The 9 essential tips to shop safely online
Did you know that in the US 230 million people spend over $871 billion a year shopping online?
When shopping online you can shop from wherever, find anything you want, find the best deals and you save time along the way. But how do you know you’re shopping safely and you’re not about to fall victim to scams?
Knowing how to stay safe while you shop online allows you to be confident and happy on every step of the way. Let LifePoints guide you through the 9 best things you can do so you can make the best decisions possible when shopping online.
1. Only use secure sites when online
When shopping online only use secure sites. Secure can mean a variety of things, but did you know that all major browsers tell you if the site has a security certificate? On the search bar there is a padlock icon if the site has a security certificate. Don’t worry, your browser will tell you if it isn’t secure. Certificates aren’t a complete guarantee, but they are as close as possible. So, they should help you shop with confidence.
2. Use a strong password
A strong password gives you a lot of relief and security when shopping safely online. The stronger your password is the safer you are from hackers. The password for your email address needs to be the most secure as a lot of your passwords are connected to your email address.
Some other tips for creating stronger passwords include:
- Use special characters such as “&” or “!”
- Use a password generator
- Use a password manager
- Monitor the news for data breaches
Check to see how secure your password is with Password Monster, which lets you know long it would take a hacker to figure it out.
3. Use a secure internet connection
The Wi-Fi network you use can impact how safe you are when shopping online. When you use a secure internet connection, your data is protected. But not all Wi-Fi networks are the same. The best tip for finding a good network is to avoid using public Wi-Fi networks when you shop. If you have to use a public network, a VPN can help disguise your location and protect your data.
4. Look at customer review sites
Google reviews, Facebook, Trustpilot reviews and even social media are a great way to see if a site is safe. A lot of the time if a site isn’t safe, reviews from other customers will tell you. If other customers are saying the site is safe you can be more confident that it is.
5. Only use secure payment systems you trust
Using secure payment systems you trust is one of the best ways to feel safe when shopping online. Gift cards are great because you don’t connect your bank details. PayPal is great because there is a thorough security system . Credit cards are a good option as you can often get up to $50,000 in protections , and your bank will provide customer service if you run into any problems. You need to pay for your shopping one way or another, so secure payment systems are a must.
6. Only give away the necessary details
As you know, when you shop online you need to give your name, address and other payment information. To help stay safe online make sure you only hand over those details that are absolutely needed for your purchase. If the site is asking you for extra information that you feel isn’t needed, be careful and decide exactly what information to give away and what to protect. If you have doubts, look for what you want to buy on another, more secure website.
7. Follow the news for recent data breaches
From time-to-time websites have data breaches where criminal hackers can steal customer data that is sold on the dark web. The breaches can be for personal info, customer profiles or even financial information. So keeping an eye on the news to see who has been breached can help you stay alert so you can react and protect your data when you shop online.
8. Know about the latest scams going around
We’ve all heard about scams when shopping, but when you know what to look for you can beat the scammers and shop with confidence. A few things to look out for are phishing scams (when someone pretends to be someone else), identity theft, email fraud and viruses. If you are aware these, as well as using the other tips on this page, you know what to avoid and can shop safely online.
9. If you’re not sure about something check again
Now you know how to shop online safely
Shopping online has so many benefits and it’s growing. In 2021 over 230 million people in the US bought something online. Staying safe when you shop is important, and using the tips/info in this article will help you stay safe.
If you want to make it even better and do that online shopping for free, earn a gift card for free from LifePoints. Sign up, take our surveys and share your opinion to get rewarded with points. Once you have enough points you can exchange them for great rewards. You can even get 10 complimentary points just for signing up.
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