These days, shopping online isn’t a risky, crazy or scary task, but with all of the cyber criminals out and about, you might want to think twice before clicking “submit payment.”
If you are going to be shopping online, there are some things that you can do to keep yourself safe. Here are some tips:
Tips for Avoiding Online Shopping Scams
- Think about this; if you were a cybercriminal, how would you lure a victim? You might put an ad on social media, for instance, sharing an amazing deal. If you see a deal that looks too good to be true, it probably is.
- What if you want to look at the deal? It doesn’t hurt to look, right? Wrong. Sometimes even clicking on the ad can download a virus onto your computer.
- Back up your computer regularly, especially before you start shopping online.
- You can be protected if you use security software like firewall software, antivirus software, antispyware, and antiphishing, even if you go to a malicious site.
- Don’t use a debit card if you can help it. If you pay with a debit card and a scammer takes your money, you might never get it back.
- It’s much safer to use a credit card. If you pay with a credit card, you can dispute the charge, and the credit card company will work with you and reverse the charges.
- Also, if you use a credit card, contact the company to find out if they have a “one-time use number” for the card. This way, if you do make a purchase to the scammer, they can’t use that number again.
- If you are shopping for common, everyday items, only buy them from reputable, big-name retailers. All of the URLs should have a padlock symbol next to them, and they should say “https” not “http.”
- If you are buying from a merchant you are not familiar with, familiarize yourself with the site’s reputation. Do some research to find out if anyone has had issues with the site in the past.
- Keep in mind that a merchant doesn’t need any more information than your name/address, credit card info, and shipping info. If they ask for other information, like a birthday or Social Security number, do not give it. It is probably a scam. Do not give retailers like this any information about you.
- Don’t shop online when you are connected to public Wi-Fi. If you don’t have a choice, you can use a VPN, virtual private network, to make sure all of your information is encrypted.
Consider identity theft protection as an additional layer to protect your identity from various scams. No one is immune from fraud or all scams, but identity theft protection services are there to watch your back and assist in case something goes wrong.
Online shopping should be a very worry-free process, but there are some things you can do, as listed above, to reduce your risk of danger. By making these practices a habit, you can stay safe now and in the future.
ROBERT SICILIANO CSP, is a #1 Best Selling Amazon author, CEO of CreditParent.com, the architect of the CSI Protection certification; a Cyber Social and Identity and Personal Protection security awareness training program.