One of the biggest conveniences of the internet is that it allows you to shop for the things you need without ever physically going to the store. The internet has single-handedly changed the consumer lifestyle because of its time-saving advantages and accessibility 24-7. With that said, online shopping sprees have become rampant, and while most websites from big retailers are secure, it’s best to know how to protect yourself from cybercrimes.
If you’ve seen the news in the last couple of years, cybercriminals have increased and have become bolder. They have developed insidious techniques and technology to access information, steal data, and do harm to their targets. For what it’s worth, giving up the internet is not an option everyone can take. Therefore, necessary precautions can provide you with extra security, so here are some tips you can follow.
1. Use Antivirus and Antispyware Programs
Antivirus and antispyware programs should be installed on your computer if you plan to have the internet. You may opt for the basic and free ones, but you can also go for paid programs because they offer better protection and support. It is critical that you, as an online shopper, have these programs up-to-date to secure your PC from attacks and other viruses.
It will also help keep your information private, especially for transactions. This is especially true if you have an online store where you sell stuff. While reputable e-commerce platforms are secure, you can never be too sure, so take this extra step to protect yourself.
2. Only Shop on Secure Websites
Ideally, all websites should be secure, but then there are malicious criminals who impersonate reputable stores so they can get their hands on other people’s financial information online. Make it a habit to shop only on secure websites and check for anything fishy. You would know if the website is secure when there is a padlock icon and the URL begins with https. Any other variation will mean that that website is not encrypted and, therefore, is prone to being hacked.
Once you find an online shop hosted on a trusted e-commerce platform, you can now splurge without worrying about getting your information stolen.
3. Use a Credit Card instead of Debit Card
Credits cards are better for online purchases than debit cards are. If your bank details and card details have been compromised, the hackers have complete access to your savings because the debit card is directly linked to your bank account. Any fraudulent purchases can be made right away, and the money being withdrawn will be much harder to recover.
As for credit cards, the bank can intercept transactions if the criminals decide to make big purchases. Additionally, CCs have spending limits and, therefore, will not go over. It is recommended to get a credit card with a low credit limit for your online shopping.
4. Always Use Unique Usernames and Passwords
It can be tempting to use the same username and password for all internet accounts, especially if you love online shopping. You may be thinking that it is much more convenient and there’s not much to memorize.
However, this can compromise your online safety. As soon as the hacker realizes you only use one username and password, they will have access to every account you own. As an additional tip, online shoppers are encouraged to use strong passwords.
5. Constantly Monitor Card Activity
If you use a card for online shopping, make it a habit to check it for activity and statements. For every purchase, take note of how much you paid and how much balance you have left if you’re using a debit card. For extra protection, you can take advantage of bank notifications for purchases that are made over a certain amount.
Bonus Tip: Never Shop Using Public Wi-Fi!!!!
In case it isn’t obvious yet, you should never shop using public Wi-Fi or hotspot. Most of these connections are not secure, and anyone with a little bit of knowledge can have access to the data that is on a public network. When you shop online, you will be inputting your financial and personal information, and doing so will attract hackers to steal your data and your money.
What steps do you take to protect yourself from cybercriminals and hackers? Share your tips and advice in the comments section below.