5 tips on buying online in a safe and secure way this holiday season
Christmas is drawing closer meaning less time to shop.
It’s therefore not surprising that more and more consumers across the world are turning to online shopping to purchase their gifts.
This, however, also means that there will, no doubt, be cyber criminals who are keen to exploit individuals benefiting from the convenience, affordability and choice that makes the internet such a compelling place to be.
Here are some tips to help savvy cyber-shoppers avoid getting scammed while hunting for the best gifting options online.
Stick with familiar faces
Buy from websites that have a good reputation for doing what they say, providing accurate information and delivering it in good shape and on time. When you’re getting down to the wire with shipping deadlines, the last thing you need is friends and relatives getting the wrong gifts. Or, no gift at all.
Be wary of amazing deals
If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Such deals can be very tempting, but it really is safer to avoid following links that offer goods at impossibly cheap prices. Be doubly vigilant – the more reliable the brand and the more secure the URL, the more likely that it’s authentic. If not, then walk away.
Look out for https URL and padlock symbol
The first part of the URL should have “https”, which was developed by Netscape. It is an online safety protocol that encrypts information so that data can be kept private and protected. In most cases, the text in the URL is preceded by a padlock symbol. If this is missing, the website should be treated with caution.
The “s” in “https” incidentally, stands for secure websites. Websites that use “https” are safe because they utilise SSL (Secure Sockets Layout) to encrypt any information that is distributed online, such as your credit card details.
Use credit cards and secure payment services instead of debit cards
As a rule, credit cards, in comparison to debit cards, offer consumers additional protection when shopping online. The main advantage of the latter is that a credit card account is in no way linked to whatever funds you own. Furthermore, unlike debit cards, credit cards may have a limit on the monetary amount you will be responsible for paying if your information is stolen and used by someone else.
Opt for your mobile phone network over public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi is unquestionably something we as consumers now expect. From shops to cafés to restaurants, being able to access the internet with little or no cost is in tune with our connected way of living.
However, when it comes to being online, all the convenience that comes with public Wi-Fi can be overshadowed by the many risks that are associated with this service. You would be surprised at how unsecure many hotspots are and how easy they are to attack.
There are ample solutions to resolving the vulnerabilities associated with public Wi-Fi but, in general, when out and about, opt to use data provided by your network provider when going online.
Bonus tip: Ensure you’re using a protected device (PC or Mobile) whilst online shopping
Protect yourself against malware with regular updates to your anti-virus program. We recommend using ESET Internet Security which prevents unauthorised access to your computer and misuse of your personal data.
Stay safe while making online payments.
Source: ESET South Africa