A lot of people shop predominantly online nowadays, especially after the holidays (gotta use those gift cards). However, hackers anticipate this, and they will use every tool at their disposal to try and scam you out of your hard-earned cash. What can you do to stay safe?
Before we get too deep into this concept, know that many of these tips will also apply not just to secure online shopping, but to secure online activity in general. Without further ado, let’s take a look at some tips to help you stay safe online.
Only Shop from Established or Trusted Retailers
Look, we are all about supporting small local businesses, and doing so is fine as long as you know they are not out to rip you off or steal your credentials. That said, if you are unfamiliar with the retailer, how can you be sure that the website is legitimate and that you are actually paying the correct company and not a hacker? Make sure you do your research before trusting any company or organization with your hard-earned cash.
Look for the Padlock Icon
When shopping online, there is one golden rule that you absolutely must follow: look for encrypted connections, i.e. identifying the padlock icon in the browser bar. This indicates that the payment portal is secure and that you should not have to worry about whether or not your credentials will get stolen.
Watch Out for Phishing Scams
During the holiday season, many people will receive emails for receipts, order confirmations, shipping information, and more. The oldest trick in the book, in some cases, involves hackers sending out these types of messages in an attempt to fool you into handing over your authorization or payment information. It’s incredibly important that you do not click on these links or fall for these messages. Always check the authenticity of the message—for example, if you see an email from Amazon, make sure it actually comes from Amazon and not some random email address. Similarly, double-check your order history to make sure that you actually ordered the item in question.
Whichever holiday you celebrate, know that staying safe online is a simple matter of remaining vigilant and understanding that there is always the possibility of someone stealing your credit card information or scamming you. When you are willing to accept this reality, you can be more mindful of your online shopping practices and ensure you are doing all that you can to protect yourself.
Stay safe out there!