How to keep online shopping safe

The world of technology didn’t only give us some good entertainment and gadgets, but it has also brought forth the ever growing giant of e-commerce. This, undoubtedly serves as a huge convenience to the mass population out there. It isn’t without its risks though.

I am going to touch on a few points quickly and if you would like to know more then you are more than welcome to get in touch. Most of these are quite obvious, but it’s always a good idea to touch bases with the fundamentals every now and then.

familiar

Use familiar platforms

One of the key things that you can do to keep your PC and your wallet safe, is to only visit websites that you know of. Maybe not you personally, but if you ask around about a certain site and the people look at you strangely in response. Then the chances are it isn’t a good idea to put your money in that basket.

Now I’m not saying that the company that you are buying from couldn’t be a completely legitimate website. Maybe they are new or very specialized in their market. What I do know is your risk is higher when using these platforms and there is bound to be some sources somewhere to verify the services rendered are indeed trustworthy.

padlocks

Padlocks, padlocks, padlocks.

I’m not suggesting that you get an actual padlock for your computer. What I do want to point your attention at is the URL (address) bar or to the status bar in the right bottom corner of your web browser. This is where one of your best friends will reside in your online transactions, the padlock.

I can’t say the following enough. If the address bar of your website does not start with HTTPS then bail, don’t type anything further, haul ass and get out of that screen and never return. HTTPS sites are secure sites, usually with SSL encryption to ensure that your details remain safe. Together with the HTTPS you will notice an icon of a padlock, in newer browsers they are located right in front of the URL and on older sites usually in the bottom right corner in the status bar.

If they are not present on the screen when you are asked for your credit card details, then DON’T DO IT.

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Public shopping

So you find yourself in a library or at an internet shop or pretty much any public space on one of their systems. You do some window shopping to burn some time and see something you would like to buy. Should you? Well, I can’t tell you how to live your life, but if you choose to do so then you have an increased risk of landing in the deep end.

Not only do you run the risk of forgetting to sign out of your account (I have seen this too many times) you are also sharing your screen with sensitive data to pretty much anyone that moves behind you. You take your laptop to a cafe to do some work done and grab one of those epic coffee’s you love so much. You get distracted and start shopping, you find that item you just have to have and start typing your credit card number, expiration date and security code. You get your confirmation and off you go. Did you notice the guy just behind you typing all your details along with you on his phone?

In general I’d say, bookmark what you like and rather do the transaction in private. It’s safer and smarter to do.

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Mobile shopping

In today’s age we don’t always carry around clunky computers everywhere. Mobile smart phones are around every corner and they have amazing capability packed into their relatively small size. Including the ability to browse and get shopping apps.

I’m not going to delve too deep into this, since all the other points above still apply to phone browsers. The thing that sets them apart is the mobile apps. When you want to shop via an app on your phone you should make sure that you have the app of a verified platform. Don’t search on google for apps and download the first cool looking .Apk for an awesome shopping platform. That is how you get into trouble. Get the Amazon app, get the Target or Takealot app. They are trusted sites with trusted apps that won’t leave you without your items and your money.

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Safeguard your system

Make sure that you have antivirus and malware software, a firewall and that you are on a secure connection to the internet. Use strong passwords that someone won’t be able to guess and just follow good practice.

If you want to know more about keeping your system secure feel free to check out my article on locking your virtual doors . Always, always use your common sense. Most tragedies that happen online could be easily avoided and could have been dodged completely with one question. “Is this a good idea?”

Do you have something to add? Let me know and share the love! Thank you for reading! As always have fun and in this case, stay safe out there!

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