12 tips for Safe and Secure Online Shopping
Online shopping is one of the popular way to purchase our useful items. From a needle to car – you name it and you will find that on many online shopping websites on competitive price. While there are number of reputed and honest shopping sites on net, but at the same time, hackers and online thieves are also present with their net to capture your credit card information, identity information etc.
In this article, we’ll discuss and explain 10 tips, which you must follow, for safe and secure online shopping.
1. Don’t click on URL mentioned in email
You might get emails from shopping sites, promoting some product at attractive discounted rate or offering you free coupon. One feels no harm in just checking the details of the offer and in that feeling one clicks on link given in the email.
And now you’re in problem.
That email might be from some hacker group and the link will take you to their website, which looks exactly the same as the shopping website. And when you enter your credit card details there – BINGO! They win and you loose your money.
Such emails are called phishing emails.
Before clicking any link in email, be sure that email is directly from the original shopping website. Better, do not click on URL mentioned in email. Infact, type the URL in your browser and visit the site directly.
2. Deal with ONLY secure websites
While making payment on online shopping websites, be sure to enter it on secure payment webpage. Secure webpage encrypts your payment details like credit card no. etc., so it is safe from hackers.
Now, the question arises how to check whether the payment page is a secure or not?
There are 2 ways for that.
a. Check that the address of the page in your browser starts with “https” and not “http”. Monitor the “s” after http.
b. Be sure to see pad lock icon on address bar. This ensures you’re entering the info in safe environment.
3. Never give your personal and confidential information
If a shopping site asks for your personal information like your social security number or date of birth, exit from that website immediately. No reputed websites ask for such information. It’s only hackers who are looking for such confidential information of yours and try to steal your identity.
Just think, to send your product at your home or office, shopping website needs your address and not social security number.
4. Never give credit card on email
Another popular way from hackers is to send phishing emails to people, offering product at discounted rate ONLY if you enter your payment details via email. They will also mention that such offer is “exclusively” for you and not available on their regular website visitors.
That actually means that they are eager to steal your credit card details “exclusively” for you.
As mentioned previously, you must enter your credit card information only on secure webpage. Neither the shopping sites ask for credit card details on email nor email is a secure gateway.
5. Use credit card as payment way
Credit card is one of safe way for internet shopping. The reason is that if somehow some hacker manages to steal your credit card information and later on you find his expenses in your credit card statement, you can complaint it to your credit card company. They will investigate the issue at their cost and will refund your money.
You should also monitor your credit card statement regularly. Do not wait for a month to get your credit card statement and check that. Infact, look for your credit card statement online from time to time and keep an eye on any discrepancy found.
Also, try to use disposable or virtual credit card on net. Such cards have a pre-defined amount limit of your choice and validity of 24-48 hrs. Check out more on it on your bank or credit card company website.
6. Shop with only trusted websites.
Do not search for new shopping websites for more bargains, discounts etc. on search engines or ads. You should not rely on new websites so easily. Just attractive design does not mean that the site is genuine. Remember, hackers are more creative than others. They just use their intelligence, knowledge and energy in different field.
Stick to reputed websites like eBay, Amazon, Flipkart, Infibeam – just to name a few.
7. Install and update latest AntiVirus
Antivirus is must for every computer. laptop, Smartphone etc. Many good antivirus like Avast, AVG etc. are free of cost to install and update. They will prevent you from visiting malicious websites and remove any virus, malware, keylogger etc. on your computer. This will also ensure that you are entering your payment details in a secure environment.
8. Use strong Passwords
One of the often neglected part of internet transaction is that generally users use very weak passwords like surname, vehicle number, date of birth, nickname etc.; which are very easy to guess by some close friends or intelligent hackers. Hackers also try to login to some one account using dictionary words as password. So, NEVER use your personal information or dictionary words as password.
Password should be combination of alphabets, numbers and special characters like !, @, #, % etc.
It’s better to make such strong password and write it on your paper notebook, with URL and username. Do not store it on your computer. There is always a chance of data loss there.
9. Review the return, refund, shipping policies
What if order a product and make a payment and you don’t get the product? OR the product is faulty?
Generally, online shopping sites do provide exchange of faulty product or refund of money to customer. You must read return and refund policies on their website before making a payment. Also, check out shipping time taken by website to deliver the product to your office / home.
If you find it too difficult and boring to go through, just ask online shopping website customer care department by phone. They will brief you on that.
10. Save a copy of your order
Do not blindly trust any online shopping site, whatever their reputation is. While making payment and checkout, save a copy of your order on your computer and email account. This will help you in future if you find any discrepancy with your credit card statement or if you get wrong product.
11. Do not use public computer
Public computer in cybercafe or someone else computer in your office can be risky gateway to steal your personal or financial information. Such computers are generally full of virus, trojan horse, keyloggers etc. Do not use such computer.
If it is urgent and you don’t have any other option, just be sure there is antivirus installed on the computer. After making payment on online shopping website, clear history, cache file, junk files etc. from that computer and re-boot it.
12. Check with Better Business Bureau
Check the Better Business Bureau site to see if there are a large number of complaints about the seller. This website is useful for USA and Canadian citizens. If there are numerous complaints for a particular website, skip that website and look for reputed one.
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