Shopping online can be a lot of fun, but it can also be dangerous, if you do not know how to protect your credit card information. You could end up having your identity stolen, never receive the products that you purchase, or experience some other type of online shopping disaster. When you are visiting ecommerce websites to look for products, it is important to stay safe. Luckily, it is not that difficult to protect yourself. Use the following tips to learn how to start shopping online safely.
#1 – Shop Trusted Sites
The first tip is to shop trusted sites. Instead of using Google or another search engine to locate the best deals, visit places like Amazon, Best Buy, and other well known online retailers. These companies have secure payment processes and can protect you against defective products. There is one concern to pay attention to, when shopping a popular site, you should make sure that you have spelled the name of the website correctly. There are many websites out there that prey on people that accidentally type in the wrong website address, using a similarly spelled name. They mirror the real website and attempt to trick users.
#2 – Use Sites with SSL Certificates
When visiting an online ecommerce store, look up in the address bar. You should see a small lock icon next to the address. This indicates that the website uses SSL encryption to protect itself from hackers preying on credit card payment systems. Another way to tell if a website uses SSL is if the address begins with https://, instead of http:. Also, you should never have to pay via email. Your credit card information should be provided through some type of web-based payment system, on a website that uses SSL encryption.
#3 – Avoid Sites that Ask for Too Much Information
If an online store asks for too much information, when filling out your name and payment information, that is a sure sign that they are looking to rip you off. You should never have to provide your social security number, your mother’s maiden name, and other specific details, when shopping online. If you suspect that the website you are browsing is asking too much information, you can always find the same product on another website.
#4 – View Your Credit Card Statements
When you shop online, you should always regularly look at your credit card or bank statements. Look for any purchases that you do not remember making. Check the dates, amounts, and the name of the company that charged you. The moment you suspect there has been suspicious activity on your card, contact your credit card company or your financial institution. The sooner you realize that someone has used your credit card or bank information for an illegal purchase, the more likely you are to get reimbursed and put a stop to further charges.
#5 – Keep Your PC Clean
The dangers of shopping online can start before you visit a website. Use a quality, highly recommended, anti-virus and malware protection program on your computer. This can help protect your identity and banking information. Most anti-virus software also includes browser extensions for extending their functionality to the web pages that you visit. They will scan the web pages, just as they would scan files on your PC.
If you stick with these tips, you should be able to shop safely online. Start by focusing on trusted, popular websites. If you cannot find what you are looking for and visit another website, always thoroughly review the website that you end up shopping from. Check to see if they use SSL encryption. Stay away from sites that ask too much information, view your credit card statements on a regular basis, and keep your PC protected with antivirus software. Thank you for reading. If you have any other questions or concerns about shopping online, please leave a comment. We will get back to you as soon as possible.