Shopping seems like a pretty simple activity when done online. From dozen of brands to choose to many sellers with different offers and discounts, the decision of which products to buy, all that in one place seems like a time-saver and a fun process, which justify the fact that so many people are choosing online shopping instead of a brick and mortar stores.
The pandemic is also adding some extra points for people to buy products that weren’t attractive to online shoppers before, including many fashion clothes and accessories. And many businesses appeared with this new situation when every product is one click away.
Who to blame, when you can undoubtedly save a lot of time, enjoying from the comfort of your home, with your credit card in your hands, drinking your creamy coffee and the only thing concerning you is whether they have the size of the shirt you just fell in love with.
Well, at least you thought that is the only concern. You probably didn’t think of your card being at the eye of many cyberstalkers. You can undoubtedly protect yourself from cybercriminals while ordering online and these tips will make you aware of the shopping scams and how to avoid them when shopping online:
- Do not make purchases using public networks
Public wireless networks are the place where most cybercrimes happen. You might want to check on some products while at work, or while having lunch at the restaurant or cafes, and you aren’t yet aware of the damage it can do to your personal information.
For the order to be delivered it will need all your sensitive data from your bank account, to your ID, social security number, your address, and soon that data might be used by hackers.
It is quite inevitable to avoid online transactions or using a wireless connection in some cases.
What you can do is protect yourself by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
What a VPN does is filtering your data into unreadable crypts that can not be used by cybercriminals. For more clear understanding, imagine that VPN is a tunnel that allows you to send your data in the digital world, without being spied on, in a safe and secured way.
Now that you know the purpose and importance of this tool, it is advisable to buy a VPN and ensure the security of your devices – to avoid headaches next time you plan to shop online.
- Choose a secure payment method and check for banking statements
Always consider paying with credit cards, as many banks can detect fraudulent changes and contact you if they notice any unusual charges or purchases from your account.
Reviewing bank statements is also important when you use your credit card in online shopping and need to double-check if you are charged properly. Check fees from the vendors and inform the bank if you notice any fraudulent transactions, if they are suspicious the bank can issue a refund. Setting a limit on your online transaction is probably another preventing step to take.
- Make purchases from secure websites
Putting your credit card to any website is inherently risky and you need to minimize the more you could. Immediately stop the process if you notice the site you are ordering from is suspicious or doesn’t begin with HTTPS meaning the site is secured. If the site is not secured, it will start with HTTP.
Beware of this and keep in mind that a good indicator of whether the site is secure is to make research on the domain of the site and the date created. If it is fraud it might be created sooner, as most scammers will start with cyber fraud at the very moment.
- Update your software regularly
The devices we use every day to shop online, whether that is a mobile, a computer, or a tablet, could be vulnerable to cyber enemies, since all of the data is stored there. Some weaknesses might appear, with increasing chances to be attacked by cyber enemies. Important data being stolen might endanger your identity.
In order to prevent this, you should always check the updates on your software and apps, and download the latest version of it. They are designed in a way to fix all the weaknesses and threats that put your device in danger. That’s why constant software updates are recommended.
Don’t snooze the update notice next time it appears, but rather click on it. Also, if you think you can forget on checking for the next update, or the reminders are upsetting you, set an automatic updating.
- Beware of the fake shopping emails and apps
Many fake emails are sent with the intention to trick you into sending your personal information to an unverified source. The days during the holiday season are perfect for sending gifts or discounts and they will use this opportunity to push you for a quick action to send them your personal data and without realization, you will fall into their trap.
Another trend going on lately is downloading fake apps, created by hackers to collect relevant personal information from consumers. These apps are created to look legitimate, but their reviews and instructions are fake and can be easily missed during the busy holiday atmosphere. Most appear as app fashion stores and contain intentional typos as a clear sign that is a fake app.
Now that you are aware of the possible problems and you have the tips to protect yourself is all you need to have a safe and secure online shopping experience. Don’t forget that hackers and scammers will always be there waiting for unsecured networks to damage your personal identity, what matters most is to know how to protect yourself.