Safe Online Shopping Tips
Online shopping has taken tremendous strides over the last few years, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is convenient and keeps us safe in our houses. It is also easy to get discounts and free shipping online, like the Harbor Freight coupon and free shipping codes. Shopping online saves you money.
However, it is also convenient for cybercriminals and fraudsters. They will try to trick you into paying for goods you will not receive. They will also get your personal information and use it for financial gain. Here are some basic guidelines to keep you safe as you shop online.
Stay on Familiar Websites
As you are shopping, be careful of search results that trigger pop-ups. They can lead you astray. So, stay on well-known websites. You are less likely to lose your money and identity. Beware of misspellings of the sites you want. Also, check the domain. Some websites will use .net instead of .com to trick you into clicking on them.
Think Before You Click
Take care before you click on a text or email, just as you are careful before clicking on websites. Skip promotions that encourage you to urgently click on links. Instead, go to the company’s website to confirm if the promotion email is legitimate. If it is not, notify your email provider of the phishing attempt.
Look for the Lock
Never purchase anything from a website without a secure socket layer (SSL). If a website has SSL, its URL will start with HTTPS instead of HTTP. You will also notice an icon of a locked padlock. It is on the left of the URL or the status bar below. Google also flags websites without SSL as not secure.
Do Not Overshare
If an e-store requires more information than is necessary to make a sale, walk away! Never give your social security, bank, driver’s license, or birthday information. Where possible, share as little information as possible. The more information you share, the more vulnerable you are to fraudsters and cybercriminals. Do not save your payment information to your profile.
Keep Tabs on Your Bank and Credit Card Statement
Do not wait for the bills to come. Go online and view your electronic statements. Look for any fraudulent charges, even if they seem to come from legitimate websites. Also, use your credit card for purchases. Any seller who wants any other form of payment is a red flag.
Use Your Credit Instead of Debit Card
It is much better to use your credit instead of a debit card for payments just in case something goes wrong. There are more protections for credit than debit cards. Debit cards link to your bank account. Therefore, there is a higher risk of a fraudster or cybercriminal hacking your information.
You can use payment services like PayPal instead. Payment services and credit cards also offer speedy refunds if something goes wrong. When a fraudulent transaction or site tries to charge a credit card, the credit card company can reverse the transaction. They can also investigate immediately.
There are many tips to help you stay safe when shopping online. As the online platform grows, so do the scams. Try to keep up with what is happening to avoid falling prey to these scams.