With the Christmas shopping season in full swing again, there are hundreds of millions of pounds flying around the internet in on-line transactions, and where there’s a lot of money there are always people looking to steal it from you, but with a bit of caution, on-line shopping needn’t cost you more than just the price of the things you bought
- Shop at places you know: when using an online retailer try to stick to well known Stores, or with retailers that you have previously used before.
- Insist on encryption: only shop on sites with an encrypted connection. Look for a URL beginning with ‘https://’ instead of ‘http://’. You can also check to See the details of a sites security by double clicking on the closed padlock Symbol on your browsers address bar. security.
- Use strong passwords: always use a unique and complicated password for every site you shop with, never re-use passwords, and change them regularly. If you have a lot of passwords then using a password manager such as Lastpass will make this a whole bunch easier.
- Use a payment service if possible: using Paypal or a similar service offers an extra level of protection, and security. If a retailer offers it then use it, the fewer people you share your Credit Card details with the better.
- Don’t use public Wi-Fi to shop: public Wi-Fi hotspots are notorious places for hackers to eavesdrop on your information, which obviously makes them bad places for online shopping. If you have to use public Wi-Fi then use a VPN for added security.
- Use an app: shopping on a mobile device isn’t the greatest idea when it comes to security, but if you have then try to use the retailers app if they have one. Just take precautions to check the app you are using is a genuine one, not a fake designed to steal your information.
- Beware of short URLs: exercise an extra level of caution when following shortened URLs such as ‘bitly’ links as these can be used to disguise the real destination of a link, and take you to somewhere you’re not expecting.
- Use up to date security software: no matter whether you’re using a PC, Mac, iOS or Android device, make sure you have security software installed, and its kept up to date with the latest virus definitions.
- Always log off: never just walk away from your computer when you have finished shopping, especially on a shared computer, make sure you log out of any shopping sites, and of course your password manager if you use one.
Armed with his information and a bit of caution, on-line shopping should be a safe and pleasurable experience, and is certainly better than fighting you way through crowds of people in the real world.