Shopping online is pretty much second nature to us and it’s incredibly hard to imagine a time when we weren’t able to snap up deals – for pretty much anything – at the press of a button or swipe of a finger. Did you know that clothing, shoes, accessories and household goods were the most popular retail items consumers purchased through the internet in 2019?
However, with such unprecedented convenience and ease of access – there are obviously some risks involved. We may not even give it a second thought, but every time we buy something, we are inputting sensitive information about our bank account details.
Even though there have been rapid advances in online security, it remains essential that we are vigilant to the dangers which online shopping can pose. Here are eight easy ways you can stay safe while shopping online.
1. Change Your Password Regularly
Many of us may find it difficult to remember our existing passwords, but regularly changing your login details can prevent third parties from accessing your various accounts, should a company be hacked or experience a data breach. You should also make sure to log out at the end of every online shopping session.
2. Don’t Shop Using Public Wifi
If you’re on a public WiFi network that doesn’t have a password, your data will not be encrypted and will be visible to any computer nearby. In the hands of a fraudster, they can intercept the information you’re transmitting from websites that don’t use ‘https://’ in the URL and use it to steal your debit card information.
Even if the website you’re using contains the correct information in the URL, it’s probably best to avoid using both secured and unsecured public networks to make a payment or submit any personal details about your identity.
3. Don’t Click on Unsolicited Emails
Once you start shopping online and giving out your email details, you’ll find yourself inundated with all manner of emails offering unbelievable offers.
However, once you click on such emails, you could be opening yourself up to all sorts of scams. Even if you feel it is from a store you can trust, don’t click on direct links in the emails, instead, go to the company’s main site where they should showcase the deal they’ve emailed you.
4. Be Careful When Using Your Mobile Phone to Shop
Home computers are often equipped with anti-virus software, however, despite the fact that our phones often act as mini-computers these days, they don’t have the same protections. Therefore, if you are shopping with your phone, make sure to take extra care.
5. Check Your Credit and Debit Card Statements Regularly
Very often, you won’t be aware that you have been defrauded until you look at your debit card or credit card statements. Depending on your bank, it may be very difficult to recover lost funds so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your financial activity so you can spot any unknown transactions immediately, made easier when you have access to online banking.
6. Make Sure Your Software is Up to Date
If you are operating on an older version of a web browser, you prove to be easy prey for hackers.
While security software is certainly becoming more advanced, you need to make sure your browser is running the up-to-date version to be covered with some of the best anti-virus technology, commonly found in the most recent web browsers.
7. Look for Company Reviews
Most reputable companies will have a review system in place. Whether you use Google, Facebook, or TrustPilot Reviews, ensure that the company you’re looking at has plenty, they’re not repetitive (as this points towards people using fake and dishonest reviews to trick potential customers), and be sure to check out the bad comments and not just the 5-star ratings.
At Suits Me, we use Trustpilot to collect independent reviews from our customers. View our Reviews here.
8. If It’s Too Good to be True, It Probably Is
It can be easy to get carried away with great online offers, but if you feel that one is just too good to be true, then trust your instinct and avoid it.
For a start, you should avoid websites you are unfamiliar with. If you struggle to find a product on most of the well-known websites, it is unlikely that you will stumble across a real version of it on some obscure website based in a small remote location.
Likewise, when using marketplace sites, check the authenticity of the person or store you are buying from before committing to any purchase.