Yes it’s that time of the year again where our bank balances run dry and we max out our credit cards- Christmas shopping!!!!
We couldn’t think of anything worse than standing in long queues , people pushing , limited tills(yes the delightful one till open during the busiest time of the year -I mean really!!!) and your own blood pressure going sky high. Yes there are a lot of people that “live” on the adrenaline of the “holiday season chaos”in malls but its not for everyone. Before I leave you running for the hills there is an easier option – online shopping!!!! The online world although quick and convenient , it can be a scary place and if your re not careful, your card details or your personal identity can be stolen as quick as you can click the “buy” button.
The holiday season is one of the busiest times for retails stores and cyber criminals take advantage of this. An additional concern is fake e-commerce websites, which are made to look real but are only built to steal your credit card information.
Here are our top tips for safe online shopping:
- Keep your device updated: Ensure that the device that you are using for shopping whether it be a laptop, tablet or mobile phone has the latest up to date security software which has various security benefits. These security benefits are designed to protect your personal data such as passwords, usernames and credit card numbers.
- Suspicious Emails: We are all faced with some sort of marketing on a daily basis – whether it be in a marketing email, a tweet or a Facebook post, these are often ways that cybercriminals can hack into our devises and steal our personal information. If the link looks shady rather press the delete button.
- Street savvy about Wi-Fi Hotspots: First thing we do when we enter our favourite coffee shop? Turn on Wi-Fi right? Don’t share personal information over an unsecured network (a connection that doesn’t require a password for access). Ensure that you use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) which gives you that added security and privacy when browsing the web.
- Ensure that the site is genuine: You can either google for reviews or just look up the site to ensure that it is real. Ensure that a closed padlock appears on the web browsers URL and that the URL address begins with https indicated that the purchase This includes a closed padlock on your web browser’s address bar or a URL address that begins with shttp or https ensuring that the purchase and the information that you input is secure.
- Use Safe Payment Options: Once a cyber criminal has access to your banking details they are able to clear your bank accounts. Ensure that the web browser has a secure HTTPS connection(indicated by a padlock) before entering in any credit card numbers. When you enter in your card details ensure that the 16 – digit card number is encrypted to ensure that hackers can’t copy your details. Majority of individuals prefer to use credit cards as payments can be tracked easier. Another payment method that almost all online shopper utilise is Paypal. Many websites nowadays have included Paypal as a method of paying for purchases and by linking your credit card to PayPal or using your balance this offers the user additional security as the credit card number is never sent to the buyer.
- Beware of identity theft:You may not know it right away if a criminal has gotten a hold of your financial information. You can be proactive by closely monitoring all of your financial accounts, and signing up for text or email alerts if the institution offers them. Norton can make it easy to have proactive protection in place with Norton Identity Protection Elite. Norton helps monitor everything online about you- from financial accounts, Social Media, and your credit report. Norton Identity Protection can even provide restoration services if you become a victim of identity theft. check your card statements
- Always use strong passwords: ensure that all accounts have unique passwords and never use the same password for more than one account otherwise this gives a cyber criminal a free for all access to all your accounts. Be careful when entering passwords over an unsecured network and just to be safe you could always install a safety tool that can manage your passwords for you.