Tips for securing online shopping

Online shopping or E-shopping as it is commonly called, has come a long way in competing with traditional shopping methods, as this way of shopping has become an important part of modern living where people are looking for faster and secured channel of consuming their products or services.

There are many reasons such as better bargains, easy selection, getting good deals, secured shopping and reasonably good returning policy provided by the online provider which are attracting young generation customers to get obsessed with online shopping. However, you must be very careful while shopping online as it might get you into trouble at the time of payment and some other security issues.

Following certain tips while shopping online will give confidence and trust which are essential to getting into the world of online shopping –

Alway go with a Trusted Website

Whenever you are looking to shop online, look for trusted and renowned sites rather than shopping impulsively from search engine results. Just beware of little things about websites such as misspellings, requests for excessive personal information, low-resolution logos or photos and websites using a different top-level domain (For Example, .net instead of .com). If the name of a website is familiar or popular, chances are they are legitimate. If you have any doubt about website’s authenticity and they claim to be providing an unbelievable offer, then you should probably skip it and move on.

Identifying Secured Websites

Once you have researched on few websites where you would like to purchase, look out for HTTPS:// (instead of just HTTP://) URL and the padlock symbol. Websites that use https are safe as https is an online safety protocol that utilizes SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) to encrypt any information that is distributed online, such as your credit card details so that data can be kept private and protected. You can also look for locked padlock symbol which will appear on the right next to the URL in the address bar. The padlock should be closed. If it is open or missing, assume the website is not secure and treat with caution.

Safe Online Payment Measures

For online shopping, use credit cards instead of debit cards as they provide additional protection and benefits to their consumers. Unlike debit cards, credit cards may have a limit on the monetary amount you will be responsible for paying if your information is stolen and used by someone else. If the site turns out to be fraudulent, your credit card company will usually reimburse you for the purchase. Use secure online payment services, like PayPal that serves as a digital wallet that lets you pay online with your PayPal account, without having to share your financial details with retailers.

Use Strong & Secure Passwords

Try to set uncrackable passwords so that the hackers would never be able to hack your account. Keep a strong and secure password that is difficult to guess consisting of alphanumeric characters including special symbols. Remember to keep your passwords private and don’t set your computer to remember your credit card number or password when you create an account on an online shopping site.

Don’t Share All your Details

Never share your personal details into popups or on any web page that asks for the personal information above and beyond standard requests. It is always advisable to give as least information as possible in order to have a safe and secure online shopping. Also, take care when entering the details in order to place an order such as an incorrect address, amount of items or wrong item code can cause many difficulties. Always review the information before pressing send.

Don’t use Public computers to Shop Online: Avoid using a public computer or terminals for online shopping as they save or “cache” your personal financial details and other confidential information. If you leave the computer without logging out of certain sites, others might be able to access your accounts. Spyware, viruses or any number of security vulnerabilities could be hiding on that unknown computer. To protect yourself, do all of your online shopping from your secure home computer.

Be Cautious of Email Offers

Be aware of emails that are designed to gather your personal information such as passwords and credit card details. These phishing emails appear to be from well-known companies and can look quite convincing. Never click on the links from spam emails to make purchases. If in doubt, type the web address of the company it relates to directly into the browser rather than following the email link.

Use a Safe and Secure Connection

In order to shop online, always opt for your mobile phone network over public Wi-Fi. Never shop using an unsecured wireless network because hackers can access your payment information if the network is not protected. Use the available apps for online shopping that are provided by the retailers without explicitly visiting the online store or the website like Amazon, Flipkart etc.

Protect Your Machine

Be sure that your PC, Laptop or mobile is protected with comprehensive and up-to-date security software which protects your device from viruses, spyware, and other emerging threats. Additionally, it protects against “keylogger” malware on your machine, which is malicious software that records your keystrokes, including when to enter your credit card numbers and other personal details through the keyboard. Install a Phishing filter like SmartScreen filter in internet explorer which protects from phishing sites by warning you when it detects a distrustful website.

Pay Special Attention before Buying

Always look for additional costs of online buying such as packaging, delivery costs, and payment details before placing an order. Check out whether the product comes with a guarantee or warranty if found defective. Look for information on the site about cancelations, returns, and refunds.

After purchasing, record the purchase details or print off a copy for future reference. If you cannot print one off, take a screenshot as a form of proof of purchase.

If you can’t STOP thinking about it…BUY IT. Have a safe and secure online shopping!!

Lakshmi Srinivas
Lakshmi Srinivas

Programmer / Analyst / Technician