Online shopping is not free from the risks like identity theft, fraud, hacking, malware, phishing and scams. Such traps are planted in a way that even the smartest users are likely to fall prey for them.
Before you hit the “SHOP NOW” button, make sure to take the precautions for safe online shopping. Here’s how…
Know If a New Shopping App is Safe:
Did you know? There are over 32,000 rogue shopping apps spoofing the brands of the top retailers to lure the customers. These apps trick the users into entering credit card info, social media passwords, or downloading malware that accesses personal information or blocks the device for ransom.
Generally, they are found on illegitimate app store sites or sent via email. So, be careful while downloading a new retail mobile app. First and foremost, always prefer official app stores of the e-commerce retailer to download the app. In addition to that, you should check the app permissions and other info being asked by the app.
Use Trusted Sites to Shop:
Make sure to shop via familiar online shopping sites like Amazon, Sears, Etsy and Best Buy. The reason is pretty simple—if you know the site, chances are that everything under the sun. Don’t go with the search results as they lead you to malicious or unsafe sites. Beware of misspellings of sites or those using a different domain like. net instead of .com. These sites usually trick the customers by showing “jaw dropping sales”.
Look for HTTPS (Instead of Just HTTP://) in URL:
Check the URL bar of the website. Does it start with HTTP:// or HTTPS://? If it starts with HTTPS://, it means that the website is safe and encrypted. In simple words, the information you provide to the website will be in codes so that no one can read it. If the website has HTTP:// URL, the information will be in a plain text and hackers can read it.
Avoid Wi-Fi Networks for Shopping:
Public Wi-Fi is not safe for sending crucial information or making transactions. This is because hackers leverage unsecured or poorly secured Wi-Fi router with their special tools to scan the network for vulnerabilities. Once they locate the security loopholes, they have a modus operandi in place to get between you and shopping sites to decipher any information, which can be your bank account passwords, credit card number or social media logins.
If it is essential to use public Wi-Fi, use VPN that encrypts the info passing into or out of your device while you’re using Wi-Fi.
Use Strong Passwords:
Most users keep predictable passwords like “123456”, “ABCD” or even their date of birth for crucial accounts. This is why 2 out of every 5 people using simple passwords have experienced hacking and password stealing. 60% of cybersecurity incidents take place due to the use of weak passwords.
Therefore, make your password strong and shielded using the basic tips like…
- Make your password a mix of numbers, letters and special characters.
- Change your password more often.
- Don’t use the same password for multiple sites.
Don’t Click on Stranger’s Emails or Links:
Avoid clicking on the unexpected emails or links promising deals that seem too good to be true. It may be phishing, which is a malicious practice to access personal data or credit card info from the users by trapping them through offers. For example, the links within the email will take you to a fake website that was developed to obtain a visitor’s personal information. Phishing is on the peak during holidays as users are more after the deals and discounts.
So these were some simple tips to stay vigilant and safe during holiday online shopping.