When you’re shopping online, the best way to avoid scams and stay safe is to be aware of the sites you’re browsing on. Try to buy directly from the merchant or verified sellers and make sure the website has SSL encryption. You can check this by looking at the address bar for a padlock icon or a website address starting with “https.” Always use secure Wi-Fi networks and avoid using public Wi-Fi as hackers can access information you might send out, like your credit card number or banking info. Keep reading for online shopping tips from The National Cyber Security Alliance.
Online Shopping Tips
- Think before you click: Beware of ads encouraging users to click on links. If you receive an enticing offer, do not click on the link. Instead, go directly to the company’s website to verify the offer is legitimate.
- Do your homework: Fraudsters are fond of setting up fake e-commerce sites. Prior to making a purchase, read reviews to hear what others say about the merchant. In addition, look for a physical location and any customer service information. It’s also a good idea to call the merchant to confirm that they are legitimate.
- Consider your payment options: Using a credit card is much better than using a debit card; there are more consumer protections for credit cards if something goes awry. Or, you can use a third party payment service instead of your credit card. There are many services you can use to pay for purchases – like Google Pay — without giving the merchant your credit card information directly.
- Watch what you give away: Be alert to the kinds of information being collected to complete your transaction. If the merchant is requesting more data than you feel comfortable sharing, cancel the transaction. You only need to fill out required fields at checkout and you should not save your payment information in your profile. If the account auto-saves it, after the purchase go in and delete the stored payment details.
- Keep tabs on your bank and credit card statements: Be sure to continuously check your accounts for any unauthorized activity. Good record keeping goes hand-in-hand with managing your cyber security. Another tip for monitoring activity is to set up alerts so that if your credit card is used, you will receive an email or text message with the transaction details.