It seems as though you can’t go a full 24 hours without hearing about some sort of online data security breach on the news these days. And with all the stories about compromised personal information, hackers, and identity thieves floating around out there, it’s no wonder that some people are skill a bit skeptical when it comes to online shopping. Fortunately, there are a few tips that all skeptics can follow to increase their security when sending payments over the Internet.
Never use public, unsecured networks
First of all, be careful of the Internet connections you trust, especially when you’re using Wi-Fi. Many businesses and other public places offer free Wi-Fi that you can connect to without any need for a password. And while this may be fine for simply browsing the Web, you don’t want to trust these connections to protect your personal information (passwords, credit cards, account numbers, etc.). That’s because anybody can connect to these networks and potentially access your information on the shared network.
If you decide to do any online shopping, then, be sure to do it on your own home network that’s secured with a password.
Only shop on trusted websites with encryption
Furthermore, always take the time to research websites before you decide to spend any money. There are many scam sites out there that will advertise goods or services, take your hard-earned money, and never deliver. When shopping on a website you don’t have experience with, look online for third-party reviews to ensure the company is legitimate.
Also, be sure to look for encryption on the site’s payment page; most eCommerce stores that are encrypted to protect your personal information will have a stamp or certificate proving so.
Go with your gut instincts
Finally, when all else fails, go with your gut while shopping online. If a website seems fishy to you or you suspect that you’re being scammed, play it safe and abort the transaction. At the end of the day, it’s simply not worth potentially losing your hard-earned money over. Specifically, be on the lookout for any or all of these red flags:
- websites that only accept payment in wire transfer
- websites that don’t have any form of data encryption
- websites that don’t have credible reviews
Overall, online shopping is quite safe; it’s just a matter of being smart about who you give your business to. By keeping these tips in mind, you can avoid becoming the victim of a scam.
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