Shopping online has become safer than ever. With a provided level of convenience that you can’t get anywhere else, it’s not only a popular way to shop, but it has quickly become the method of choice for a majority of North American consumers over the last decade.
However, even with ever-improving safety features being offered to digital shoppers, it’s still important that you remain cautious when making transactions online! Offering the wrong types of information could become detrimental to your privacy, your safety, and your bank account.
Protecting your credit card and personal information is surprisingly quite easy, and with a little planning can ensure that each purchase is completed without worry. Check out our top 10 tips for safe online shopping below!
Ways to Protect Yourself
- Only shop through reputable websites. The company you’re purchasing with should be familiar and well publicized before you decide to buy anything through their online store. If you are shopping through a smaller site, make sure you read customer reviews. Negative experiences are often widely discussed online, so a quick search will give insight into any potential security issues.
- Don’t over indulge in personal information. An online store has no use for your social security number and other personal information. An address, email, name, phone number, and credit card number are should be all that’s necessary.
- All online businesses should have a SSL (secure sockets layer). Do not purchase anything from a store that doesn’t have one.
- Try to use PayPal for online purchases. It offers extra security and makes online shopping even more convenient. If your purchase never arrives, communication ends with the seller, or you run into mostly any other issue that prevents you from getting the goods you paid for, PayPal will cancel the transaction and all funds will be returned to your bank account or credit card.
- Keep track of your online shopping habits. Check your bank statements after making purchases to assure that you weren’t charged more than necessary. It’s easy for small charges to go unnoticed when you shop online often, but doing regular checks of your credit card statements will ensure there is no suspicious activity.
- Use strong passwords when you sign up with a new online store. The stronger the password, the harder it is for your account with the shop to get hacked. Additionally, use different passwords than you use for your e-mail. If someone happens to hack into the online store’s database, you don’t want them to be able to use that information to log into your e-mail account.
- Use apps for your favorite stores. Shopping over your mobile device is said to be safer than shopping through a store’s mobile website.
- Make sure you have a secure Wi-Fi connection at home. Making purchases through unsecure Internet service is never wise. Ensure that you avoid buying anything while on a public Wi-Fi signal, and have a strong password implemented for your home Wi-Fi.
- Use gift cards to make purchases instead of credit cards. This is the simplest tip, yet is often overlooked. By purchasing gift cards by cash in a store, you’ll be able to complete full purchases online without ever having to give out credit card information. You may even be able to gain perks through your local grocery store for buying gift cards, saving you even more money and making your online shopping more secure.
- Avoid free product purchases and deals that seem too good to be true. In most cases, they are too good to be true. Non-reputable sources may even distribute your personal information to third parties, all but ensuring your e-mail inbox will start filling with spam.
The most important tip when shopping online is the simplest: use your logic! If a website has bad reviews, asks for too much personal information, or otherwise seems too good to be true, then continue your search for a trustworthy site to complete your purchase on.