There is an endless list of reasons why people shop online these days. Besides the amazing bargains, you have a mind-boggling selection at your disposal. Also, there is the added advantage of fast shipping and easy returns/exchanges. In short, shopping has become a lot more convenient for all types of consumers. But what about the security? The question of data security and transactional safety crosses the mind of every customer at some point or the other. Here is a guide that will help you make safe online purchases each time you choose an e-retailer.
- Shop from reputed websites
Before feeding your card information into an online shopping site, make sure that you’re on a secure platform. To know this, try looking for a tiny padlock symbol found in the browser window (usually the address bar). The web address should begin with ‘https://’ where the ‘s’ symbolizes ‘secure’. There are also some tricks to identify the trustworthiness of a website. For instance, be careful about offers that seem ‘way too good’. This might suggest that the website is selling pirated or illegal items. You could also browse the reviews of the website by running a general online search.
- You don’t need to disclose all personal information
Don’t be too eager to provide all your personal information to any website. No e-retailer needs your birthday or social security number in order to sell you a product. If cybercriminals get hold of this data along with the details of your credit card, you could very well expect serious damage. Identity theft becomes a lot easier with more information.
- Use credit card over debit card
Generally speaking, credit cards are safer to use than debit cards when making online purchases. The key advantage of using a credit card is that this particular account has no direct connection to the actual funds owned by you. Besides this, as opposed to a debit card, a credit card usually has a credit limit.
- Keep checking statements
It may not be a good idea to wait until month end to check your statements. Instead, make it a habit to go online on a regular basis and check the electronic statements or e-statements for your debit/credit card and accounts. Ensure that there is no fraudulent charge originating from any website, including PayPal.
- Create a strong password
When shopping online using a pre-payment method, you will need to create a password for the transaction to be completed. This helps in keeping the personal information private. Ensure that you create a very strong password for your online transactions. It should ideally have a mix of numbers, letters (lower and upper case), and symbols.
- Avoid being tempted by free WiFi
Customers can often get tempted to use free WiFi connections that are sometimes available in public spaces (example malls and airports). Unfortunately, there is a lot of risk in using these free Internet networks. The unprotected and open nature of these networks makes them an easy target for cyber-attacks. If you’re looking to make online purchases, it is better to use a secure and private Internet source or your own phone network.
- Consumer rights
In case you’re making an online purchase that crosses $100, it is better to utilize your credit card instead of your debit card. The reason for using a credit card in such a situation is that you will be entitled to legal rights as provided under the Consumer Credit Act (Section 75).