How can you stay safe when buying online?
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The safest way to purchase online doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get your favorite products or the things you need. You can still shop on many of your favorite websites as long as they are secure, and consumers are careful. Shoppers can safely purchase online by following online shopping best practices many of these are free to use.
One of the easiest things to do is to take care of all of your devices – like laptops and phones. Protecting yourself online from cyber criminals and malware attacks isn’t easy. A lot of people accept that it’s inevitable that their credit card is going to be compromised regardless of what they do. Stolen credit cards don’t have to be a given when you follow some of the safest ways to purchase online. Shoppers can help protect themselves, their sensitive information, and their money from fraudsters by buying smart and staying safe online.
The safest ways to purchase online may involve using an app from your favorite store. If you go to a website or an app and it seems sketchy, then you should probably back out and not use it. Many apps ask for excessive permissions which makes their intentions suspicious. Some may be poorly written, while others are actually spyware.
See 13 Tips for Safe Smartphone Shopping
For example, if you download a game, you should always do so from an official app store like Google Play or the Apple Store . However, if you download a game and it asks for permission to access your camera or to read your text messages, then you should get rid of it.
If a website requires you to enter a lot of information just to make a purchase even if the website seems legitimate you should stay safe by purchasing online somewhere else. Cybercriminals buy and sell sensitive personal information stolen credit cards email addresses and passwords on the dark web when you use a website that’s not secure or not legitimate, you’re putting all of your information entered into the website at risk.
One of the safest ways to purchase online is by using a mobile wallet to pay.
Use a mobile wallet to pay online and in stores
Some countries have embraced digital wallets for buying online payments faster than others. Now is one of the best times to start using a digital wallet. They are usually free to use and only take a few minutes to set up on a mobile device.
Digital wallets include some well-known names like PayPal, Venmo, Apple Pay, and Google Pay. All of these are free to use. Users can upload different payment methods including bank cards and debit cards. Some digital wallets even let users upload loyalty cards, train tickets, and drivers’ licenses. Using a digital wallet is one of the safest ways to purchase online.
Read Common Holiday Online Shopping Scams to Avoid
The retailer never receives the customers full payment card numbers making your payment more secure. In addition, you don’t need to carry a physical payment card with you to the store so there’s no chance of it getting lost or left at the cash register
Create Strong Passwords
Create hard to guess and unique passwords for each of your online accounts. Every year there is a published list at the most commonly used passwords. It never fails that each year; people still use passwords like 1234 or one that’s named for the website they are logging into. Use a strong password for each of your online accounts. if you are not feeling creative or can’t come up with a unique one for each login, then use a password keeper to create the passwords for you and store them.
Password keepers work across multiple devices, so you won’t have to worry about leaving a password back on your laptop when you need to use it on your phone.
Don’t reuse passwords
Never reuse passwords across multiple online accounts. This is a tough one for many people one of the safest ways to purchase online. People often reuse the same password over and over again . That means if a hacker is able to compromise one of your passwords in a data breach then they can access multiple accounts that belong to you. So, if a cybercriminal is able to break into your Instagram, they may also be able to use that information to get into your bank account and steal your money.
If you cannot remember a different password for every single online account (most online shoppers have over 100 accounts) then use a password keeper to help you create and store unique passwords for all of your logins.
Keep your apps up to date
Keep all of your apps and software up to date on all of your devices. This one is free and is one of the best ways to ensure you re purchasing online safely. Software developers often release new features for apps, but they also push updates to keep them secure. Update your devices with the latest versions of software as soon as they come out. You can read about what the device is patching for and what kind of security bugs exist if you out don’t update right away.
Update your operating system
Update your phone laptop and computer’s operating system as soon as security updates are released. Just like it’s important to keep all of your apps and software up to date your operating system occasionally receives updates too . You can set all of your devices to accept updates as soon as they come out automatically that way your device is secure.
Hackers can compromise devices if they are updated with security patches. In 2017, the massive WannaCry malware attack that infected over 100,000 computers in Europe and Asia is an example of this. Windows machines including those belonging to the British health care system were encrypted with ransomware. The security patch that could have protected these machines had been released two months earlier by Microsoft
Don’t overshare on social media
Be careful about what you share on social media. It’s not necessary to add sensitive information like your birthdate, email address, and cell phone number to your social media profiles. Your real friends know how to contact you and when to celebrate with you. Cybercriminals routinely glean details from social media profiles and use them in cyber attacks. Information like your hometown, birthdate, and phone number, are all answers to password reset questions. Keep this information private. It can help an attacker compromise more important online accounts like your credit card or bank.
How do you know if an online store is safe?
The safest way to purchase online – Check for a secure website security (HTTPS)
Often you might be shopping online and wonder about how you know if an online store is actually safe. Some stores may look suspicious while some really nice-looking websites may actually be rather sketchy. The first thing you should do when using any website as check to see that it has a valid security certificate. This means the website uses HTTPS or some people might say it has SSL secure socket layer.) When a website’s URL has https that means they have verified their identity and are using encryption to keep your information secure.
Look for the lock icon or the green shield in the upper left corner near the website’s address. If you’re using certain pages of the website, especially when you get to the checkout, and you receive a warning that the page might not be secure, then you shouldn’t enter in any sensitive information and definitely don’t shop on that website.