Staying safe online is not rocket science and there is no reason why online shopping should be any more risky than being out on the high street in person – as long as you follow some simple rules.
ONLY SHOP ON SECURE WEBSITES
When you are shopping online, scrutinize the web address carefully before deciding to make a purchase there.
Check for the “https” rather than “http” on the address bar. The former means the site has more protection on it than the latter does – “s” stands for secure!
If you are divulging financial information, check for the padlock icon on the top corner of the page. This means that the site is secure.
Stick to trusted websites and don’t follow links in emails, no matter how tempting the deals might look.
DON’T USE PUBLIC WIFI
Try to conduct your online shopping at home, on your home Wi-Fi.
Using public Wi-Fi when you are out and about can be risky. Remember, anyone can see your device on a shared and public network, so take care when it comes to signing into secure sites.
Also, when you are outside, take care that the information you are entering on your phone or laptop cannot be seen by anyone else in the vicinity.
CHECK STATEMENTS AND CREDIT FILES
We would always advise that you check your credit card statements carefully for any unknown transactions.
This is a good habit to get into regularly, regardless of whether you are shopping online or not.
We would also advise you to use a credit, not a debit card, when completing your online purchases. A credit card offers more protection than a debit card does in general.
This does not mean that you shouldn’t still check your regular debit card and bank statements as well though!
In addition to checking your card statements, periodically check your credit file as well.
This could tell you if anyone has applied for cards or loans in your name.
BE CAREFUL WITH PASSWORDS
Pick a strong password which cannot be guessed and do not write it down!
It is also prudent to periodically change your passwords and not to use the same password across a number of sites!
Try to avoid obvious passwords such as children’s names, birthdays or even that genius mastermind that no one will ever guess; “password”!
Likewise, with the answers to security questions, be creative.
It is totally okay not to answer honestly to questions such as your mother’s maiden name. In fact, it is probably better to invent an answer. It is less likely that an identity thief will ever be able to discover it.
USE SECURITY ON YOUR COMPUTER OR DEVICE
Don’t neglect to install a quality anti-virus program on your computer or device and run it regularly.
You should be protected from all malware and viruses possible. Not doing so runs the risk of attack from rogue sources.
Utilize all the security settings on your device, such as password protecting email accounts and so on, to provide you with the best defense possible from fraudsters.