It is hard to deny the convenience of online shopping as retailers often offer greater variety on their websites as well as exclusive sales and discounts. It’s important for every savvy shopper to follow these simple tips to stay safe while shopping online.
Stay Away from Public Wi-Fi
Shopping for new shoes while you stand in line at Starbucks may seem like the pinnacle of modern society, but you could be setting yourself up for identity theft. Entering personal information while using a public Wi-Fi network allows hackers, with the right software, to easily obtain your personal and financial data. Many companies with public Wi-Fi, like restaurants, coffee shops, do not encrypt your data so it is better to wait until you get home to hit that “checkout” button.
Use a Credit Cards
Using a credit card is one of the safest ways to pay for online services. If you use a debit card, check, or Paypal to pay for items on a scam site, you cannot always get your money back because you have to find the scammers in order to recover your losses. If you use a credit card, however, the Fair Credit Billing Act allows you to challenge charges made to your card. Your credit card company can issue you a reimbursement for unwanted charges and even send out a new, secure card. If you are an avid online shopper, check your bank statements regularly to ensure financial security. If your statement contains charge you do not recognize, call your credit card company ASAP!
There’s an App for That
Investing in an app that protects your login and credit card information is one of the easiest way to combat cybersecurity threats and keep your identity safe while you shop online. An app like Joinesty can help you to find your logins for websites, keep them secure, and even find coupon codes. Or, for a different kind of safe shopping, you might try something like Fakespot that analyzes product reviews and lets you know if they are genuine. There are quite a few extensions and applications out there that can make your shopping experience safe and cost effective if you look for them. Be sure to check out the reputation of any application that handles your sensitive information before you try it, though.
Do not let the easy and convenience of online shopping lull you into a false sense of security. Hackers are sophisticated, and it is not always easy to recover from identity theft. Be a smart shopper and make online shopping safe, sound, and savvy.