You can shop online securely by shopping on reputable websites, using strong and unique passwords when creating online shopping accounts and watching out for phishing scams. The internet has allowed retailers to sell online and provide a convenient way to shop; however, online shopping also exposes people to potential cyber attacks that can put them at risk of losing their personal and financial information.
Continue reading to learn more about the importance of shopping safely online and how to do so.
Although shopping online is convenient and offers certain perks, you need to be careful while shopping online because it can expose you to cyber attacks. If you are not careful with how you shop online, you can easily fall victim to attacks such as phishing, MITM and spoofing attacks that try to steal your personal and financial information. Once a cybercriminal has stolen your information, they can use it to make purchases for themselves, sell the information to others, commit identity theft or commit some other form of fraud. The following tips are ways to shop securely online to avoid falling victim to cyber attacks.
1. Shop on Reputable Websites
You should shop on reputable websites to avoid revealing personal information on fake websites. Most reputable retailers have their own websites that offer online shopping. However, cybercriminals create fake websites to trick you into thinking you are buying from a legitimate seller in order to steal your account or credit card information. Before clicking on a shopping website, do some background research on the retailer to check the legitimacy of the business. You can look at online reviews to see if any buyers were scammed by illegitimate sellers who tried targeting them in digital ads or on social media.
You should also check the URL to ensure you are not about to click on a fake website. The best way to check if a website is legitimate or not is by using the Google Transparency Report, which tells you if the website is safe. You can also look at the URL to see if anything looks off, such as letters swapped for numbers or characters that might be out of place.
2. Use Strong, Unique Passwords
You need to protect your online accounts with strong and unique passwords. Your financial and shopping accounts can contain private information such as your credit card information or address. If you reuse the same password or only use weak passwords that are easy to guess, your passwords can easily be cracked by cybercriminals, and your online accounts can be compromised. A strong password for every account can protect your private information from cybercriminals.
A strong password is a unique and random combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters that is at least 16 characters long. It omits any personal information, sequential numbers or letters and commonly used dictionary words.
It can be difficult to come up with and keep track of all of these long and complex passwords, which is why many people resort to reusing weak passwords. However, you can use a password manager to help you keep track of all your passwords. A password manager is a tool that stores and manages your personal information in an encrypted vault. A password manager also ensures you are using strong passwords by identifying any weak passwords you’ve saved and prompting you to update and strengthen them.
3. Learn To Spot Phishing Scams
Cybercriminals will try to execute phishing attacks to steal your personal information. Phishing attacks are a type of cyber attack that tricks users into revealing their personal information. Cybercriminals send emails or text messages to users with the intent of having them click on a malicious attachment or link. Once the user clicks on the malicious link, they will be sent to a fake website that either downloads malware on their device or tricks them into revealing their personal information.
You need to learn how to spot phishing attempts to avoid revealing your personal information to the wrong person. If you get an unsolicited email from a suspicious sender who urgently requests for your sensitive information, that is a clear sign of a phishing email. Phishing emails often contain grammatical and spelling errors, unsolicited links or attachments, or offers that seem too good to be true. If you get email or text messages containing any of these signs, you should avoid interacting with them to protect your personal information.
4. Use a Credit Card Instead of a Debit Card
When shopping online, you should use a credit card instead of a debit card. Credit cards are more secure to use online than debit cards. Credit cards offer better fraud protection so you are not held responsible for any fraudulent charges.
However, you should avoid storing your credit card information on merchant websites or in your web browser. If your account or device is ever compromised, cybercriminals can easily steal your credit card information when it is insecurely stored online. If a merchant suffers a data breach, your credit card information could be exposed if you stored it on the merchant’s website. The only secure way to store your credit card is within a password manager or digital wallet that is protected by encryption and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA).
5. Don’t Use Public WiFi When Conducting Online Transactions
Public WiFi is unencrypted and allows cybercriminals to execute Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) attacks. MITM attacks are a type of cyber attack in which cybercriminals intercept data that’s being sent between two parties. Cybercriminals use public WiFi or create fabricated networks to eavesdrop and steal data that is transmitted through public WiFi.
You should avoid using public WiFi when conducting online transactions to prevent cybercriminals from stealing your shopping account credentials or credit card information. You should also avoid doing online shopping in public places to prevent shoulder surfing. Shoulder surfing is a way of stealing information in which a criminal looks at a victim’s screen to steal any visible data.
6. Use Antivirus Software
Antivirus software is a program that prevents, detects and removes known viruses and malware on your device. You should use antivirus software to prevent malware from being installed on your device and stealing your personal information. Antivirus software can detect if a website has any hidden malware on it and stop you from landing on the infected website.
7. Keep Your Software up to Date
Software updates patch security flaws and add new security features that better protect you. These security updates will help protect your device from existing and emerging cyber threats that can compromise your device and your online accounts. Some cyber attacks take advantage of the security vulnerabilities of devices, so you should keep your software up to date to protect your device while you are shopping online.
8. Secure Your Financial Accounts
You need to secure your financial accounts to protect your information to prevent identity theft and credit card fraud. Your financial and online shopping accounts contain sensitive information such as your credit card numbers, financial history and address. You need to secure your accounts by using strong passwords, enabling MFA and setting up financial alerts to keep track of your financial activity. You should also only create online shopping accounts with websites you trust and limit the number of online shopping accounts you have that connect to your financial information.
Use Keeper® To Safely Shop Online
You can shop safely online by shopping on reputable websites and using strong passwords to protect your accounts. However, it can be difficult to safely shop online due to phishing scams and malicious websites that try to steal your personal information.
A password manager can help you shop safely online by strengthening your password security and storing your credit card information. With an autofill feature, a password manager can make logging in and inputting your credit card information easier and safer. It can identify legitimate websites from spoofed websites since it won’t autofill your personal information on sites it doesn’t recognize.
Keeper Password Manager offers a browser extension with the KeeperFill feature that makes online shopping easier and safer. Sign up for a free trial to safely shop online.