The cost and convenience of clicking and buying are tough to beat, but many people are nervous about potential security risks when shopping online.
According a 2018 survey, more than half of global consumers are more concerned about online privacy than they were a year ago, and cybercriminals were their primary source of concern. However, more than 215 million U.S. consumers were willing to take the risk of online shopping last year, and that number is expected to continue to grow.
If you want to reap the rewards and minimize the risks, check out these 5 tips for staying safe when online shopping:
1. Only shop on trusted websites.
Do business with companies that are well-known and reputable. If you’re going to shop on an unfamiliar website, be sure the URL begins with “https” instead of “http.” The “s” indicates the website is secure because the information you’re sharing with the website is encrypted.
An additional step is to read product and service reviews before purchasing anything on a website you don’t know to find out about other consumers’ experiences.
2. Don’t follow fishy links.
Does an email or ad on social media seem a little … off? Trust your instinct and don’t click on it. If you’re really interested in the product but don’t trust the source, Google it and see if a reputable company sells it or a similar product.
3. Connected to public Wi-Fi? Don’t shop online.
Even if the website you’re visiting is trusted and secure, the public network you’re connected to may not be. There’s always a chance cybercriminals could be scanning the network’s activity to collect users’ personal information. If you’re able to connect – so are they. Save the online shopping for when you’re connected to private Wi-Fi again.
4. Use a safe payment method.
Use your credit card instead of your debit card. Credit cards don’t link directly to your financial accounts like debit cards. If your financial information is stolen, many credit card companies will forgive or limit the amount of money you’re responsible for paying.
5. Don’t let your device “remember” your information.
Although it can be tempting to save time on future purchases, you shouldn’t let your computer “remember” your credit card information for the same reason you shouldn’t let your computer “remember” your passwords. If your computer’s security is compromised at any time through a data breach or other cyber attack, all of your “remembered” personal and financial information is at risk.