10 Online Shopping Safety Tips

Online shopping is a convenient way to find and purchase the things you need, but it’s important to be aware of the risks involved. Scammers and fraudsters are always looking for new ways to take advantage of consumers, especially during the holiday season.


Use a credit card or payment service

Skip the debit card since they are tied to your bank account. Credit Cards or payment services, like PayPal offer more protection.


Shop only on secure sites

The easiest way to tell is to look for “https” at the beginning of a site’s address. If you don’t see the “s” at the end of “http,” then the site is not encrypted and your data will not be secure. All legitimate shopping sites will have the “s” for your protection.


Update your software

Updating your software is one of the easiest things you can do to protect your information.


Use strong passwords

Secure, unique passwords are your best gatekeepers when it comes to keeping your private information private.


Don’t click on links

In addition to sneaky attacks in emails, beware of links to deals that are too good to be true on social networking sites. Look out for unbelievable offers and holiday gifts and bonuses.


Put devices on lockdown

Always use a passcode to access your tablet or smartphone, and log off your computer or lock the screen when you walk away from it. After accessing a shopping or banking site, be sure to completely log out of the site before exiting.


Outsmart email scams

Keep an eye out for email scammers that send out viruses and malware in the guise of a gift or special offer. Don’t open emails from someone you don’t know or a site you haven’t visited. Another way the bad guys try to get you is with phony messages from your bank or other financial institution saying there is an alert or problem with your account.


Skip optional fields

Give them only the information they require you to provide. If a complete address or phone number is optional, then skip those fields.


Use secure networks

Free hotspots are like manna from heaven when you’re out and about, but hackers like them even more than you do. Because public networks aren’t secured, any information you enter on a public network is ripe for the picking.


Shop only on secure sites

Apps make everything more convenient, including stealing your private information. Only download shopping apps from a reliable source like the Apple App Store or Google Play.