“You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.”
― Abraham Lincoln
Let’s talk about how to secure online shopping around all the budges about hacker and not to get fooled. Recently, shopping online is getting much popularity and growing its market dramatically. Since it becomes a regular choice and time saving for a lot of people, all the bad guys are waiting here to hook you up and make you fall for their trap unless you are aware of the safeguards of buying things online. Here are some important tips to secure your shopping online.
1. Use Trusted Search Engine & Browser
Is your search engine or browser secure?
Certainly, use a trusted search engine and browser which gives you privacy, do not track option and most secure which is most likely to use when you are buying things from online.
Google, Bing, Yahoo, Ask.com are the most popular search engines on the web. But none of it is 100% safe and secure for your privacy and can easily locate your information via spam, location finder or even advertisement. DuckDuckGo is one of the most secure search engines that never track your searches and fewer advertisements rather than Google. But Google is one of the top ranking search engines around the world which is becoming stronger and secure gradually.
On the other hand, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, and Google chrome are the most familiar free browsers which give you the access the search engines to give you the maximum relevant information possible according to your query. Internet explorer is much safer browser than any others you might use but doesn’t give the adequate search results as Google chrome does.
However, when you are using a search engine, you should follow some safety tips to keep away from the bad guys especially while using a credit card or account details.
2. Go for Popular Websites
Do you have any preference website?
You must go to the website you are familiar with and it has a wide range of popularity around the web. Online Store websites such as Walmart, Etsy, Alibaba, eBay etc are very well-known around the world.
Compare to all of them, Amazon.com is the best and leading online shopping store in the world. If you have a particular trusted website that you’re familiar with, you might go directly to the brand website and order your items.
3. Look out the Padlock & https URL
Have you ever noticed a symbol on the browser address bar with a lock symbol?
What it really means that the website has SSL Certificates and allows secure, encrypted connections between a web server and an internet browser.
A website that has SSL (secure sockets layer) Certificate installed, the URL for the site will show the green lock sign and activates the protocol “HTTPS://” instead “HTTP://”. Here the letter “S” means secure web server. Never use your credit card details or account information on the website which doesn’t have a padlock or https://.
4. Extra careful on a Mobile Device
Do you prefer a Mobile device for browsing?
Over 3.5 billion people use mobile devices to browse the internet. For its portability, multitasking and user-friendly features, the users are growing rapidly. Unlike a computer device or laptop, Smartphone doesn’t have much protection against spyware or threats. So, you should be very careful when you are using mobile devices for online shopping. You may get an antivirus or internet security for your devices with a little amount of money for the year.
5. Don’t use Public Wi-Fi
Do you use a public Wi-Fi?
There is a trend to use public Wi-Fi connections instead of using private home network or mobile data. If you opt to use a public network and share your personal data, you’re setting up yourself for an identity theft. With proper software and skills, a hacker might easily pluck out your identity and all the necessary information. Because most of the Wi-Fi hotspots or public networks don’t encrypt your data and less secure than your personal hotspot or mobile data. I would always recommend using your personal network or data when purchasing online.
6. Check Bank Statements
Have you checked your bank statement?
Every time you make a purchase online, you should check your bank statement. If you see any unrecognized changes or transactions, call your bank immediately and inform to secure your account until it’s clear. Check your bills or receipts and compare between the statement and your receipts of payments.
7. Alternative credit card number
Have you heard about a virtual credit card number before?
A credit card is the more likely secure way to make a payment online. But it’s better not to take a chance and get overwhelmed because, with adequate information and details, your account could still possible to hack. A lot of banks offering a virtual credit card number for online shopping purposes which can be set to a small amount limitation and give you a temporary credit card number instead of your real one. So it makes it more secure in case you get hacked and your credit card is still a secret. In my opinion, PayPal is the best for credit card alternative for secure payments.
8. Change password frequently
When did you change your password last?
Lot of us don’t bother to change the password because it is hard to remember the new one every time you change it. But it is so good to be true that changing password can secure your account details effectively and tremendously. You may wonder when you change your password can upset the bad guys while hacking your system with the information they’ve collected.
9. Don’t click on other links
Do you feel like to click onto amazing offers?
Sometimes you may get redirected to another page and lead you to various lucrative offers to get your attention. Be aware of the link address on different sites other than the website you are shopping. Don’t sign up for other links as for example; email or click to get a discount etc. These might be the trap to encourage you to give your personal details.
Try not to click on the irrelevant ads or pages. If you redirect to another page to fill up your information, make sure to check the URL and the name of the website before giving any account information.
11. Update Your Browser
Is your browser up to date?
Most of the browser updates automatically unless it is restricted by the users. Updating your browser will remove the old bugs and cookies and boost your security with a refresh system with an up to date browsing experience.
If you are using an old browser is most likely less secure than using an updated browser and few websites are not supported with the older version of the browser. So try to keep pace with an up to date internet browser for more reliable and safe browsing experience.
12. Give Least Information
What information do you share online?
Generally, any online shopping website will not ask your personal details as for example social security details, birth date or parent’s details for payment option. If you do so and it gets to the hand of bad guys with your account details, you may end up damage your account lot worst.
Always try to give the least information possible to any sites you hook up with and stay safe from these buggers.
13. Use Antivirus or Internet Security
Do you have an Antivirus or Internet security?
If you are using windows 10, you might be secure from malware or other virus using defender comes with the windows. But it’s not only viruses that you need to watch out for. There are lots of other threats which might be dangerous for your devices and using the internet for shopping online.
Use an Antivirus or Internet Security software to get protection from spyware, Trojan horses, Bots, messaging, worm or obviously the antivirus. You may also installed it on your mobile devices and make it safer. Learn “Why do you need internet security?”
14. Use Strong Password
Is your password strong enough?
In a way, using strong password is important as changing password frequently. Every time you change your password for bank account or credit card, use the strong password possible. Few experts suggest using at least 11 digits and a combination of Upper case, Lower case, numbers, and symbols make it unbeatable and hard to crack for any hackers on the web. Never use a password which is related to your personal details or easy to recognize. Try a website like this to generate a strong password.
15. Clean your Cookies
Do you clean your cookies?
More or less every website has cookies and you get stored in your hard disk or device. There are two types of cookies as the session cookie and persistent cookie. Session cookies are stored temporarily or don’t collect information about your computer. But persistent cookies can be stored in your device and collect your identifying information from your computer.
16. Limit your transaction
What is your credit card transaction limit?
You can easily set your limit for the credit card for each transaction. Every bank who offers credit card must have the option to set your limit and notification message each time you do so. In this way, you can get safer transaction and find out any unusual activities with your credit card more easily.
17. Use gift cards
Have you ever used a gift card before?
Using gift card with a limited value is safer when shopping online. You can partially spend a gift voucher and cards at the same time if you need to. But when you use a gift card, you might get a discount or some special offers which are not available for other ways. Besides, gift cards with time limits and limited amount make it safer doing online shopping.
18. Installed Store Apps
Do you have Store apps?
Most of the popular online brand stores have its own apps available on the web. If you love to shop regularly from a particular site, it’s better to get the apps and signed up to get secured from online theft. Because this app is being monitored by the brand account and securely stored your personal information. Instead of filling up information each time to make a payment online, these apps can help you not to do it often unless necessary.
Following the tips may not stop the hacker to stop his activities, but it will certainly secure your online credentials and information from getting leaked. From my point of view, shopping online is fun and enjoyable but can’t deny the risk of losing my identification for a simple mistake I may encounter. However, I wouldn’t take any chances to hook me up when I know the simple tips to secure online shopping.