There is every reason to pick out your credit card from your purse and go for a quick online shopping spree. However, while you are spending all your hard-earned money on getting your stuff, it is necessary to learn more about secure shopping so that you stick on the greener side and away from the clutches of cybercrime. Yes, cybercrime has become a hot topic, mainly due to its malicious ability to steal information, data, and, most importantly, trust.
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The cadence of technological advancements has successfully transformed the way we shop, and that is a given. In that case, you must see that the bad guys do not compromise your jolly shopping experience. Well, to save you a fortune of money, time and research, here are 11 such spot-on points that will help you have a secure shopping experience. Let’s delve into them in detail.
- Regularly Inoculate your System
- Come up with Strong Passwords
- Refrain from ‘Too Much Information’
- Yes, to the Green Padlock
- Go for Trustworthy Websites
- Skip the Card, Go Mobile
- Prefer a Secure Connection
- A round of Checks on the Seller
- Peruse the Payment Systems once
- Check your Statement Bills periodically
- Take to the Federal Law in case of Breach
Regularly Inoculate your System
A hacker sees it as a free treat when they find an outdated system. Protecting your computer from the vile malware attacks is a must, and this is looked after by the System Updates. Also, you need to install the most recent antivirus version to steer away from any second thoughts. Better yet, get yourself one of those full-blown security-suites. Here, you will find it has an in-built antivirus software designed to fight phishing attacks, malicious emails, and spam, thereby inoculating your device. Note that installing these is not enough. You will have to ensure that you update them time and again.
Come up with Strong Passwords
Even if you get yourself the most expensive security-suite, it still puts you in the spotlight if you are not protected with a strong password. Yes, though it might sound undeniable – it has its share of vitality. It is a strong password that acts as the first checkpoint for a hacker. Come up with the one which has a formidable combination of alphanumeric digits, signs, and symbols. Note that your perfect password is not always perfect. That is when you can trust a password management tool – they are specially curated to take care of complex passwords and save you on racking your brain.
Also Read: Reporting Securities Fraud to the SEC
Refrain from ‘Too Much Information’
TMI is useful only when it comes to scientific theories and gizmos. When it is online shopping, you must draw the thin line of difference between sharing and oversharing. For starters, you do have to share your social security number to do business with you. Kindly note that the more you share, the more you pave the way for cybercriminals to walk-in and relish your stuff. When possible, restrict and provide as little personal information as possible. Some of the significant sites also see a data breach due to this.
Yes, to the Green Padlock
Do not continue making a transaction on a site that does not have the green padlock status or is SSL Certified. Having SSL encryption installed is a matter of security, and the absence of this can put off the customers and trigger them to churn away.
How do you check that? Look for the URL that has an HTTPS denotation instead of an HTTP alone. The extra ‘S’ testifies that the site is safe to use and that your transactions are secure. Better yet, get yourself one of the multi domain SSL certificates and big goodbye to all these security hassles. This certificate will add an extra layer of security and make it impossible for the hackers to breach in.
Go for Trustworthy Websites
The second you Google for a specific product, you may find many sites that will show up results with a descending order of relevance. Now, search results can be rigged, and who knows, you might be left astray, significantly if you have drifted away from the first couple of pages. Hence, it is of high pertinence that you opt for only those sites that are trusted. And God forbid, even if something goes wrong, their customer service team will revert with fixes. Further, beware of the sites that have misspellings or an unknown top-level domain.
Skip the Card, Go Mobile
With the advent of COVID-19, brick and mortar stores have gotten a run for the money. Now that we see that e-commerce business transcends into our lives personally, we must start paying for items from our mobile phones themselves. And you have got nothing to worry about from the security front. As you begin to make a transaction, you will receive a One Time Password (OTP) in the registered mobile number. With this, you do not have to carry your card everywhere you go. Your mobile phone is your best friend.
Prefer a Secure Connection
If you are shopping using a public Wi-Fi network, it is recommended that you stick only to the known, trusted networks. If the situation does not demand that way, refrain from using the free Wi-Fi zones, just like all that glitters is not gold. Similarly, all that is free is not trusted. These free hotspots make it easier for hackers to walk into your personal data and ingest information that they need to. Instead, what you can do alternatively is use a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
A Round of Checks on the Seller
If you find a site with the prettiest dress that you had precisely imagined for your Prom, you may have a look but before that, check out the security credentials. You will find many scam tracking sites that will duly perform their diligence and let you know whether the site is trusted to use or not. Also, know that online reviews can easily be gamed. Do not follow up on an unknown site just because you came across 5/5 positive reviews. It would be best if you did your personal research before you hit on ‘Buy.’
Peruse the Payment Systems once
It is said that it is wiser to make a payment via credit card instead of debit card. The reason behind that is simple – the reimbursement, just in case anything goes wrong, is higher for a credit card than that of a debit card. And to be on the safer side, check that the site is duly legitimate before you go ahead and click on the ‘Make Payment’ tab. Additionally, you can also pay up through a virtual credit card. This will generate a new security number that has never been used before, thereby cutting the chances of being misused.
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Check your Statement Bills periodically.
Waiting a whole month to check your bill at the end might not seem like a proactive approach. Start checking your account statements online and see if there are any unvisited activities. And just in case you see any fraudulent charges that have originated from the trusted sites, it is time to notify the company about the issue urgently. You may be on time for 30 days to file this issue to the Card Company or bank, so hurry up and let them know the issue as fast as possible.
Take to the Federal Law in case of Breach.
Data is essential for all. It would be best if you were treated fairly when some of your private and confidential information has been leaked out – be it advertently or inadvertently. Once you see any fraudulent actions, do not immediately take a back seat from reaching out to the federal laws. It is essential for you as a consumer to lodge a formal complaint. They should know the entire scenario from in and out. Further, do provide your card company’s credentials for the immediate course of action.
That’s a Wrap
Setting up online stores, displaying them on the social presence, and making bumper sales give birth to data breach and fraudulence in many forms. While all these might not end tonight, you must be a sound customer and know your rights. Of course, everyone loves shopping, and there should be no hesitance to do so as much as you want it. However, note that it is equally essential to be aware of the vile actions and circumspect thoroughly through the eleven ways mentioned above. Further, if you see any similar fraud, ensure that you scrutinize the entire situation and then take it to the right people. Your data is in your hands; use it wisely.