to prevent cybercriminals from stealing your information and data, consider protecting yourself digitally with the help of a VPN. A VPN will create a tunnel between your server and your computer that no one else can access.
In the end, it is the only way to stop hackers from seeing your online activity while using public networks.
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Know about the seller and their reputation.
If you already know the seller or business or you’ve purchased items from them before with great success, chances are their e-commerce store will be safe to do some online shopping. What’s more, you can always visit their physical store for help if you have any inquiries or problems.
Also, if you know someone who has had consistent positive shopping experiences with a particular online shop, you can rest assured their website’s 99.999 percent secure.
However, if you don’t know the seller, your best bet is to take a few necessary precautions to ensure you remain protected while you’re shopping in their store.
For example, consider conducting a background check of the online shop by visiting various e-commerce store review websites. If the online store in question doesn’t have any positive reviews or isn’t reviewed altogether, don’t purchase anything from their website.
Avoid falling for deals that seem too good to be true.
Shopping from an online shop that promises a lot for little to no money in return is a disaster waiting to happen. If the deal or offer is too good to be true, identify if the seller legally procured items from a well-known brand or a cheap copy.
Disreputable brick and mortar stores and their online counterparts might offer you low-price deals and then tell you the item is either sold out or out of stock. This is typically known as a ‘bait and switch scam.’
So, ensure that you don’t fall for such deals whatsoever. Otherwise, you’ll be putting your financial information at risk.
Don’t shop from an online store that asks for more information than required.
Typically, online sellers or e-commerce stores will ask you for a shipping address, email address, telephone number, and method of payment to complete the sale.
On the other hand, if an online store asks for more information than this, don’t think twice and walk away. No reputable online store will ever ask you for personal details such as your driver’s license number, social security number, or bank account information.
That said, some online sellers will ask your things, such as your likes and interests. But such information should always be optional.
Use alternative payment methods.
Whatever happens, please avoid using your debit card for online shopping as they don’t have the same levels of security protections as your credit card.
On the other hand, your credit limits the number of unauthorized charges to $50 if your financial information gets into the wrong hands. But, most debit card providers don’t provide such levels of online security. And even if they do, you’ll still lose funds.
So, consider using alternative payment methods such as your credit card, PayPal, or cash on delivery. Plus, if you have multiple credit cards, use one for online purchases only. By doing so, if your credit card information is stolen, you can easily cancel that particular credit card without impacting others.
Use an anti-virus program.
The best way to ensure your safety while shopping online is by using effective anti-virus or anti-malware software. After all, with the ever-increasing volume of consumer data and goods being shared online, security features such as identity theft protection and real-time anti-phishing are a must-have these days.
In the end, it is of the utmost importance to give some thought to your online security before clicking that enticing ‘purchase button on an online store’s website.
Moreover, ensure that you only shop in e-commerce stores that keep your personal information secure and private while avoiding ones that willfully sell it to third parties for their gain.
That said, consider the abovementioned online shopping security tips to ensure you have a safe and smooth online shopping experience.
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