Online sales are continuously increasing. We know this as we buy more online, those we talk to are buying more online, and eCommerce has become a large focus of what we do as an organization. The problem with all of this is people are still being tricked into bad situations even on sites they expect to be reputable. We are going to cover our most popular tips that will help you buy online safer.
Green (Grey) Padlock
When it comes to online shopping the first thing you need to look at is your URL for the website you are on. Does it have the padlock stating your page is secured? This should not just be the login or checkout pages but every page of your website. Many browsers will even label sites as “Not Secure” if this doesn’t exist on every page which we are completely behind.
Keep it a secret
We’ve seen some pretty shady things asked on some online stores. The following items you should not fill in ever:
- Social Security Number (SSN)
Some items you need to put in but only if you feel it will benefit you. If you are still required and are unsure of make up something for these.
- Pet name
- Spouse, relatives, or children information
Don’t save your credit card
I know saving your credit card on sites like Amazon, your favorite restaurant, etc. will speed your checkout process by a minute or two.
Often many credit card companies allow you to create a one-time credit card. These temporary cards are digital only and can help protect your main credit card. You can also set spending limits, lockdown cards to your location (e.g. your country/state).
When you create a password, although harder, use a different one that is unique to each site. Don’t use anything personal or related to the site you are on. Utilize a password manager that not only can help you create secure passwords but will help you use password best practices.
Everyone’s favorite gift anymore isn’t that super personalized gift. I see more and more from family and friends gift cards going to everyone. The reason is that they are simple, easy, convenient, and often are from people we don’t see on a daily basis. Purchase your cards from the source or a reputable store and not from individuals selling off of Craigslist, eBay, or the Facebook marketplace. You might get a good deal but you also might get swindled. I have seen first hand where a gift card was purchased off Facebook Marketplace, they called the number and confirmed the balance. They went home to spend and the money was gone. A simple scam but one that can take money quickly away from you.
Coffee shops and public hot spots
Watch for those screen watchers. Look for phones pointed in your direction. Stay vigilant and keep your data safe. People can watch your screen or keyboard to gain valuable information.
Make certain you have the latest version of your operating system, anti-virus, and malware software. This can help protect you from going to scam and phishing sites that are known to steal your information.
Use online banking and credit card (often)
Online banking and any of your credit cards should have a secure online portal. Check them often and during holidays especially be more diligent than ever. This will allow you to catch fraudulent charges faster. By catching faster, you can help any online retailer from shipping a product to a thief and you can also report it to your bank/credit card company as fraudulent.
Online retailers never like returns but you need to know the policies. Do they offer returns? Are returns given for in-store credit, in-store exchanges, or do they refund you? This information can be critical especially if you are buying a gift for someone. You might purchase it today but not give it for over a month. Does that timeframe fit the allotted time for returns?
I am going to end with use the common sense you have. If it sounds too good to be true it just might be (not always though). If you have a “gut feeling” and still want the item ask someone else their opinion. Two minds are often better than one.