The amount of time, and money, we spend shopping online is something of a double-edged sword. While clearly, the market for goods is now nearly limitless, we have all got a little too complacent about the act of purchasing items and services online, and that means we aren’t paying attention to the risks that plague the system.
The move to online shopping, as opposed to buying things in physical stores, may seem like second nature, but the switch has been relatively swift, and as a result, we are not attuned to the obvious pitfalls and the technology available to con artists and scammers makes it very easy indeed to fool an individual into parting with their cash, and more importantly, important details and data that can end up in you losing vast sums of money.
Here are a handful of ways to stay one step ahead of the crooks that can not wait to steal your details and your money.
Do Your Research
The biggest tool you have against scammers online is information. Before you even consider entering your banking information or indeed buying anything, you should research the store you are visiting.
Clearly, this is less relevant if it’s a household name, but it’s an important defense you can easily put into action.
Check out sites that compare markets and provide crucial information, like for instance, if you are a sports betting fan, check out this list of 14 best sports betting sites by Sidelines.io, offering you the confirmation of reputation you need before you proceed.
Look for Signs That Suggest Security Flaws
There are some basic rules to follow on any website, especially those you may well end up completing purchases on, some of which are easier to follow than others. Firstly avoid all sites that start with an HTTP prefix and only use those with HTTPS.
Additionally, make sure the padlock symbol is present in the URL bar, and always be cautious about what details you are being asked for, such as important passwords and personal information that doesn’t seem relevant to the purchase.
Be Aware of the Internet Provider You Are Using
If you are going to shop online, then do so via your home network and avoid the use of public wi-fi that may lead to your purchase being tracked by nefarious parties. If you are away from home and shopping online, we’d suggest you use a VPN service, especially a trusted one known for its encryption capabilities.
Make Sure Your Antivirus Software is Up to Date
Always use antivirus software on your devices; this is especially important when it comes to keeping your laptop or mobile device clear of viruses and other forms of malware that may leave you open to attack. A common issue that many suffer is not knowing if your antivirus software is still up to date and functioning, so be sure to regularly run scans so as to keep yourself as safe as possible.
Constantly Update Passwords
This should go without saying, but firstly, don’t use the same password on all your services, especially the online stores you regularly use. Also, make sure to change these regularly and don’t make them too obvious (such as dates of birth or partner’s names).