There is no denying the fact that online shopping makes our lives easier in many different ways. However, at the same time, it can be extremely unsafe under certain circumstances. If you are a big fan of online shopping, please be mindful of the fact that numerous fraudsters and scammers are extremely active in the digital realm to steal your hard-earned money.
Mentioned below are some of the most common risks associated with online shopping.
• Identity Theft: This involves getting hold of the personal information of a shopper and using that information for the purpose of making personal purchases. There are many different ways of stealing personal information online such as phishing, installing spy apps, etc.
• Scams and Email Links: Scammers also send emails that may look like innocuous communication from a trusted online store or bank. These emails may ask you to click on a link to claim an attractive discount or free products. However, these are forgeries and you can fall prey to it just by clicking on the link.
• Credit Card Fraud: Malicious users can also intercept the payment portal of an online store. When this happens, instead of the legitimate payment gateway, the shoppers are diverted to the site of the malicious users. This is how the fraudsters can gain access to your credit card details.
Some other common threats include adware and malware, fake online stores, cloned websites, fake charities, etc.
How to Stay Safe When Shopping Online?
Luckily, there are many ways to shop online without any or minimize risk. Mentioned below are some points to take into account.
• Look for HTTPS for Shopping Online:
While making any purchase online, make sure that the website URL of the store starts with HTTPS, not HTPP. This additional S means that your data is sent in a secure manner. A website starting with HTTPS utilizes Secure Sockets Layer to encrypt the information so that it can only be seen by the intended recipient. However, this safety feature is not available with HTPP websites.
• Never Shop on Public Wi-Fi:
While using a public network, entering any personal information is like sending out an invitation to the fraudsters. The data encryption feature is not available with most of the Wi-Fi hotspots. Therefore, with the right kind of software, it is simple to intercept any information shared over these networks.
• Check your Credit Card Statement Frequently:
The smartest way to shop online is to use a credit card. Under the Fair Credit Billing Act, the card issuers are liable to reimburse their customers for fraudulent charges. Therefore, keep checking your card statement frequently, and report the company if you notice anything suspicious.
Some other useful precautions include updating the browser regularly, not clicking on suspicious links or emails, changing passwords regularly, and using virtual credit card numbers.
How to Save Money while Shopping Online
If you are smart enough as a shopper, there are different ways to save your hard-earned money while shopping online.
• Compare across Sites: Anyone who shops online knows very well that the same product is sold by different online shops at different prices. To avoid overpaying, you may install any of the available browser add-ons. These tools are capable of automatically generating a smart chart comprising of the prices of a given product across many different online platforms.
• Use a VPN to Find Better Deals Online: We may not realize, but online stores often treat customers based on whatever information they discover about them. By using a VPN, it is actually possible to save money by finding out the best online deals while remaining secure. Before starting a new search, don’t forget to clear the cookies.
• Leave Items in Your Cart: Add items you need in the cart and do nothing for the next few days. Most online shops hate seeing stuff in the shopping cart and may come up with special discounts or coupons for you.