It is a good thing that you found this article. Why? Because, when you first get a computer and hook up to the internet, no one magically appears to teach you online shopping safety. Exercising shopping safety online is not a secret, but it is not publicized either. If you are going to use the internet to shop for anything, there are three things you need to understand to protect yourself, and your computer.
- Understand the online shopping risks.
- Safe online shopping is entirely your responsibility.
- Be proactive.
There are sites out there that exist primarily to spread malware, viruses, and spyware, all of which can destroy your computer, steal your information, or both. Opening links and downloading anything are the riskiest of actions you can take online. Online shopping is a particularly risky activity because you will at some point by entering your credit card information into a website.
As a general rule, you should only shop at trusted, familiar websites. You can tell if a site is secure because its address will start with “https” and may have a little lock symbol next to it. Also, be careful where in the real world you choose to do your online shopping. Will you be at home using your WiFi? Make sure your WiFi is password protected and secure. Will you be out in public on your laptop? That might not be a good idea, as public WiFi can be targeted by hackers.
There are applications for your browser that will warn you ahead of time if a site is good or bad. When it comes to online shopping, it can help to be a little suspicious and paranoid. If a deal seems too good to be true, ask yourself if you really trust the site and the company. Does the website look kind of fishy? You should always check your credit card and bank statements to see if there is any strange activity after a round of online shopping.
Part of the success of malware has been because most internet users never learned the importance of internet security. Malware and identity theft are less of a concern the more you know about the risks, and what you can do to prevent them. Shopping online does not have to be a harrowing experience as long as you follow these three tips for online shopping safety.