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Top 3 Tips to Stay Safe when Shopping Online

16 July 2018 No Comment

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Online shopping is widely favoured across consumers of all ages and incomes for the convenience it offers: you can shop anytime, from anywhere, and your orders are delivered straight to your door. However, it also entails a few risks that are unique to the internet, as you have to provide sensitive information like your banking and credit card details to proceed with the purchase. The online shopping world abounds with cybercriminals out to get you and trick you out of your money, so it is best to follow some necessary steps to ensure that you are shopping securely.

1. Trust your Gut

It might seem old-fashioned but employing common sense can help you avoid a lot of pitfalls online. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is: there is no way your favourite pair of sneakers is suddenly 90% off or that a major airline is giving away thousands of tickets on Facebook. Be extra careful when you see incentives that try to lure you into acting fast: an offer that is only available for the next two hours, with a giant digital clock counting down the seconds, can be a very effective trick for fraudsters to make you go through with the purchase before you think it through.


2. Look out for Security Features

When you are done with browsing and have selected the items you want to buy, it is easy to let your guard down and just go through the payment process quickly. After all, that is the boring part – yet it is also the dangerous part. Take a couple of minutes to verify that the site you are shopping on is doing everything it should to protect your privacy and keep your details safe. Make sure that the payment page starts with “https://” and that you see a padlock icon on the top left, which means that your connection is secure. Also verify that the site complies with PCI DSS requirements, a set of security standards formed in 2004 by major credit and debit card providers like Visa and MasterCard, which aim to secure transactions against data theft and fraud.

3. Shop at Trusted Websites

Fake websites and fake links are a menace for online shoppers. So, when in doubt, always perform a background check on a website that seems phoney  – just search for customer reviews or try contacting the company directly. It is also advisable to prefer large and trusted websites that take their clients’ security seriously and will be able to protect you. Amazon is currently leading in online retail, as consumers spent more than 22 billion minutes on its website in December 2017 alone, with eBay following with 6.2 billion minutes and Walmart third at 3 billion – so, start with the big players and then move out to niche yet verified websites.

Infographic: Amazon Dominates Online Shopping in the U.S. | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

Even if a couple of these steps seem like they will require extra time and effort on your part, they are well worth it if you want to avoid online fraud and make sure that you get the most out of your shopping experience.

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