Online Shopping Safety
Recognize Fraudulent Sites
Learn to spot websites that aren’t really what they say: they want your information!
Use Credit Card Security
Use credit card security software to hide data from spying eyes.
Pay close attention to your bank account and carefully review any statements.
How to Stay Safe Shopping Online
The rise of online shopping has changed the way consumers think around the world. These days, it is much easier to shop for the best price on anything, as there is global competition in some cases. This is a good thing for consumers, as most can find a better price online than traditional, in-person stores.
This transition to online shopping has met some roadblocks, especially when it comes to safety.
Is online shopping actually safe?
Generally speaking, most consumers have a safe experience shopping online at the same trusted websites of businesses they would go to in person. With that said, there are plenty of people looking to capitalize on all that valuable credit card and payment information floating around these different websites. Being aware of those risks, and utilizing safety tips along the way, will improve the user experience.
There are two main tactics used by those trying to make people feel less than comfortable online. Deception works when a fraudulent website tries to disguise itself as a reputable retailer. There are many different ways to frame a website to look one way, but it is nothing more than a way to steal information.
Invasion is the other method used, as it takes just one inadvertent click to download spyware or open up an opportunity for information to leak. Some invasion tactics are very aggressive, while others are meant to be passive to lure a shopper in.
There have always been risks with any shopping, but the online world brings new concerns to the table. Instead of constantly being afraid of information being stolen and a scam occurring, keep these tips in mind before entering personal information, account numbers, and more.
Install a useful anti-malware program
Anyone who owns a computer should have some level of anti-malware software on it. There are way too many risks when connecting online, and the best way to prevent issues is to stop viruses and attacks before they ever happen.
There are many options to choose from, but iolo System Shield is one of the very best. It is easy to stay protected at all times, and people can opt-in for automatic updates if they wish. With new threats popping up all the time, it is important to have software that updates regularly for the best protection.
The best anti-malware program is somewhat of an investment but worth the extra layer of protection. Considering the ramifications of a virus taking over a computer, an added safety feature makes sense.
Getting the most out of security settings on a computer
There are many security settings available for Windows users, but the average person might not know how to optimize. For total optimization, users should plug up any holes in security. There are a few effective methods to make sure that security settings are always up-to-date.
The first step is keeping up with any operating system or browser updates. Users will be alerted when there is a free update to download, and they are pretty straightforward as well. It might be easy to ignore them for another time, but it will provide the best amount of security.
For even more optimization, use System Mechanic’s Security Optimizer. By simply running the program, a person can find any type of vulnerable areas with an operating system or browser. Security Optimizer is easy to run and gets straight to the point for easy fixes.
Shop and pay reputable vendors only
It can be very enticing to shop around and try to find the best deal possible, but not all websites are created equally. If the price seems too good to be true, or the retailer does not seem reputable, it might be better to pass on a great deal.
Try to do some research on any new vendors before putting in payment information. There is also the option to use a third-party payment processor instead of working directly with a company. A few examples include PayPal, Google Checkout, and Apple Pay. If they do not offer these payment options, it might be a red flag.
A credit card is better than a debit card
Credit cards generally have better safety measures in place compared to debit cards. The goal is for neither to be compromised, but a person can do slightly less damage with a credit card.
Credit cards have spending limits for starters, and an account will be flagged if there is any suspicious behavior. There is no real spending limit with debit cards, so a person can have their entire account wiped out, or even worse, overdrawn.
Credit card companies bend over backward to deal with any disputes that might pop up. Users can dispute any charges that appear fraudulent, and they are likely to get everything fixed as quickly as possible.
For even more protection, people can use a few methods to make sure that damage is kept at a minimum. For example, if a credit card has a very low credit limit, charges can’t get too out of hand. There are even some companies that offer temporary credit cards for added protection. Since they can’t be used again, even if the information is stolen, it is worthless.
Invest in password and credit card protection
A secure credit card manager that stores your credit card data using local encryption is a good way to prevent hacks from key loggers, who use software to record users’ keystrokes to obtain personal information. ByePass from iolo is part of System Mechanic® Ultimate Defense™, and one such solution. ByePass safely stores your login credentials and credit card info, only calling this information up when signing onto websites or filling in the online shopping cart at the time of purchase.
Examine the checkout area before processing payment
It is unacceptable for companies not to have encrypted checkout areas for online shoppers these days. The vast majority of businesses use secure sockets layer (SSL) technology to make sure that everything is encrypted. That means when information goes from a shopper’s computer to the server for the store, that information can’t be intercepted.
Most companies are proud to broadcast that they offer an encrypted checkout. Another way to check is to look at the website address. If it starts with https, or there is a security icon near the address bar, there are added safety features.
Save any and all emails and receipts
If there is one thing that has not changed from shopping in stores to shopping online, it is the value of holding onto the receipt. Until the transaction is completed, and even after that matter, it is important to hold onto proper documentation. That can mean a traditional receipt, or more than likely, an email with confirmation numbers.
If there is any discrepancy, this is the easiest way to get everything resolved. It is usually fine to save it to the computer, but some people will even print these emails off to have a physical copy.
Password strength matters
Anyone who uses the same password for numerous websites, or using a password that is extremely easy to guess, is putting themselves at a pretty big risk. A strong password is a great first line of defense against anything out there. There are ways for hackers to get into just about any account, but it becomes so much more complicated with a challenging password.
What are the best ways to keep a strong password without being overwhelmed with too many crazy ones to remember? ByePass thinks up and remembers secure passwords for you, and then loads them into your browser when you need them. This is a secure, convenient solution that lets you avoid insecurely saving your passwords in your web browser.
When setting up the password initially, try to use a mixture of different characters to make it a little more challenging. For example, instead of just using a word or phrase, adding numbers and symbols to the password will help significantly. Also, think about using both lower and upper case letters. ByePass does all of this for you.
Stay away from any private information as part of the password or widespread words that are too easy to guess. It might seem more convenient to go with a password that is easy to remember, but it will not be affected.
Be aware of charges at all times
It is a good habit to check bank statements fairly often to ensure that no fraudulent charges are hitting. Some top banks already offer some protection by keeping an eye out for suspicious activity. If any charge seems questionable, tackling that issue sooner rather than later is the best way to go.
If it is too good to be true, it probably is
This has been touched on a little bit already, but way too many people fall for amazing offers online. If it sounds too good to be true, the reason is that it very likely could be a fraudulent setup. Maybe the company is straight-up stealing information, or they are selling counterfeit goods. Whatever the case is, do not fall for the trap of trying to save a ton of money and expecting the same type of customer care from a vendor with no positive reputation.
Do not provide too much information
To complete a transaction, a company does not need much more information than a traditional store. Yes, it is important to provide a shipping address, and there may be an extra step to verify a purchase. However, no company ever needs a shopper to provide their Social Security number or their birthdate.
Any surprise asks for information more than likely has an ulterior motive. Scammers are looking to get as much information as possible on customers to use their identities for fraudulent activity. Do not willingly provide valuable personal information to any online shops.
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