ONLINE SHOPPING. SAFETY TIPS.
Online shopping has been my field on E-commerce for the past 3 years, from developing new websites daily via Shopify to customer service there are a thousand topics of discussion I can bring to the table. Since the increase in online shopping and the development of massive supplying websites like Amazon or Aliexpress doing online shopping has become a market competition and a positive profitable place.
If you are an average user, you are probably already aware of the normal precautions and have taken them yourself. Ease of use and convenience when browsing for different products or searching for the best prices has improved greatly. However, at the same time, online threats and frauds have also increased exponentially. Thus, from time to time, all of us must review our behavior and think again if our habits are secure. So, here’s how to stay safe when shopping online:
- Use your Personal Computer – you can’t trust a computer that does not belong to you not even the computer at your office. It might not have the appropriate protection and it could already be compromised by a malware. So, always use your own device, install an anti-malware solution and before you start doing something that involves money, scan your network to discover if it is safe. It might sound like a “mom advice” but most of the silly issues of money scam online happens for silly reasons.
- Keep your PC up to date – A lot of security issues start when hackers exploit vulnerabilities in the software installed on your computer. The more popular a software is, the easier for hackers. Programs like Adobe, Oracle or Microsoft Office are a must to keep update.
- Use your own WIFI with a strong password – you must use a non-standard password for your network and router. Router vulnerabilities and weak passwords allow cyber-crooks to easy access your home network . It might sound like something that cannot happen or maybe something that cannot do too much harm, but depending on the kind of information you allocate on your computer any hacker can do anything with it. If a hacker gains access to your PC remotely, they could be able to access all of the files on your computer, along with your internet history. The files you have could be accessed and manipulated and your internet passwords, financial information, and social media could all be at risk.
- Avoid using public Wi-Fi or consider using VPN. – A public Wi-Fi connection means that you are sharing the network with lots of strangers. Those strangers can easily watch and steal your username and password while you sip your coffee Americano! On the other hand, VPN service like SecureLine VPN, routes all data you’re sending and receiving through a private, secure network, even though you are in a public one.
- Choose your online store wisely – Focus on the best-known ones, where you can read other consumers’ opinions and reviews. I personally recommend marketplaces where you can see people pictures if there is no picture of the item other people have bought rather don’t trust. And, when it comes to wholesale websites I strongly recommend asking on the groups of e-commerce buyers on Facebook. Most of the time online shops make their own reviews, upload their own pictures and ban all bad comments on social media. So be aware of it in the first place.
It might sound like a “mom advice” but most of the problems with money, shopping or scam online happens for silly reasons.
- Access secure shopping sites that protect your information – If you want to purchase from a website, make sure it has SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption installed. To know this, the site should start with https:// and you should notice the lock symbol, which is in the address bar at the top.
- Keep your references – save/print your transaction records. It will be easier for any post-sale issue. While you have your printed documents, you can check your bank statement to make sure transactions match and if there were unauthorized charges.
- Unique account and password – having a separate password for every account helps to thwart cybercriminals. At a minimum, separate your work and personal accounts and make sure that your critical accounts have the strongest password, mostly because is demonstrated that 70% of the people with online profile uses the same password for all of them.
- 10. Prefer safe payment options (credit card or PayPal) – do not send money directly to the seller or vendor. Credit cards have built-in protections and you can receive a refund in case of fraud. Paypal has come common as same as Payoneer, you can always claim to get your money back in case of fraud or none shipped item. I might say that on my experience most of the shops that send you to put claims on PayPal will not return your money at 100% so my advice is to buy directly with a debit/credit card. Otherwise, prefer to have a cash on delivery.