- Posted by: Livingstone Were
- Category: Cyber Security
E-commerce has emerged as the best and easiest way of making online shopping around the globe with the majority of people now opting for it due to convenience. However, it is important to note that shoppers who do not secure their personal data are susceptible to cyber attacks as well as online identity theft.
Below we have outlined five tips regarding how to secure your personal and financial information while making online purchases as well as to ensure the safe delivery of goods purchased online.
1. Always Buy From Credible Websites
It is always advisable to understand the risks associated with online shopping, such as fraud or identity theft to properly safeguard your sensitive information.
Only shop on credible websites. In most cases, cyber attackers often masquerade as e-retailers so that that they can obtain personal and much more confidential data or gain access to devices. Avoid falling a victim to cyber-attack with the below precautions:
Always avoid clicking on suspicious emails or links. In most cases, cyber attackers use vicious malware in emails or links to get sensitive information such as credit card information, national identification number or passport number.
- Public Wi-Fi security: Why public Wi-Fi is vulnerable to attack
- How To Secure Your Cell Phone For Personal Safety
Read customer reviews: Research unfamiliar online retailers, be wary of particular negative reviews and look for suspiciously positive reviews which may be false or unreliable
Understand the e-retailer’s refund and return policy: Be aware of the refund and refund policy of an online retailer. Understand the procedures should you be dissatisfied with the products you have bought.
2. Connect To a Secured Network
It’s obvious that an unsecured network could leave your personal and financial information vulnerable to attack, as it is easily accessible by cybercriminals. Be aware of online shopping risks while on the go, and use the following security tips:
- Avoid public Wi-Fi networks. Cyber attackers may easily intercept sensitive data through an unsecured network. Never shop online while your device is connected to a public WI-FI.
- Connect to a virtual private network (VPN) whenever possible. VPNs encrypt your data and protect sensitive information from being stolen.
- Shop on websites that contain “https://”. Look for sites that include “https://” in the address, which indicates that data is encrypted and not accessible to cyber attackers. Avoid websites with “http://”
3. Use Secured Payment
Compromising personal payment information could lead to identity theft or fraudulent use. Credit cards are the safest payment method for online transactions as opposed to ATM or debit cards. This is because online shoppers are typically less liable for loss from unauthorized use. Take the following actions to secure online payments and protect financial data:
- Continually check credit card statements for irregularities. Identify and promptly respond to any fraudulent activity. Contact your bank to see if an automatic feature that alerts you of suspicious account activity is offered.
- Never store credit card data on your devices. Re-enter credit card information for each transaction to prevent users with access to your device from taking advantage of stored information.
- Refrain from providing unnecessary information. Avoid supplying retailers with highly sensitive information, such as your social security number or date of birth.
- Utilize “virtual” credit cards. Use the alternate card number provided by the issuer to protect your actual credit card information in the case of a breach.
4. Protect Your Smart Devices
Shopping on a mobile device offers convenience for shoppers. However, it can significantly increase security risks. Properly secure your smart device to mitigate the risk of compromising personal information:
- Download and purchase from credible retailers’ mobile applications to ensure secure transactions.
- Install updated security software, such as antivirus or anti-spyware, on your device as it becomes available.
- Protect your phone with a unique and complex password, PIN, or pattern.
- Use two-factor authentication to confirm your identity with at least two types of credentials. For example, your phone may require your passcode and your fingerprint to unlock, or your email may require a password and a numeric code sent to your phone.