Tips for Shopping Safely Online
Lets face it the Holiday Season is upon us. Many of us will be shopping at our favorite websites. This blog post will give you some basic Tips for Shopping Safely Online.
Tip #1 Update Your Computer or your cell Phone
The quickest and easiest way to to shopping safely online is to run the latest version of the operating system on your computer. If you shop with your phone then take the time to update the phones software. Many of us forget to update our cell phones as well. Running the latest software is the #1 thing you can do to make sure you can shop safely online.
Tip # 2 Look for the https:// in your Web Address Line
Look for “https” at the beginning of the web address (as opposed to just “http”). This means the site session is encrypted. Never provide credit information unless you see “https”. Also you will see a lock symbol at the beginning. See picture below.
Tip#3 Look Out for Look-a-Like Sites
Sometimes scammers will creates fake websites that look close to the real site, except the name is slightly misspelled. Be especially careful when you clicked on a link from an unsolicited email. Just because it had the banks logo, does not mean it took you to the right site.
Even though search engines are very useful when you’re looking for products, reviews, or price comparisons, you run the risk of unintentionally clicking on ‘poisoned’ search results that could lead you to malware instead of your intended destination. These poisoned search results are created by cybercriminals that use search engine optimization (SEO) tricks – sometimes referred to as Black SEO – to manipulate search engine results to include malicious links.
Tip#4 Type the URL into the address bar
Instead of just clicking a link to take you to your chosen retailer’s website, it’s safer to type the retailer’s URL into the address bar on your web browser. It may take a little more effort, but this simple action can help to prevent you visiting a fake or malicious website.
Tip#5 Manage and Protect Online Passwords
Using the same password everyplace will just get you into a lot of trouble. Its best to make sure each online account has a separate password. That way if one account is compromised, the hackers don’t have the passwords to your other online accounts.
The easiest way to do this is use a password manager program. Using a password manager can help you to deal with multiple accounts and passwords – and to encrypt passwords that would otherwise be in plain text. Some antivirus and Internet security software products include password management and password security features.
My Favorite password manager is lastpass For the cost of $12.00 a year, you can get the premium version. Very affordable.
Tip #6 Beware of using public Wi-Fi
When you’re in a shopping mall – about to make a purchase – it can be useful to make a last minute comparison with the best deals that Internet retailers are offering. However, there can be security risks if you access the Internet via a public Wi-Fi network . Cybercriminals can intercept your data and capture your passwords, login details, and financial information. If you need to access the Internet when you’re out shopping, it’s safer to do so via your cellular network.
Tip #7 Always Use A Credit Card Shopping online
Always use a credit card when shopping online. Do not use a Debit Card.
Tip#8 Check out These Websites for additional information on Shopping Safely Online
My favorites to help you shop safely on Cyber Monday from Staysafeonline.org site:
When in doubt, Throw it out
Personal information is like money
Use safe payment options
My favorites to help you shop safely on Cyber Monday from onguardonline.gov site:
Tip# 9 Check out the terms of the deal, like refund policies and delivery dates.
Can you return the item for a full refund if you’re not satisfied? If you return it, who pays the shipping costs or restocking fees, and when you will get your order? A Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rule requires sellers to ship items as promised or within 30 days after the order date if no specific date is promised. Many sites offer tracking options, so you can see exactly where your purchase is and estimate when you’ll get it.
Tip# 10 How to Report Online Shopping Fraud
If you have problems during a transaction, try to work them out directly with the seller, buyer, or site operator. If that doesn’t work, file a complaint with:
- the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/complaint
- your state Attorney General, using contact information at naag.org
- your county or state consumer protection agency. Check the blue pages of the phone book under county and state government, or visit consumeraction.gov and look under “Where to File a Complaint.”
- the Better Business Bureau
Have a happy and safe holiday season.
Corey & Associates – Technology & Business Advisors
My Blog: http://michaelcorey.com/
My Personal Twitter Account: Michael_Corey
Columnist for the Big Data Quarterly. <Click Here to Subscribe Big Data Quarterly>