7 Tips For Safer Online Shopping

October 9, 2021
7 Tips for Safer Online Shopping

Buy new clothes or decor or school supplies from your sofa, yes; get hacked, we prefer to avoid. Here are some tips and good habits to adopt to rule out cyberattacks and bad surprises.

E-commerce platforms have continued to multiply around the world, and the health crisis will only have naturally led to online consumption, even to the point of reaching a record of 22 billion visits, observed in June 2020.

Clothing from the latest fashion trends but also technological objects in the first place, or even now daily shopping (42% of the population in the United States last year), everything is a pretext to order directly from its computer, tablet or smartphone. 

We would even expect 63% of the world’s population to shop on the Internet by 2025, according to Statista.

As a result, the resurgence of cyberthreats (phishing, data theft, spam, etc.) according to Avira *, publisher of antivirus software, gives us invaluable advice for making online purchases in complete safety and without being hacked.

1. Shop In Trusted Stores

The probability of being scammed is much lower if the purchases are made on reputable and/or already known e-commerce platforms. However, it is necessary to verify that we are on the right site.

A typo in the address bar could redirect to a scam site that looks like the one you are looking for but is actually designed to steal personal data. Creating fake websites is one of the most common phishing techniques.

2. Beware Of Phishing Scams

Phishing comes in many forms: fake websites, emails with phishing links, social media posts that promote offers that are too good to be true.

When an offer looks far too interesting, internet users should remain vigilant and check all the details. Scammers often use the urgency argument to convince buyers to buy the product immediately, without reading the terms.

3. Check New Online Stores

If consumers do find a great deal on an online store they don’t know, take a few moments to check out a few details. Mainly to make sure that the site uses the secure HTTPS protocol. Next, you need to inspect the SSL certificate to make sure the site is as described.

Note: Every secure site that uses encryption has an SSL certificate. 

To view it, just click on the padlock icon in the address bar. Under Chrome and Safari, you must click on “Display the certificate”. In Firefox, the click is made on “Secure connection” then on “More information”. The name of the certificate must match the company that owns the website and it must be issued by a trusted authority such as VeriSign, Thawte, Entrust, or Symantec for example.

4. Online Shopping: Avoid Public Wi-fi

Public Wi-Fi networks are inherently insecure and should be avoided regardless of activity.

To make purchases or view your accounts on the Internet, or other activities that contain sensitive data, such as credit card numbers, you should never use public Wi-Fi.

While it’s convenient to be able to shop anywhere, don’t forget that cybercriminals can easily intercept any data they can on public Wi-Fi.

5. Use a VPN

If consumers have no other choice, they can protect the connection with a VPN. The latter masks the IP address and creates a tunneling protocol between the local network and the server that Internet users are trying to access, which encrypts data in transit. Other users and even the ISP will not be able to track their activities.

Besides increasing security and privacy, there is another advantage of using a VPN to shop on the Internet: Those looking for great deals may find what they are looking for.

Indeed, using a VPN opens up the possibility of shopping on the site of another country, where the prices are lower, or even accessing good deals that are not valid for their region.

6. Set Up Dedicated Passwords

You usually have to create an account on each of the online stores, so there is a great temptation to reuse the same passwords.

For more security, take the time to create a unique password for each of your accounts. If the imagination and ideas of passwords are not present, it is possible to use a password manager.

On these managers, as Avira offers, Internet users can save as many passwords as they want and instantly log into all of their favorite online stores by remembering only one master password.

In addition, some online stores also allow you to log in using another account, such as Facebook or Google.

It may sound convenient and easy, but remember that by choosing this solution, the store has access to the user’s public profile, email address, maybe even the user’s contact list.

To limit the volume of personal data, it is better to create separate accounts for each service used.

With a password manager, organizing all your accounts becomes a snap.

7. Pay With a Credit Card Whenever Possible

To limit risk, using a credit card rather than an immediate debit card can also be a solution where possible. If the card details end up in the wrong hands, cybercriminals would not have access to the paying person’s bank account.

Unfortunately, credit card fraud is very common and credit cardholders are not responsible for fraudulent purchases. Using a virtual credit card is also an option, which allows you to have a temporary bank card number, which hackers cannot reuse.

* Thanks to Avira, an antivirus software publisher whose mission is to protect people in a connected world and to give everyone the means to take back the reins of their digital life.

The company’s portfolio includes many award-winning security and privacy products, designed for Windows and Mac, for Android and iOS, for home networks and connected objects (IoT).

Image by Mikhail Nilov

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Margaud Raynaud is a beauty expert with over 10 years of experience in the industry. She has a passion for sharing her knowledge and tips with others and has a particular interest in skincare and makeup. When she's not writing about health and beauty, Margaud enjoys trying out new products and experimenting with different looks. Follow her blog for expert advice and inspiration for living your best life.

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