Online shopping has grown in popularity over the past few years, and with good reason. Convenient, fast and accessible from almost anywhere with a computer or smartphone, e-commerce sites are a natural choice for shoppers who want to buy something without leaving home. However, this convenience comes at a price, as users must sacrifice their personal information when making purchases online. Hackers and cyber criminals look to exploit security gaps whenever they can to make money off unsuspecting users. As such, it’s important to know how to shop securely online: In order to avoid becoming the victim of hackers and cyber criminals, you need to be aware of some best practices when it comes to secure online shopping:
Always Use A Strong Password
When shopping online, you’re creating a digital footprint of your activity as you browse through various sites and products. Because of this, you need to be sure that you’re creating a strong password that’s difficult to hack. A strong password consists of a combination of letters and numbers, is no less than 10 characters long, and doesn’t consist of any personal information, such as a birthday or family name. A strong password is one of the first lines of defense against hackers who want to steal your information. If they can’t crack your password, they can’t breach your account and your sensitive information will be safe.
Don’t Reuse Passwords
As mentioned above, it’s important to use a completely different password for each of your accounts. This includes e-commerce accounts, social media platforms, and banking and other financial accounts. Using the same password on multiple accounts is a big mistake that leaves you vulnerable to hackers. It’s also a mistake that many people make.Any hacker is able to access one of your accounts, they could gain access to your other accounts as well. If you have a single password for all of your accounts, changing one password could have devastating consequences. If you reuse the same password, changing a single password could make all of your other accounts vulnerable. For example, if you change the password to your e-commerce account, but forget to change the password to your bank account, then hackers can access your bank account.
Be Careful of Where You Enter Your Information
While it’s important to use strong passwords and a VPN when shopping online, it’s also important to be careful about where you enter your information. Websites often look secure, but can actually be a front for hackers. When entering your information, be sure that the URL starts with HTTPS rather than HTTP. HTTPS means that the website is a secure website and is less likely to be a front for hackers. And, if you’re not sure whether or not a website is legitimate, do some research to make sure it’s safe to enter your information there.
Only Use Trusted Apps and Sites
Many e-commerce sites now offer mobile apps that make shopping on your phone or tablet easier and more convenient. These apps often have the same features that their regular website has, so you can browse products, make purchases and track your order as easily as you would on your computer. Unfortunately, many of these apps are not secure and could even give hackers direct access to your phone. To avoid this, only download apps and sites from companies you trust. Companies that have been around for a while, like Amazon or eBay, are more likely to have secure apps and sites. When downloading apps and sites, check the reviews to see what people are saying. If the reviews are overwhelmingly negative, it’s best to avoid that particular app or site.
Don’t Click on Everything
Just because something says it’s from a trusted site, doesn’t mean that it is. Unfortunately, hackers know this and will often create fake websites that look identical to the real thing. When browsing for products online, be wary of pop-up ads, phone calls from people claiming to represent a company, and emails from unknown sources. These could be attempts from hackers to get your information. These pop-up ads or emails may say that you need to update your account information or that you’ve won a prize, but they’re really just a way to collect your information, such as your email address and password.
Download Software and Apps From Reputable Sources Only
If you’re shopping for electronics, appliances or another type of product that requires software or apps, be wary of where you download them from. While some apps and software are available directly from the company that makes the product, many are offered by third-party sellers. Even though the products may be legitimate, there’s a good chance that the apps or software is not. When shopping for software, be sure to download it directly from the company that makes the product. The same goes for apps. If you’re shopping for an app, download it directly from the app store, such as the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
Shopping online is an extremely convenient way to purchase products and services, but it’s important to stay safe when shopping online. To keep yourself safe while shopping online, follow these seven tips, and you’ll be sure to have a safe and secure online shopping experience.