Online shopping is convenient, but it’s important to take the time to learn how to keep yourself safe while shopping online. Here are ten things you can do to ensure you have a smooth and safe online shopping experience.
1. Look for a secure web address
The simplest way to make sure you’re on a safe site is to look at the URL — is there an ‘s’ after the ‘http’ part of the URL? If the site has ‘https’ in front of it, you’re safe. If it’s just ‘http’ you’re not. The ‘https’ lets you know that the site has acquired an SSL license, meaning your information is scrambled as it travels across the web and kept safe from hackers.
2. Check for site updates
Most major websites will be updated constantly as updates are usually necessary to keep up with security measures. Look around to find when the site was last updated. If it hasn’t been updated in awhile, it may be a good indication that the site isn’t safe.
3. Look at the contact information
Any reputable site should have contact information somewhere on the site, usually in the footer. If there’s a phone number, call it! Look up the address on Google Maps and see if it really exists. Don’t just assume that an address or number posted on a website is real without doing some research.
4. Use a third-party payment system
Look for sites that allow you to pay using PayPal, a third-party payment system that is well known and trusted. Rather than giving your card information directly to the site, PayPal acts as an intermediary so the company never even sees your credit card number. PayPal will also help you if anything fraudulent happens with the transaction.
5. Don’t give out personal information
An online store will never need your social security number, your PIN number, or your online passwords. If a site or email asks you for these, do not give it to them. It could be a phishing scam.
6. Create Strong Passwords
If you create accounts at an online store, be sure to create a strong password. Use a mixture of letters and numbers along with capital letters and lowercase letters.
7. Do some research
If you’re feeling unsure about a company, Google it! See if others out there have had positive or negative experiences with the company. You just might be able to get a quick answer out of a simple Google search.
8. Read everything twice
As you go through the checkout process, be sure to read all of the information carefully and inspect every detail. Make sure there isn’t any strange fine print or hidden charges.
9. Use your credit card for shopping online
If fraud does occur on your credit card after shopping online, you can dispute the charges with your bank without actually losing any money from your checking account. Additionally, if your card has a low limit, the identity thief can’t get too far with your stolen card number.
10. Trust your Instincts
There are plenty of sites out there offering deals that sound too good to be true. If your common sense tells you that a deal is too good to be true, trust your instincts and walk away.
Online shopping is convenient, but don’t let the convenience fool you. Slow down and take the steps mentioned above to keep your identity safe while shopping online.
About the Author: This guest post was provided by Russell Jensen, a writer for SatelliteInternet.com