Shopping and Paying Safely Online: 4 Tips for Shoppers

pay onlineOnline shopping is a blessing for people who hate walking through a hundred different stores to find what they need. They don’t have to exert too much physical effort anymore because they can buy whatever it is even without getting up from the bed.

However, as easy as it is for people to buy online, many dangers come with it, especially when it comes to money transactions. Here are some tips for you to stay safe whenever you do your online shopping:

1. Skip Using Your Credit Card

Online stores usually offer the use of credit cards as a mode of payment when people purchase from them. However, since the rise of many online scammers and hackers, people became hesitant to share their credit card number online. A few ways you can skip using your credit card include:

  • Wiring the Money
    Wire transfer involves the use of SWIFT codes to send money from your bank account to somebody else’s bank account. You are safe from being phished or hacked because a person cannot open a bank account without proper and valid details.
  • Using a Virtual Credit Card Number
    Some banks offer a virtual credit card number. Instead of using your real card number, you can use a temporary number that is sent to you by the bank, which expires quickly. You don’t have to share your real credit card number, therefore minimizing your risks.
  • Using Mobile Payment Apps
    When you use mobile payment apps such as Google Pay and Apple Pay, you need a one-use authentication code to make a purchase. Since you can only use it once, no one can steal and use it again. When you make another purchase, you will receive another different code.

2. Don’t Use Public Wi-Fi

Online shopping makes it possible for you to shop at home, so if you’re at a cafe or restaurant, try to enjoy your food and wait until you get home to make a purchase. Public Wi-Fi is not as secure as your home Wi-Fi.

Your home Wi-Fi encrypts your data while public Wi-Fi doesn’t, which means any stranger who knows what he’s doing can steal your identity. Even mobile hotspots aren’t secure, too. If you’re already out, then it won’t be too much of a hassle to stop by the store to get what you need, since you’re already out of the house.

However, if you really must make a purchase but can’t wait until you get home, use a VPN to make sure your data is secure while using public Wi-Fi.

3. Secure Your Passwords

Your password is the most basic security feature to secure your accounts. Whatever it is, you’re the only person who should know it unless you truly trust someone to have that information. You can ensure the safety of your password by:

  • Creating a Strong Password
    You need to create a strong password so hackers will have difficulty in figuring it out. Avoid using common passwords like 00000 or even QWERTY. Mix up random letters and numbers.
  • Changing It Regularly
    It seems tedious, but regularly changing your password helps in lessening the risk of someone hacking your account. You should change your password a few times a year, maybe every 3–6 months.
  • Using Different Passwords
    You might think it’s convenient to use the same password for all of your accounts, but that is a terrible idea. If a hacker figures out your password for one account, they can easily hack your other accounts too. So, make sure to use different ones.

4. Shop on Trusted Websites

A website with HTTPS (not just HTTP) on its URL is one you can trust. It’s because those sites have secure sockets layer (SSL). There should also be a closed padlock or unbroken key icon on its side, too. If you see these, it means your data is encrypted and it’s safe for you to shop on these sites.

Shop on sites that are well known such as Amazon or the online counterparts of known retail stores such as Target and Home Depot. Don’t rely too much on search results because sometimes websites with good SEO (search engine optimization) can appear as the top result but they may not safe. If it’s not a secure site, Google Chrome indicates the website as Not Secure on its URL.

Final Thoughts

Technology really made things easier for us to find and get what we need. A few minutes of browsing and a then a few clicks here and there and can make shopping a breeze. Wait a few days, and then your package will be delivered right at your doorstep. It’s convenient and easy, but make sure you take the necessary measures to keep yourself and your accounts safe.

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