Tips for Safe Online Shopping
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Tips for Safe Online Shopping

It's important to take steps to protect yourself when shopping online.

Online shopping is convenient, easy, and quick. But before you start adding items to your cart, make sure you are up-to-date and have the latest security software, web browsers and operating system. Keeping a clean machine is the best defense against viruses, malware, and other online threats.

Unlike Offline Stores it is quite easy to create a web-shop that looks like any other online store but is just created to receive your payment. Some online stores are complete copies of legitimate websites but do have a different address (like .net instead of .com). Dissimilar a ' Real' store where you can talk to staff members it is all virtual, instead of exchanging goods for cash you pay in advance and you expect your purchase will arrive soon.  

Creating this website we visited 100's of online store websites to make sure they are safe and we found out there are a lot of (temporarily) online stores that look like legitimate websites with official company brands and payment Safeguard logo's but never deliver any item.  When the Customer Service has a free email service address like gmail or hotmail or the website has a One Day offer that is still there the next day, think twice before you order.        

Here are some other ways to protect yourself when shopping online:

Protect your personal information: When making a purchase online, be alert to the kinds of information being collected to complete the transaction. Make sure you think it is necessary for the vendor to request that information. Remember, you only need to fill out required fields on a vendors checkout form. Before providing personal or financial information, check the website's privacy policy. Make sure you understand how your information will be stored and used.

Use safe payment options: Credit cards are generally the safest option because they allow buyers to seek a credit from the issuer if the product isn’t delivered or isn’t what was ordered. Also, unlike debit cards, credit cards may have a limit on the monetary amount you will be responsible for paying if your information is stolen and used by someone else. Never send cash through the mail or use a money-wiring service because you’ll have no recourse if something goes wrong.  Don’t forget to review return policies. You want a no-hassle ability to return items.

Keep a paper trail: Print and save records of your online transactions, including the product description, price, online receipt, terms of the sale, and copies of any email exchange with the seller. Read your credit card statements as soon as you get them to make sure there aren’t any unauthorized charges. If there is a discrepancy, call your bank and report it immediately.

Turn your computer off when you’re finished shopping: Many people leave their computers running and connected to the Internet all day and night. This gives scammers 24/7 access to your computer to install malware and commit cyber crimes. To be safe, turn off your computer when it's not in use.

Be wary of emails requesting information: Attackers may attempt to gather information by sending emails requesting that you confirm purchase or account information.  Legitimate businesses will not solicit this type of information through email. Contact the merchant directly if you are alerted to a problem. Use contact information found on your account statement, not in the email.

Protect Yourself with these STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Tips:

·        Keep a clean machine: Having the latest security software, web browser and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware and other online threats.

·        Make passwords long and strong: Combine capital and lowercase letters with numbers and symbols to create a more secure password.

·        Unique account, unique password: Separate passwords for every account helps thwart cybercriminals.

·        When in doubt, throw it out: Links in email, tweets, posts, and online advertising are often the way cybercriminals compromise your computer. If it looks suspicious, even if you know the source, it’s best to delete or if appropriate, mark as junk email

·        Get savvy about Wi-Fi hotspots: Limit the type of business you conduct and adjust the security settings on your device to limit who can access your machine.

·        Protect your $$: When banking and shopping, check to be sure the sites is security enabled. Look for web addresses with “https://” or “shttp://”, which means the site takes extra measures to help secure your information. “Http://” is not secure.

·        Think before you act:Be wary of communications that implores you to act immediately, offers something that sounds too good to be true, or asks for personal information

·        Help the authorities fight cybercrime: Report stolen finances or identities and other cybercrime to your local law enforcement or state attorney general as appropriate.

 

Safe Shopping on Your Smartphone.

Don't buy anything while connected to public Wi-Fi.  Public Wi-Fi networks aren't encrypted, which means anyone can eavesdrop on what you send. Anyone! All a black hat hacker needs is a free packet-sniffer which captures packets of data across unsecured networks. So really, avoid looking at anything on your mobile device that you wouldn't want the guy next to you in the coffee shop to see.

Use discretion when downloading payment apps.  There's a dizzying variety of mobile payment apps out there, but before you download any, be sure to check out the ratings, read the reviews, and search online for any claims of being scammed. When in doubt, use apps provided directly by your bank, credit card company, or retailer (such as Amazon). Most mobile malware comes from downloading legitimate looking apps from third-party app stores. 

 

 (source http://www.staysafeonline.org/)