Online shopping has gathered a storm over the last few years, and it shows no signs of stopping any time soon. From buying a toilet plunger to shopping for groceries, customers appreciate that they do not have to dash to a physical store to shop. You can shop online and have the items delivered wherever you are. Of course, any online transaction is prone to cybersecurity risks, and online shopping is one of them.
Hackers can steal valuable data like credit card information from online shoppers and steal money from them. Hence, online retailers need to identify ways to keep online shopping secure. Customers could also benefit from hacks to facilitate the safety of their online shopping ventures. Read this article to the end to learn more about both parties’ responsibility toward maintaining online shopping safety.
Essential Hacks That Promote Online Shopping Security
The following are tips to maintain safety while shopping online:
1. Shop with Reputable Online Retailers
Customers should shop with reputable online outlets, those they know and trust. When you shop online, ensure you type in the correct retailer’s name in the browser bar. Any typo in the name could lead you to a fake site controlled by hackers.
They manipulate you into thinking it is the right site, only for you to fall victim to their fraudulent activities. Not only will the items not be delivered, but you may also unwittingly have given out your credit card number to hackers who will use it for illegal purposes.
Protect your online shopping experience by bookmarking reputable online sites. You will browse your favorite stores in a few clicks rather than type in the wrong website and turn your online shopping venture into a nightmare.
2. Safeguard the Website with an SSL Certificate
Another thing customers should do is to identify whether the online retailer’s website has an SSL certificate. An SSL certificate facilitates cybersecurity by encrypting and securing apps or website communications. Hence, hackers cannot snoop on online transactions between the customer and the eCommerce website, necessitating the need for every website to have a low-priced SSL certificate. For better website security and customers’ data, you should, for example, buy a RapidSSL certificate, AlphaSSL certificate, and GlobalSign SSL certificate.
You can identify if your favorite eCommerce website has an SSL certificate by looking at the site’s URL. It should begin with “HTTPS,” meaning an SSL certificate secures it. Website URLs starting with “HTTP” indicate the absence of the certificate; hence, it is not safe for online shopping.
3. Don’t Use Public Wi-Fi When You Shop Online
Do not shop online using public Wi-Fi; hackers could spy on your browsing activities. Some public Wi-Fi networks may use older encryption standards that are not strong, leaving users vulnerable to cybersecurity threats. Besides, you may connect to a rogue Wi-Fi hotspot operated by hackers.
Connecting to such hotspots allows cyber attackers to intercept communication between you and the eCommerce websites you visit while shopping online. Hence, they can monitor your traffic and steal valuable information, so it is best you do not use public Wi-Fi when shopping online.
4. Select Strong Passwords
Use a strong password when logging into your favorite eCommerce store to shop. Strong passwords are difficult to crack, keeping cyber thieves away from your private information. A strong password should carry the below conditions.
· It has a complex set of numbers and symbols. It also has uppercase and lowercase letters, but you can choose a lengthy passphrase that no one is likely to guess.
· It does not have personal information like your name, birthday, or simple dictionary words a hacker could easily guess and use to log into your eCommerce user account.
Do not use one password for multiple accounts. You should not do it because, in the event of a security breach in one account, hackers can access the password and use it to access your other accounts.
5. Use a Virtual Private Network
Use a VPN if you need to shop and your only internet access is public Wi-Fi. A Virtual Private Network encrypts the communication between your device and the server.
Hence, cybercriminals will not identify your online activities when shopping online using public Wi-Fi in public spaces like parks or airports. It helps protect you from criminals who intend to steal valuable data from online shoppers.
6. Ensure the Platform Has Solid Security Features
A good eCommerce platform should have various security layers to keep its customers safe when shopping online. The first sign of an online store that cares for your safety has a two-factor authentication feature. This feature requires the user to key in their username and password combination.
Then, the site sends an extra code to the customer’s email or SMS to verify their identity. The multi-factor authentication technique ensures only the real user uses their eCommerce account to shop even if hackers access their username or password.
Another security feature online stores adopt to keep customer data safe is to use of widespread CDNs (Content Delivery Networks). They use Artificial Intelligence to filter out malicious traffic to the website. Hence, they help protect the stores from DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks. You should not shop online if the website does not have robust security features.
7. Use Credit Cards to Pay
Safe online shopping for customers is also facilitated by using credit, not debit cards, to pay for the goods. Credit cards are more secure because they do not give online vendors access to the funds in your bank account. In addition, they do not provide liability for fraud.
Hence, you do not lose money when a cybercriminal uses your account to purchase items online. When the credit card company observes fraudulent activities, they will ask questions, investigate, and issue you a new card.
Online stores accepting credit card payments must comply with PCI (Payment Card Industry) security guidelines. The standards ensure users’ personal information is safe when traveling through payment channels.
Users can add extra security by using virtual credit cards when paying for online shopping. Some credit card companies issue temporary card numbers to customers, which expire after a single transaction.
The numbers link to users’ credit card accounts, enabling them to shop virtually without revealing real credit card credentials to online vendors. No one who accesses the virtual credit card number without the user’s knowledge will use it once it becomes invalid.
8. Vet New Online Vendors before Transacting with Them
Customers should be cautious of new online vendors, especially those offering deals that seem too good to be true. Scammers often post ads on social media encouraging individuals to visit certain websites for unique offers and discounts. Innocent individuals lose money from fraudulent websites because the scammers set them up to snag personal information.
You can sniff out a suspicious online vendor by analyzing their offers. Compare prices with other online stores; if they are suspiciously low, a red flag indicates a fake website. Moreover, check security indicators like a secured padlock, and HTTPS in the address bar. Do not attempt to shop from such a website to maintain your online security.
Maintaining online security for online shoppers is a responsibility that falls on customers and online stores. Customers must be cautious and shop from reputable online stores while guarding their personal information against hackers. Online stores are also responsible for offering a secure platform for customers to shop without risking their cybersecurity. Only then can there be a safe environment for individuals to shop online.