Can you believe it’s December? The holidays are here and you’re bound to do some online shopping, and we don’t blame you. Over the past decade, the amount of activities we’re able to do on the internet has increased tenfold – its relatively easy and hassle-free, and just an overall convenience, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t numerous risks associated with it.
Just Because it’s Easy, Doesn’t Mean it’s Safe
Online shopping, though pretty convenient, stills carries the risk of having your personal information and money stolen through online scams.
Whether you’re doing big purchases on Amazon or buying something simple from a local online shop, you should probably keep yourself up to date on how to protect yourself while making purchases online.
Some Tips For Staying One Step Ahead of Scammers
1. If it Sounds Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is
Especially during the holiday seasons, online shopping sites will offer some sweet deals and discounts, but keep an eye out – cyber criminals will often push out phony deals and sales in hopes of sucking you in.
If you do end up finding a deal that seems a little bit too good, do some research to see if there’s any truth to it. Scammers often use these tactics to gain access to your credit card information, so it’s best to be a little wary.
2. Keep an Eye Out for Fake Emails
At some point or another, you’ve probably received an email from “Amazon” and “Apple” claiming that you’ve made a purchase, or that an issue requires your immediate attention. This is a classic scam in which cyber criminals try to copy popular sites in hopes of getting people to reveal their personal information. Real websites won’t ask you to provide information via email.
Unless the email is directly related to something you’ve recently purchased, it’s best to keep your wits about you. You can do your own research by checking out the sender’s email address – secure emails will often be simple and official, while scam emails will be a lot more convoluted.
3. Don’t Use Public Wifi to Do Your Shopping
If you’re using a wifi spot that’s open to the public, you’re pretty much making your information open to the public as well. As most public wifi spots don’t encrypt their data, hackers can easily steal your information if they’re using the right tools. If you need to do any sort of shopping or browsing that requires your personal information, it’s safest to wait until you’re at home.
If you’re going to use public wifi be sure to have a VPN installed. We recommend NordVPN because it gives you secure and private access to the internet no matter where you are. Check out the deal here.
4. Find Out if You’re Browsing a Secure Site
Whenever you’re browsing the internet, you’re probably not keeping track of the various acronyms that are embedded in a website’s URL, and we don’t blame you. The one thing you really should be looking out for is the HTTPS in a website’s URL. In contrast to the HTTP, the added “S” indicates that the information you share is secure and hidden from prying eyes.
If you’re doing any online shopping, be wary of the information you share – HTTP sites are a lot less secure and you run the risk of having your information stolen!
5. Opt for a Credit Card Instead of a Debit Card
Credit cards tend to have better fraud prevention and protection over debit cards. In the chance that you’ve had your debit account hacked and money withdrawn without your permission, it’s a more difficult process to dispute the charges, plus its actual money withdrawn, rather than just credit.
Make sure to frequently check your bank statements and transaction history for any suspicious activity. If you see anything that seems out of the ordinary, alert your bank immediately – the sooner you deal with fraudulent activity, the better.
6. Don’t Store Your Payment Information Online
Many online retailers have the option of storing your credit card information for easier and quicker use next time you decide to shop. Even though it does save a little bit of time and energy for your future purchases, you’re inevitably putting your credit card information at risk. In the chance that the company should suffer a security breach, or you get a virus that has access to your computer, you’re essentially putting all your information up for grabs.
It’s important to check your bank accounts for any suspicious activity – if you suspect that you’ve fallen victim to an online fraud or scam, be sure to change the passwords for the account that has been affected, and immediately contact your bank and inform them of the situation!
Be sure to share this with a friend to keep them informed.