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'Tis the season to go shopping. How to shop online safely

Tamara Avatar By: Tamara | Last updated February 14, 2019

man on smartphone online shopping ecommerce

Holidays are knocking on our door and it wouldn’t be Christmas without gifts. Whether you want to buy a present for someone dear or just for yourself, you’ll most likely feel more comfortable to do it online.

Online shopping has grown exponentially all over the world these last couple of years. It is faster and more convenient, because you can buy anything from your couch, using just your phone if you feel like it. Your product gets delivered wherever/whenever you want, sometimes free of charge.

The only big downside of online shopping is ID theft, which can have dire consequences. Having your personal or financial information stolen is not the best gift you can receive for Christmas. That is why it is important to take security measures whenever you shop online, to keep yourself safe from Internet delinquents.

This article will give you some useful tips on how to shop online safely.

  • Only use trusted apps when you shop from your smartphone. Download shopping apps only from trusted sources, such as Apple Store, Google Play and so on. Moreover, make sure you do some research and read some comments and reviews about those apps, because there are a lot of new fake apps out there, even on the Android and Apple Store. Be careful what permissions you grant and only choose apps that are highly rated.
  • Only shop from ‘https’ websites, not just ‘http’ ones. The first ones use SSL (secure socket layer) technology, thus are safer.
  • Try to do your online shopping from a secure connection, preferably at home. Stay away from public Wi-Fi, because they are easier to break by hackers.
  • Choose strong passwords for your customer account. Come up with long words, symbols, numbers or use a specialized password generator
  • Whenever possible, also use 2 factor authentication (2FA)
  • Scan your devices as often as you can for possible viruses and malware. This should help you identify possible threats before it’s too late
  • Don’t be quick to access all the irresistible links you get in your inbox. Around holidays or Black Friday and so on, your inbox will probably get flooded with offers from infinite shops and brands that lure you with fat discounts and great offers. Make sure to check before you click on a potential dangerous link
  • Disclose as little information as possible about yourself. Shopping websites try to squeeze as much information as they can from you, to create a profile for future ads and marketing campaigns. They will ask you about your age, preferences, etc. Try to divulge as little as you can
  • Pay extra attention when shopping from your smartphone. Fake websites created by online scammers are more difficult to identify from your phone
  • Always lock your device. It might seem like a useless and obvious piece of advice, but a lot of people ignore that aspect and leave their gadgets unlocked and exposed to the wrong set of eyes or hands.