12 Oct Secure online shopping: safeguarding your financial information
Online shopping has changed the way we purchase goods, offering convenience and access to a vast array of products without ever leaving your home. While it may be easy, fast, and often cost-effective, it’s crucial to be mindful of the security of your financial information when shopping online. With the rise of e-commerce, the risk of falling victim to cybercriminals has also increased. This article provides essential tips to ensure your financial assets and personal data remain safe during your online shopping adventures.
Shop from trusted retailers
Stick to well-known, reputable online retailers and consider bookmarking their websites for easy access. Before making a purchase from a new site, conduct research to verify its legitimacy and check for any customer complaints or issues.
Be cautious of unrealistic deals
While online deals can be tempting, exercise caution when a deal seems too good to be true. Extremely low prices may indicate a fake website created to steal your personal information and money. Trust your instincts and be sceptical of deals that seem out of the ordinary.
Secure your online environment
Avoid using public Wi-Fi when making online purchases, as it exposes your personal and financial information to potential eavesdroppers. Instead, shop in a secure, private environment where you trust both the Wi-Fi network and the people nearby who might be watching your activity.
Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Enhance your online security by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to hide your personal information and encrypt your connection. A VPN adds an extra layer of protection, making it harder for cybercriminals to intercept your data.
Choose secure websites
Only shop on websites that display a lock icon in the browser’s address bar and have URLs that begin with “https” instead of “http”. These indicators signify that the site uses SSL encryption, safeguarding sensitive information such as passwords and financial details from prying eyes.
Pay with a credit card
To prevent hackers from gaining direct access to your bank account, use a credit card for online transactions. Regularly review your credit card statements for accuracy and immediately report any suspicious activity to your bank’s credit card department.
Employ strong, unique passwords
Ensure the safety of your accounts by using strong, unique passwords for each application or website. Avoid using the same password across multiple platforms to minimise the risk of a security breach.
Keep your antivirus software up-to-date
Maintain the effectiveness of your cybersecurity by regularly updating your antivirus software to guard against the latest threats. Cyber threats are ever-evolving, so staying up-to-date is essential to protect your online shopping experience.
Online shopping can be a safe and enjoyable experience if you take the necessary precautions to protect your financial information and personal data. By shopping from trusted retailers, being cautious about deals that seem too good to be true, securing your online environment, using a VPN, choosing secure websites, using credit cards, employing strong passwords, and keeping your antivirus software up-to-date, you can significantly reduce the risks associated with online shopping and enjoy the convenience it offers without compromising your financial security.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Megan Stella | Chief Operating Officer (COO)
Megan Stella is an accountant and IT professional with over 20 years of experience working in the insurance industry. She has extensive knowledge of IT and how to use it to improve business efficiency.