Online shopping is one of the most attractive targets for attackers looking to steal private information, and if you frequently like to get your things on the Web, you should pay attention to the techniques commonly used by malicious parties to get to your data. There are some common tricks that you can look out for and try to avoid, and a little common sense can generally go a long way in preventing bad things from happening to you as a result of your online shopping habits.
Only Shop at Trusted Sites
This is a straightforward one, but you should not submit your payment details to any shopping sites you’re not explicitly familiar with. It’s okay to shop at a place you’ve never shopped at before, but make sure that you verify its legitimacy with some research beforehand. Look up the site online, see if there are positive reviews about them, and pay special attention to things like their refund/return policy, customer service, and payment processing issues. Also, if the site allows you to shop as a guest, without signing up for a profile, that’s not a bad idea if you don’t expect to be coming back later.
Have Protection on Your Computer
A single antivirus program can go a long way in helping you stay safe, and even if you don’t use one that offers active protection, you can still keep your experience trouble-free by just running a regular scan every now and then. A good antivirus solution will also identify much more than simply malicious files, and you’ll be able to avoid dangerous sites, e-mails, and even communication with specific people that might turn out to be bots. Modern anti-malware solutions are becoming quite comprehensive and difficult to defeat by attackers, so it’s a good idea to install something that will keep your computer in check while you’re doing your online shopping. This is valid even if you don’t download any files in the course of your shopping. It might still happen in the background without your knowledge, so be careful!
Use Prepaid Cards When Possible
A prepaid credit card can be very helpful in avoiding some of the problems that commonly arise from security breaches at online shops. Even if someone does steal your card details, they won’t be able to do much with it if there is no active balance. What’s better, some prepaid cards can be deactivated completely after they’re used up, effectively working as “burner” cards that you can use just for the purpose of online shopping. There’s nothing illegal about that as long as you’re not trying to imitate someone else and are clear about your identity, and you can easily purchase cards at various convenience stores.
Shopping URL Safety
Always make sure that the website you purchase things from online has the “https://” format before the actual URL in the address bar. This will ensure that all transactions that you make through that website will be safe and therefore less prone to a hack.