Online Shopping Security Tips
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Online Shopping Security Tips

Online shopping has become one of the most convenient ways to get goods from the comfort of your home without dealing with crowds, parking lots, and traffic. You can sit on your couch with your phone and make a purchase in minutes with your WiFi connection (read also: This experiment shows how dangerous it is to use public WiFi). The Internet is a great place to snag deals on hot items you’ve been waiting to buy, but finding a good deal isn’t the only thing you should concern yourself with. Many consumers overlook the safety and security aspects of online shopping. If you’re not careful, your personal information could end up compromised. Follow these security and safety tips to keep your information safe while you get those deals.

How Hackers Intercept Personal Information

Hackers use numerous fraudulent methods to trick shoppers into giving their personal information. These are the most common methods hackers use.

Numerous websites on the Internet have malware, which can affect your system if you don’t have safeguards installed such as an anti-virus program with malware and spyware protection. These websites are typically linked to advertisements. Once you click the advertisement or image that is disguised as one, your browser takes you to the infected website.

Fake Sites

Fake websites are one of the most common ways hackers intercept data. They create websites that look almost exactly like the original retailer, but the address isn’t the same. Consumers think that they’re buying something from the company, but they never receive their order and the hackers have the payment information.

Ways to Keep Your Information Safe

Information is key to prevent your information from being stolen. Follow these tips to protect yourself on your WiFi network.

Buy from Well-Established Sites and Retailers
Only purchase goods from websites and companies that you know are legitimate. If you’re unsure about a company’s reputation, punch it into a search engine to see if other shoppers have had positive experiences. If a deal seems way too good to be true, it might be a scam. If you click a link and it immediately asks for personal information such as your name, address, social security number or bank account information, it’s probably fake. Never make online purchases from unsecured wi-fi networks, such as those at coffee shops and restaurants.

Use Encrypted Sites
A “lock” symbol or the presence of “HTTPS” instead of “HTTP” in the address bar shows that the information being transmitted is secure. The website encrypts the data you input before it completes the purchase, making it less likely that hackers will intercept your information.

Utilize a VPN
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is another way to keep your information safe. Its purpose is to keep your Internet connection secure to prevent anything you send or receive from falling into the wrong hands. A special VPN client on your computer connects to a server over your wi-fi or hardwired Internet connection. You log in with your name and password and the connection is verified. A virtual private network is a simple, yet effective safeguard to add an extra layer of security to your connection.

What to do if Your Information is Compromised

No matter how hard you try sometimes you can’t prevent fraud. There are actions you can take to minimize the impact and resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

• Cancel the compromised credit card and contact your financial institution to resolve fraudulent charges
• Alert the store to the activity. They might not be aware of the security flaw.

Enjoy the comfort of shopping online, but don’t forget to stay safe while doing it. You’ll save yourself the hassle of dealing with fraud, canceling credit cards, and disputing unauthorized transactions.

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