With the holiday season quickly approaching, many people are discovering that shopping can be less stressful and easier just by finding and buying online.
But it can be more stressful if something goes haywire and you discover that you have been conned, scammed or hacked just by purchasing that new cookware for Mom or a new watch for Dad or that Lego set for your nephew; on and on…
Some people think that online shopping is so dangerous that they would rather stand in a line 3 miles long at their local mall.
Truth be told, you can be conned, scammed or hacked right there in that checkout lane too.
It came to my attention recently that con artists were installing small card reading spies at Walmart checkout lanes and going back later to retrieve them and steal the card information from many shoppers.
So you can be scammed offline as well as on; it just comes down to being diligent about your financial safety.
Today, I am going to give you 13 tips for online shopping safety. Use them to have a safe and enjoyable online shopping experience.
1: Use a prepaid debit card
By using a prepaid debit card in your online purchases, scammers will not be able to get into your bank account.
Just figure out how much you will want to spend and load a card with that amount. Do remember that there will be shipping and taxes, so make sure your card will cover that.
You can get prepaid debit cards in many places including:
- and many more
2: Check your computer for malware
One of the most used ways to gain personal information is by installing malware in a person’s computer.
You should regularly check for malware.
I don’t just count on my anti-virus system; I also use a great program called Malwarebytes. You can get it here.
3: Password protect your mobile device
People have started using mobile devices to go online and shop.
What would happen if you lost or had your smartphone or tablet stolen?
If you do not have it password protected, they could hack into all the transactions you have made and get all your information.
4: Ask your financial institution if they offer a virtual credit card number
Many banks now offer virtual credit card numbers for customers who have a credit card. This allows you to buy online without putting your actual card number into the system.
Do yourself a favor and read the policy before purchasing.
6: Use trusted brands and websites
I say this somewhat hesitantly because new businesses should have a chance to succeed, but you know you are safer if you are shopping from a known to be reputable company.
7: No one needs to know your Social Security number or Birthday
They do not need that information.
If they insist, I suggest you do not do business with them.
8: Consistently check your bank statements
Be diligent about checking your bank statements.
On a daily basis, I check online to make sure there were no charges on my account that I did not authorize.
9: Keep your computer updated
Just performing regular updates on your computer can keep hackers out.
Do not procrastinate on computer updates.
10: Use strong passwords and change them on a regular basis
Hackers are known to check for simple passwords.
Use both uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters.
11: If it is too good to be true…
It probably is!
Don’t fall for offers that seem too good to be true. They are usually a trap.
12: Free wifi can be dangerous to shop on
When you are using free Wifi systems, hackers can see what you are doing.
So they can see when you go into accounts and with criminal technology, they can even see your log-in information.
13: Look for the lock
When buying online, it is smart to use websites that have a lock in the address bar. This means they are an encrypted site (SSL). The address will start with https instead of just http.
You will notice that this site is just http, but if you decide you want one of the shirts or hats I offer here, you are redirected to an https website.
If you follow these tips, I would be willing to say that you are just as safe shopping online as you are offline.
Let me know what you think in the comment section below.