Safe Online Shopping: Top Tips to Follow

Identity theft, package fraud, chargeback fraud, account takeovers, and phishing scams are major threats to online shoppers and merchants. However, because hacking thefts are not as visible as traditional thefts, fraudsters are much harder to track down and catch, according to research from VPNWelt.

Even major companies like eBay, Amazon, and EasyJet have exposed the data of billions of customers in recent years. Shoppers face significant financial losses, so we all need to learn to take our security into our own hands. Read on to learn how to ensure your safety when shopping online.

Online shopping security tips

Shop only on HTTPS websites

Make sure the online store you visit uses HTTPS. This means that your data from your browser to the website you are shopping on is protected by simple TLS encryption. HTTPS websites aren’t necessarily super-secure, but if the operator has gone to the trouble of implementing HTTPS to protect your data, you know they’ve at least taken an important step.

Make sure you’re visiting a reputable online business

Before filling in personal information to complete your purchase, ensure you are on the right online store. There are many ways for hackers and scammers to redirect you to a fake website, or in other words, fake the URL.

Avoid email links

Another method fraudsters can use to get your credit card information is phishing. This is a very popular and effective way to scam someone using carefully crafted emails. They usually offer you discounts or deals that are hard to resist. They may also contain a fake URL that will take you to an order page, making the scam even more convincing.

Be careful with URL shorteners

Marketers love URL shorteners because they make long URLs full of tracking codes less unappealing. However, scammers can also use URL shorteners to disguise the URL you’re being sent to.

If you see an ad with a URL shortener for a cheap offer, you should navigate to the brand’s website yourself by simply using your address bar. Most likely, you will find the same discount on the brand’s website. If not, it might be that a scammer used the URL shortener you saw.

Monitor your debit card and credit card statements

You should always keep track of your purchases and their prices. This way, you can spot potential hacks or unfair business practices and respond to them as soon as possible. Reputable companies may overstate discounts or add hidden fees that you’ll be charged after the purchase is complete. If you use a banking app, turn on push notifications to track the payments you make.

Keep your browser up to date

Your browser is how you get from one online store to another. Therefore, you must keep it updated and equipped with the best security and privacy extensions. This way, you’ll protect your data from being lost.

Practice good password security

Good password security is always essential, but it’s easy to forget it when creating new shopping accounts for different online stores. Creating unique and secure passwords for each site can be a big challenge if you plan to make many purchases.

Consider using a virtual credit card

A virtual credit card is exactly what it sounds like – a purely digital credit card that you can only use online. You can make purchases online without revealing your real credit card information by linking it to a real credit or debit card. You can also set your virtual credit card to only allow purchases up to a certain amount or expire after a particular day.

The less information you reveal, the better

After you’ve made a few purchases on trusted sites, you’ll get an idea of what kind of data they legitimately ask for:

  • Your billing information;
  • The address to which the product should be delivered;
  • Your name and contact information.