Shopping has been one of the things that people enjoy doing most of the time. Some people would prefer to go to malls and personally check the items they want to buy like clothes, bags, or shoes, but some people would shop through online websites or applications.
Shopping online would save you time from going all your way to the mall to buy things that can easily be delivered just in front of your doorsteps.
It is very convenient, especially when you are busy and don’t have the time to waste, however, there are some serious disadvantages when it comes to online shopping.
Privacy Tools When Shopping
People who shop online waive their privacy when they make purchases from online stores or retailers like their address, phone numbers, credit, or debit card numbers and some of the stores even require them to enter numbers of any valid IDs.
This information would be entrusted in the hands of the seller or online store, who would then use the information in their favor. Some stores would track down your shopping activities like what things you often buy so they could send you email advertisements about products you are interested in.
Some would even sell your information to other company stores, that’s why you would just be surprised one day to receive ads and offers from a company you have never heard of or visited.
There would also be bad people who would try to steal all your information online and use it for identity theft. To prevent this from happening, here are some ways to keep your information safe or to at least avoid being a victim.
Before You Shop – Check Your Bank Policies and Anti Scam Protection
Knowing your bank’s policies is very important, the banks from where you got your credit cards and debit cards would always have policies that come with the card. You should inquire if you would be held accountable for purchases made using your information when your card has been stolen.
Having an antivirus on your computer would also be very useful. Nowadays, some people have considered hacking as a job where they earn money by stealing other people’s information and using it or selling it to any interested third party. Strong antivirus would at least protect you from this kind of intruder.
Also, when you are offered a discount or any other offers which are too good to be true for a company or store through email or a link, you should think twice before clicking that message.
These links are most likely viruses that would take over your computer and would extract every bit of information you would not want others to get a hold of. Scammers are also everywhere today and they would take every opportunity they could get to take advantage of people who are gullible.
Choose a Trusted Shop
When you do your shopping, make sure to use websites or shopping applications that are safe and trusted. You should always read the website’s privacy policies before you give any information or data, people would often just skip reading this and would automatically check the “agree box” without even reading. You need to know that making a fake website is as easy as cooking, you just need to follow certain instructions when making and then viola! A legit looking website would be born.
Secure websites can also be distinguished, the URL of a secure website would begin with “https” and not “HTTP”. You would also determine that a website is secure if a padlock icon appears on the right side of the address bar of your browser window. There are also online shops where you can trade your things in exchange for cash, such as old phones and laptops, but there is also a high risk of having your privacy being exposed to this type of transaction.
In this case, look out for gadget trading shops such as BankMyCell.com that allow you to be safe and reduce the risk from being privately invaded by helping you reset your device settings and delete all the personal information that you have. Before you give them your unit, they can help you remove all your personal data from your device. You can also check if the online store has a physical store and verify if such really exists.
Read Privacy Policies
Some people would say that privacy policies are too long to waste one’s energy on reading so after just reading the first few sentences they immediately click to agree. This is a bad habit to have, some stores would take advantage of knowing this and would insert some details in the policy that could be at the disadvantage of the customer.
You should always be aware of the contents of a document that you are agreeing to because you would be held liable in this case or you will not be able to defend yourself against such agreement because you have already given your consent.
Use Strong Passwords for Online Payment
As mentioned earlier, hackers are scattered everywhere and if you are not careful you would be one of the victims of their hack. Using a strong password would really help you from getting hacked, this would also protect you from financial fraud or identity theft.
Hackers would often guess your password once they get a hold of some of your personal information, therefore the more complex your password is, the more secure your account would be, so you should totally avoid using names or birthdays of people who you know.
It is also advisable to make your online transactions over WiFi networks, which are secure, using unsecured wifi networks would enable hackers to capture your back information or credentials, so it would be better to use your own data or internet at home.
Secure Your Credit Card and Account Information
It is not advisable to store your information online, there are some online stores that would request you to store your online credentials when you have made a purchase, they would reason that this information would be used as a reference for future transactions but you will never know. Also, do not send your card details through email or dictating it over a phone call, remember, you will never know who is watching or listening.
Another precaution that you could take is having a two-factor authentication, using this would always notify and alert you of transactions that are about to take place using your credentials, this would help you alert your bank and take the necessary actions if you do not recognize the said transaction.
Remember shopping online will not always mean that you are risking being a victim of money fraud or identity theft, as long as you take the necessary precautions needed.