Heimdal Online Security: 17 Online Shopping Security Tips to Protect Your Money Edit Title

Would you like some online shopping security tips to keep your purchase secure?

The times when you had to go to the shop to buy every little thing are long gone. Now, we simply go online, find what we need, compare prices and we buy! It couldn’t have been easier than this.

In case we are not sure about a product or a website, we address our question online and we find user reviews, independent and expert testing sites. It’s so easy. Even more, it doesn’t take longer than 2 or 3 days to receive a package, even from another part of the world. You name it, they deliver it fast!

But the net is dark and full of terrors!

We have financial and data stealing malware, we have faceless online criminals from any possible part of the world and countless spam phishing campaigns.

So, how do we secure our online shopping? As Brian Krebs noticed:

"Retail is an industry that has traditionally been focused on physical security, not cyber security.
Specialists in online shopping analyzed the present tendency in the market and noticed we are dealing with a growing industry:

If we take a look at just a few online shopping stats, we definitely understand why online criminals may become interested:

• Consumers ages 25 to 34 lead the way in smartphone usage in-store, comparing prices, reading reviews, buying products, etc.
• Seventy-two percent of Millennials research and shop their options online before going to a store.
• Nearly 50 percent of Millennials say they regularly browse for items that they don’t necessarily plan on buying.
• Two-thirds of Americans 50-plus buy from e-retailers online.
• Overall, satisfaction with online shopping is high, at 83 percent.

So, how do we protect our online shopping?

Here are the security tips you can follow to secure your online shopping:

Best 17 online shopping security tips

  1. Make sure you’re buying from a real website
    Check for signs of certification like third-party seals of approval:
    It is important to check the website, because hackers can use fake or infected domains to redirect your traffic and steal your financial information. Though the website may appear real, don’t forget to check the URL.
    To avoid any unpleasant surprise, always purchase from well known websites. For example, if you look for a major retail outlet that sells like anything (Amazon, Target or Best Buy), use their online stores.
    To quote Neil Rubenking:
    "It’s ridiculously easy to create a phishing website, a fraud that looks just like a real shopping or banking site.

  2. Access secure websites that protect your information
    If you want to purchase from a website, make sure it is one that contains SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption installed.
    To know this, the site should start with HTTPS:// and you should notice the lock symbol, which is in the address bar at the top.
    To access secure websites, we recommend a useful browser extension like HTTPS Everywhere that encrypts connection to major sites and increases your information security.

  3. Location is everything. Where do you purchase from?
    Don’t purchase from unknown or public networks. If you still want to buy online from an unsafe network, at least follow some protection steps.
    We recommend running a financial transaction from your home network, which is not that easy to access by cyber-criminals. Nevertheless, protection measures still need to be followed.

  4. Update your system and your browser
    Keep your system and your vulnerable applications up-to-date with the latest security updates and patches available.
    Online criminals always try to use security holes in popular – but vulnerable – software from our systems, from Java, Adobe Flash to most popular browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer.
    To make it easy, just use a free tool that makes sure you have all the latest security patches installed, fast and without interrupting your work.

  5. Check your bank account
    You don’t have to wait for the end of the month to know how much you spent. Check your credit or debit card to know where you are in terms of spending. At the same time, discover any potential fraudulent charges and keep the bank phone number close by.

  6. Use antivirus protection for your PC
    Though it may not be enough, it is still good to have. To choose a good reliable antivirus product, check the independent testing sites and the expert reviews. You should be able to find a big name there to keep your data safe.

  7. Bulletproof your system against cybercriminals
    Though you have antivirus protection for common viruses and privacy breaches, against the criminal masterminds you need the best tools available.
    For this reason, a software that protects your financial information from data stealing malware includes:
    a real-time Internet traffic scanner that looks for malicious software activities
    a malware removal to catch and delete any infection
    an online scanning engine that detects malicious code inserted into legitimate websites
    Since they target your financial data, by launching “zero-day” attacks and phishing campaigns, you need an advanced technology that is specially designed for these threats.

  8. Get a credentials manager for your passwords
    It has become obvious that we register for so many online accounts, that we lose track of our passwords.
    Most people address this issue either by using one general password for most online accounts, or by letting the web browser remember the various passwords that were set.
    None of these methods will do any good, especially when hackers hope you’ll make these mistakes.
    The best solution is to use a password manager, like LastPass.
    But nothing is better than learning all the necessary details to become a credentials expert!

