Holiday season is here and everyone is making a beeline to buy appropriate gifts to suit the occasion. At times like these the stores are almost filled up with huge crowds and deals that make it almost impossible to get what you want. It is relatively easier to go shopping online to save time and get better deals quickly. However, online shopping is convenient but at the same time, it can also be potentially dangerous to shop online. It is during festival occasion hackers are on the prowl to steal or tamper with maximum user information. Nevertheless, one cannot altogether avoid shopping online as it has to be done. Here is an easy guide to smart shopping online to help you keep safe.
Initially you need to understand that using a reliable browser is the best option while deciding to shop online. You can use either Chrome or Firefox; the best option is using these browsers interchangeably. If you are using two browsers at the same time then you minimize your chances of online security threat from hackers. For example, you can use Chrome for transactions login and Firefox for casual browsing.Another essential tip is to check for the URL that is displayed in the address bar above the browsing window. While opening websites that require sensitive data transactions or user login details for shopping you need to check for the URL. Check for the HTTPS extension at the beginning of the URL. This indicates that it is safe to browse. Remember if you are about to check into a legitimate shopping website and it does not contain HTTPS then it is better that you do not log into it as you risk falling a prey to Phishing.
Often we have a habit of continuing with the same password for a long time, this compromises your security. In order to be safer online it is essential to keep changing your passwords at a given interval of time especially during the holiday season. You need to change the passwords of your banking services, e-mail accounts and online shopping services that are similar to Amazon. Another thing to keep in mind is choosing a password that does not includes phrases or words. A password can be a composition of random words that can be separated by comas or spaces. However, you need to keep in mind that only websites like Microsoft accounts accept spaces within passwords including Amazon and Google. To be on the safe side, when you are done shopping you can again change your passwords to ensure the safety of your account.
Many times, it so happens that you forget to either log out of your account or just hit the X to close the window. This way your account is still logged in and it becomes insecure as the cookies are stored that might be used for hacking your account. Make it a habit to log out of your account after you are done shopping, after using your e-mails or other such services that require login details along with passwords.
VPN or Virtual Private Network can be utilized to encrypt the web traffic. In case, if you do not have the option available then you can use an alternate program for securing your network. Downloading options like TOR for Mac and Windows, downloading software like LogMeIn Hamachi or an option like a HotSpot Shield suited to Mac and Windows users are good alternatives. These programs will keep you safe while you shop or make transactions online via shopping website.Paying options
During the holiday seasons, the web traffic is large and there are many opportunities for hackers to get their hands on the financial details of a user. However, you can stay safe by utilizing a credit card to pay for your online shopping. This will also keep you safe from any kind of online fraudulent practices. Comparatively paying with a debit card is relatively risky as your PIN, other details can be compromised, and you may lose a lot of cash.
Implementing all the above tips will help you stay safe while you indulge in shopping online.
The internet screams! On the advent of social networking, online shopping, MMORPG, outsourcing and other stuff we conventionally do in real life: physically-allowed remotely by the internet, the process of road testing credibility and quality becomes different.
Everything became so accessible nowadays and we cannot be expected to be at pace with it all. Provided the schedules we have are fast-paced, online shopping has been so effective for several reasons and here are but a few:
1. Online Shopping is Convenient
Come on, we do it at the comfort of our homes or practically anywhere! As long as there’s an available internet connection, you can shop. The shops are about like Amazon.com and eBay-not to mention the ongoing and emerging Facebook shops. You would not have to deal with crowds, gas-up or commute just to get to the store.
2. Online Shopping is PracticalForget the hassle of having to allot ample time for shopping. Sites provide photos, virtual tours and lower rates. You pay via a number of options (debit/credit card, online shopping accounts like PayPal) and get your order shipped.
3. Online Shopping is Discreet.
Admit it, there’s stuff you want to buy but are quite embarrassed to do face-to-face. Think sexy lingerie, adult toys and films, etc-these are things that are part of our nature and if you have projected a “conservative personality,” you couldn’t just walk into a store letting such items dangle in your hand to the cashier. Through the power of online shopping, you can just click-click-fill-out-click-click then voila, wait for your item.
Now, the question that lingers on some physical-store shoppers that are looking into online shopping is “how do I know that I’m buying a product as projected virtually?”
The answer is simple: Since online shopping has been about for quite some time and fraudsters have been inevitable, methods of verifying whether you are dealing with a legitimate seller have also arisen. Here are a few tips to help you succeed in your online buying:
Check out client testimonies – Online shopping sites have portions for client/customer feedback. By checking this portion of the website/page, you get to know what fellow buyers think of their purchase (satisfaction rate). It is also known as “user reviews.” This can be faked-use your best judgment.
Scan the website/page quality – Just like physical store shopping, online shop qualities vary. Here, the site represents the boutique/store you walk in. It does not necessarily have to be top-grade, full-blown designed. So long as it’s organized, user-friendly (as in easy to navigate), you’re good. Fraud sites are usually messy, in poor format, ad-heavy, and etc.Look for “security seals” – These are emblems you’ll usually see in the site’s homepage. Like the “BBB Reliability Program,” and/or “Hacker Safe” seals (to mention a few) that the online store boasts of.
Know the seller’s profile – This is usually an “about us” section where you read about the online store. Verified sellers usually have the founder’s personal profile-with full name and background or the store’s founding story, location, years in business, etc.
There are many more options to verify the deals you are about to make when shopping online and that’s what search engines are there for! Do a little online research-you’re sure to find forums or reviews that talk about shops and products online (this is the online version of the “word-of-mouth”).