Online shopping has never been more convenient. With almost all brands now selling their products and services online, offering great bargains and even free returns, online shopping continues to grow in popularity. However, with increases in online transactions comes increases in online fraud. As you scour the web to find the best deals, keep these six online shopping security tips top of mind.
1. Shop from reputable brands and websites
Shopping only from reputable brands and e-commerce markets ensures the business and its inventory is legitimate. Large e-commerce sites typically also come with more sophisticated security systems to protect your information.
One easy way to check the security of a website is to look for a small lock icon in the corner of the URL field. This lock icon means the webpage has privacy protection installed. Additionally, the “http” URL will have an “s” at the end (https) to stand for “hypertext transfer protocol secure,” a system in place to secure and mask the personal data you share, such as your credit card information.
2. Avoid public Wi-Fi
Avoid logging into websites and making online purchases while using public Wi-Fi because network access can be intercepted and a fraudster can steal your browsing history and personal information. Instead, use your secure home Wi-Fi or personal VPN.
3. Beware of email scams
Fraudsters take advantage of the uptick in email offers around the holidays by sending fabricated emails that contain viruses and malware. Do not click on emails and links from unknown or suspicious brands. Look for red flags like misspellings, unfamiliar sending addresses and links that look suspicious when you hover over them.
4. Use a strong password
If a fraudster accesses your account with an online store, they can change your shipping address so you don’t receive your order. They can then also steal your credit card information to make unauthorized purchases. Avoid this by creating strong, unique passwords for each online account.
5. Avoid paying with a debit card
Debit cards typically don’t come with the liability protection that comes with credit cards, nor the sophisticated security system that comes with mobile payments. Additionally, you often only have a few days to report debit card fraud before you personally become liable. This means you will have little time to respond to suspicious activity. When possible, use credit cards and mobile payments instead.
6. Review bank statements and keep track of receipts
Review your monthly bank statements for any unauthorized transactions and compare the amounts shown on your purchase receipts to the amounts that appear on your statements. Be sure any returned items also appear as deposited funds.
With these security tips in mind, you’re set to have a happy and safe online shopping spree!