Shopping Online: 5 Ways to Proceed With Caution

Shopping online has grown increasingly popular, especially since we have the ability to browse and shop right from our smartphones and tablets! As simple and satisfying as it is to just click a few times on our devices and have items shipped to us within a few days, there are certain risks associated with this practice.  Below are five ways to help you shop smart and safe!

Credit Card vs. Debit Card

While shopping online, you may feel inclined to grab your debit card, since it acts as cash instead of a small loan.  However, debit cards are linked directly to bank accounts, so if someone were to intercept your card information, they have the ability to wipe out your cash.  Credit cards often come with perks, such a “zero fraud liability,” thus making it easier to dispute unauthorized charges.

Pay Attention to the Web Address

While many web addresses begin with “HTTP,” it is important to only enter payment and personal information within webpages that begin “HTTPS.”  HTTPS stands for “Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure” and this type of protocol comes equipped with additional layers of security and encryption in order to ensure personal data is not easily viewable or retrievable by unauthorized parties.

Stick With Reputable Companies

Before entering your card number and address, make sure you are purchasing from a reputable company and not a scam. While HTTPS protects from unauthorized eyes viewing your data, a website for which you are attempting to purchase something has every right to view your card details, since that is how they are paid for the service or product they are providing. Make sure you purchase from legitimate companies before surrendering your personal data.

Updates and Scans

Whether shopping from your phone, tablet, laptop or desktop, please make sure all devices are updated with appropriate software updates and security patches. Running virus and malware scans also help to eliminate malicious activity that may be lurking on your devices.

Use an Online Payment Service

Online Payment services create an additional layer of protection, especially since all card and bank account information is housed in one location through a company, such as PayPal.  Instead of submitting card and bank account details to several merchants and marketplaces online, you would simply checkout with an Online Payment Service (as long as the merchant allows it), thus ensuring all details are within one location and not several locations scattered throughout the web.