Internet Security

How to Shop Safely Online | Tips for Safer Online Shopping

The online marketplace has made it possible for the general public to obtain goods and services quickly from the comfort of their own homes and, in many cases, some huge shopping discounts. It is also possible to play your favourite online games or go to the casino from the comfort of your seat while placing real-money bets. At the same time, it has opened doors for fraudsters and other malicious individuals to freeze other people’s cash or steal their information.

Therefore, it is important that users take precautions when trading, whether as buyers or sellers. It is good to be aware of the likely scams and how to avoid them, as well as other ways of staying safe. This article explores this in detail.

How to Shop Safely Online

Consider Skipping Online Banking

It is possible to shop and pay directly from your bank. However, it is likely that your bank account will provide details that may increase the risk of getting scammed or phished. Therefore, consider going for methods that are more secure and do not share your details, such as the use of e-wallets, proprietary payment methods and credit cards.

These methods have less liability, and the refund process is a lot easier than when you shop with your bank account. They are also readily accepted by many merchants online, adding to their convenience.

Consider Using Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrencies are digital, decentralised currencies that make use of various technologies, including blockchain technology. There are several coins in the market today, but the most popular ones include Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Tether, Litecoin, Ethereum and Dogecoin.

In the recent past, there has been an increase in the number of merchants that are accepting cryptocurrency, with gaming platforms such as casinos taking the lead. Cryptos offer enhanced security, faster transactions, anonymity and a cheaper cost per transaction. The Ethereum casino guide lists platforms and offers advice on how to use Ethereum for online gaming. Try out some of the platforms mentioned above for gaming.

Use Browser-Level Security to Protect against Malicious Sites

Before entering any personal information on a website, it is important to check if you are dealing with a legitimate one. Several websites are on the market to steal information and banking data. Most search engines are doing a pretty good job of warning customers about the possible risks of some malicious websites. Besides, legitimate sites use SSL encryption and have https on their URLs.

However, it is good to consider investing in a browser-level anti-virus to help you safeguard your information from trackers and malicious extensions and to educate you about insecure websites. Besides, it helps safeguard your credit card data from unintended access by anyone that comes across your device.

Outsmart the Email Scams

Most email scammers will send you malware and viruses in the name of special offers and gifts. Unfortunately, when you click the suspicious links, they will install an antivirus on your device or steal the data that you enter on the platform. Do not open links from websites that you do not know or have not visited in the past.

Another common source of scams is receiving alerts from your bank that there is a problem with your account. When you click the link, you are directed to enter your banking information. Unfortunately, most of these sites only access your real account and steal the data. Always call the bank directly if you are not sure the link provided is from the bank itself.

Keep Your Software and Virus Protection Up-to-date

When shopping online, it is important to keep your software updated with the latest patches. This ensures that no malware or virus will exploit the vulnerabilities of the software to steal your banking or personal data. Most of the malware is trained to check for personal data and send it to hackers. Therefore, if you are shopping online, ensure that the information cannot be stolen by keeping the antivirus and software updated at all times.

There are tools for updating software automatically. Windows Update also keeps the operating system up to date as soon as a new patch comes out. Set the update option to “automatic” so that you do not have to check every now and then.

Avoid Using Public Wi-Fi for Online Transactions

Various public places offer their customers free wi-fi when they are shopping or getting a service. This is convenient, especially if you are going to spend some time on the premises. Unfortunately, these networks are not secured. Therefore, there is a risk that your information will be stolen or tapped. Therefore, it is safe that you avoid public Wi-Fi when transacting online and instead use your mobile data package.

Do Not Give More Information than Required

Most of the websites ask you to fill out your information so that you can complete a purchase. Give the information that is required and nothing more. If there are optional fields that do not make your purchase more convenient, such as an additional phone number or next of kin, remove them.

The more information you give, the more likely it is to get messed up when it gets into the wrong hands. It is also a good idea to read the privacy policy and find out how the site shares your information.

Avoid Using the Same Password on Multiple Shopping Websites

Most people fear forgetting passwords and use a few across all the shopping sites, emails and social media platforms. If one of the sites is compromised, there is a high risk that hackers will access all your online accounts using the same password. Create unique passwords for each shopping site that you open.

Do not use your name or birth date as the password. These are easy to predict and can be compromised.

Shopping online offers convenience and ease. However, take precautions so that you are safe from fraud and theft.

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About the author

Vidya Menon

Vidya is an online content developer for Justwebworld. She has a BA in English Language and Literature and an MA in Current Linguistics. She is a passionate reader, writer and researcher with a background in academic writing.