By: Emma Kavanagh
One of the riskiest things you can do online is also one of the most fun – shopping! Millions of people enjoy online shopping transactions every single day. More than 80% of all internet users have gone online to buy something, and it’s not a trend that’s going away any time soon. I have to admit, there’s something just wrong about the idea of not being able to shop online.
People cite the savings of time as the most important factor that drives them online to shop. That’s definitely key, but there is one aspect you should take extra time on: Safety. Even though there are many websites where shopping is as close to risk-free as it gets, I always advocate being careful about each and every online shopping transaction … as if it’s a new adventure!
The 11 Top Tips to Keep Your Information Safe When Shopping Online
1) Shop the Names You Know
When it comes to online shopping, there are some advantages to brand loyalty. Shopping mainly with brands that you know well – the kind that absolutely have to have the highest standards in safety – is one of the best ways to make sure everything will be on the up and up.
2) Always Check for the Lock
Secure sites always let you know that your information is protected. The “lock” icon on most browsers pops up when the site you’re surfing is using high-level encryption. Encryption “scrambles” information you send, making it harder for anyone to intercept it.
3) Keep Private Information Private
If a site asks you a strange question, such as about your Social Security number, back away. Many sophisticated phishing schemes can look very similar to a trusted website, but will try to fool you with an “interstitial” page that pops up and asks for inappropriate information.
4) Double Check Your Billing Statements
One way to stay safe online is to always check your billing statements from your bank or credit card. Issues that you might not even have noticed could slip by unless you check your statements, alerting you to the possibility of fraud.
5) Be Careful With Your Passwords
You should always be extremely careful with your passwords: Don’t save them in your browser, don’t write them down anywhere near your computer, and be sure that you use several different passwords. Ideally, use a different one for each site.
6) Use Mobile Apps
Generally speaking, wireless communications are less safe than wired connections. To make shopping safer, use a company’s dedicated mobile app rather than using the browser on your phone. Also make sure you keep the app updated.
7) Do Your Shopping From Home
All things being equal, your home Internet connection is a lot safer than any connection you might have access to on a public network. Always do all your shopping from home, preferably from a private, hard-wired desktop connection.
8) Think About Identity Theft Protection
There are plenty of services out there that can help protect you from identity theft. Many of these services will run checks on your credit cards and other accounts and set out an alert to companies if unusual activity is detected.
9) Keep Your Web Browser Up to Date
Even your home internet connection can be threatened, especially if you don’t update your software frequently enough. Your browser will usually alert you when updates are available, but don’t forget to actually accept them!
10) Cut Back on the Shopping Habit
Even though I enjoy the chance to find a great deal online now and then, there’s such a thing as too much. Cut out a little bit of the online shopping and it will make a huge difference in how safe you are out there!
11) Use Norton 360
Last but surely not least, don’t forget about the huge protection boost that you get when you use industry-leading software to secure your connection. Norton 360 is not only the top security software, it’s also easy and convenient to use.
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