  9. Don’t fall for their tricks
    Security products do a great job at keeping you safe from most online dangers and a lot of time is spent developing and improving these solutions.
    But they can’t keep you safe from yourself.
    To stay safe online, you need to educate yourself on cybersecurity and follow a set of common sense rules on the things one can and can’t do online.
    To give you a few examples, we need to say that you just can’t go online clicking any link and accessing any suspicious content, download any program that you see and start posting personal information on every social media platform.
    At the same time, you need to protect your transactions from fraud and online scams. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

  10. Educate your children on Internet safety
    Where are you keeping your credit cards and your financial information? Did you teach your children about online dangers? Do they know what they should do and what they shouldn’t?
    Talk to them so they may understand our actions have real consequences and outside the familiar home, there is little protection.
    Technology changes fast, so listen to your kids.
    CLICK TO TWEET

  11. Do not purchase from spam or phishing e-mails
    The statistics report on spam from Kaspersky, that analyzes spam e-mail, phishing attempts and malicious attachments, indicates the spam campaigns affect the user in 3 main ways:

    • steal private data from computers
    • make computer part of a botnet
    • installs malicious software

We all receive these e-mails. We mark them as spam and they keep coming. It’s not difficult to recognize them, they all display incredible low prices for all sort of things and they urge you to take an immediate action.
To increase their chances of success, cybercriminals employ these e-mails in social engineering schemes and spear phishing attacks that mask the real sender and simulate a banking or official authority.
Combining financial information theft and private data retrieved in such operations, cybercriminals launch identity theft attacks, which once successful, it is quite difficult to report and stop.
As Lee Munson pointed out:
Never click on links in emails that offer amazing deals unless you are sure they come from a reputable company.

  1. Keep a record of your transactions
    If you are a frequent online shopper, it may be difficult to remember where and when you bought something. It is even more difficult to track your spending habits.
    So, write it down: what you bought, when and from what website.
    Compare your spending details with the banking records from your online banking account in case you have a doubt about a certain purchase.

  2. Send sensitive or private data over encrypted channels
    First, you should not provide this type of information to unknown sites or reply to spam e-mails, messages, applications or social media requests.
    If you really need to send them over the Internet, make sure you use some encryption methods.
    You can archive and password-protect your file before sending it. You can also use some encrypted channels before you send private data, like a proxy server or a Virtual Private Network.
    We recommend that you use a VPN software, such as CyberGhost, to encrypt your traffic and hide your valuable information from hackers or unprotected public networks.

  3. Don’t just throw to thrash bills or transactions papers
    You ordered online and you got the package, but you also received some receipt for your purchase. Don’t just throw immediately the paper, you may need it later to confirm the purchase.
    If you want to throw it away, make sure you destroy it totally, so that any possible identity thief won’t be able to find any little information about you.

  4. Block your smartphone
    These days, everybody keeps the personal and important data on the mobile phone. The device has lost its initial function to contact people and is now used to take photos and connect mostly on social media accounts. Which is not a really bad thing.
    But, without realizing, we also store important data on these devices, which we carry everywhere. And this is what makes us vulnerable.
    Before you travel in a less familiar place, just think before if you really need all those apps on the phone.
    For example, do you really need the Dropbox app on the device, since that is the location where we all put lately the personal files, like photos, documents and numbers?

  5. Buy from a mobile device, not from PC
    Are you buying from a major retailer, like Amazon or Walmart? Well, now all of them have dedicated mobile apps. This means that hackers need to create specific attacks for specific apps, which is more difficult than launching attacks on system browsers.
    For this reason, mobile app are less vulnerable to cybercriminals’ attacks and you should use them, if you have the option.

  6. Use a credit card, not a debit card

They may look the same, but in case something goes wrong, like an online criminal attack that accessed your money or a shop that blocked your account, you have greater protection from the bank if you’re using a credit card.
Banks consider some of the credit cards money as their money and they act to protect them fast. At the same time, it is more useful to have a credit card while travelling, just in case you need a large sum of money fast.

Conclusion

The online environment is by definition a place where we are free to access and disseminate information, free of charge and most of the times free of any censorship or regulations.
But does this make the Internet a safer place? We all know the answer to this question.
If it’s true that no one can guarantee total freedom in the online sphere, the same is valid for security and privacy.
So, how do you shop online keeping yourself free of phishing attempts, data breaches or identity theft operations? Do you have other solutions?

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