Online shopping is an easy and fun way to buy the things you need without leaving the comfort of your home. You can explore an endless array of products and brands, score the best deals, and get them delivered to your doorstep.
However, it’s crucial to think beyond the coolest deals and discounts while shopping online. Besides considering product quality, timely delivery, and comprehensive warranties, you should also think about your private data.
For a secure online shopping experience, Aktug Dogan, an online shopping expert at Refermate, shares 5 valuable tips on protecting your private data from cybercriminals and other malicious parties.
1. Shop Only From a Secure Connection
When shopping online, it’s important to ensure a secure connection before making any orders.
It’s advisable to use a proxy server for added online safety. By using a proxy, your data is protected from threats like phishing attacks, as it is routed through the proxy server, keeping your personal information secure.
Another useful tip is to use antivirus software to protect your computer and other devices from intrusive ads, malware, viruses, and ransomware. This will protect your passwords, financial information, and other data from theft.
Avoid making purchases or even browsing while on public networks — your browsing activity, passwords, and financial information may be compromised. These networks are highly vulnerable to hackers and cybercriminals.
2. Know Thy Merchant
Another crucial tip for online shopping is to know the merchant you’re buying from. If you know them, you can be sure to have a safe and reliable shopping experience in their store.
Moreover, if you know about the positive experiences of other customers with the store in question, you don’t have to worry much about its product quality.
If the merchant is unknown to you, do your due diligence. Read reviews from reliable sites and learn about other customers’ experiences. If there are no reviews for the store or it lacks positive feedback, it’s best to look elsewhere.
3. Avoid Stores That Ask for Too Much Information
It is common for online stores to ask you to share personal details like your shipping address, email address, contact number, and preferred payment method. But if they ask for other data that is not necessary for placing an order, take a minute to reconsider.
Never share highly personal and sensitive data like your driving licence number or bank account information.
Even if some sites ask you about your hobbies and interests, these questions are optional and marketing-related, so you can opt not to answer them.
4. Use Secure Payment Methods
Once you’ve added your products to your shopping cart and proceeded to checkout, you will see various payment options.
These include credit and debit cards, online wallets, cash-on-delivery (COD), and pay-on-delivery (POD). If you don’t wish to pay for your products in advance, choose the COD or POD option.
Avoid using debit cards or checks as they are lacking in security measures in case you face an issue. These payment options make it easy for cybercriminals to compromise your data and take money from your bank account.
5. Check Your Accounts Regularly
Regularly check your bank, checking account, and credit card statements to keep track of your online transactions. This is particularly crucial during the holiday season when you may shop online more often.
Check if there are any fraudulent transactions that you did not authorize. If you find a suspicious financial activity, take action immediately by calling your bank or credit card company and informing them about the issue. Settle your credit card bill only if all charges are legitimate.
Activate email and SMS notifications from your bank and credit card company for all of your transactions.