“From battle against the phishing online shopping scams to fake gift cards, here are the 12 top Online Shopping Tips to make your holiday season secure and exciting.”
There are billions of reasons to shop online. There are massive discounts. Varieties of products are mind-blowing. Shipping is free. Even return policies are so flexible. Shopping your favorite products was never that much exciting, relaxing and convenient at the same time.
However, just like our world, the online world is also full of dark entities. And these cyber thieves are getting stronger and stronger since the buyer is not taking “Online shopping tips” seriously. Alternatively, they do not have any idea regarding the importance of these tips until they trick by these hackers.
For all of these reasons, Onlineprivacytips.co decided to provide some highly effective online shopping tips that help you to make your online buying experience great again.
Top 12 Online Shopping Tips
Use Verified Websites
When you search on Google, you get the whole list of retailers’ website. From real domains to fake ones, everything is on the screen. If you know which website is the genuine one, chances are less to hunt down by hackers.
If you are doing online shopping for the first time, it is necessary to check URL of the websites. Most of the renown online retailers have “.com” and “.net” URL mainly.
Moreover, also check for website name spellings. Hackers are very clever nowadays; they put the fake websites name close to the real one by changing one alphabet or two, which sounds very similar.
That is not the end. These hackers also post fake massive account deals on their fake websites. This entices users drastically due to Black Friday Deals fever. And end up with having fake products and giving up your data.
For this, whenever you get a massive discount offer by renowned retailers, make your habit to check that offers on official one or another genuine online retail store.
Never Shop from the Websites without SSL
Not so technical but this online shopping tips can be your great savior against cyber thieves. Never do online shopping from websites without SSL (Secure Socket Layer).
The easy way to check around that website contains SSL or not, the URL of domain starts with HTTPS. Websites, which URL start with HTTP instead of HTTPS are without SSL-not safe at all for shopping. Additionally, when you open a website with SSL, an icon of a locked padlock will appear. The location of locked padlock varies on which browser you are using.
Don’t Share Excess Information
Even the renowned domains get breached. Remember that not a single authorized retailer website asks about your personal information in details. If a website asks about the date of birth, national id information, run away it is a trap. Otherwise, you may end up with giving your financial details, and that can do much damage.
Therefore, whenever it is possible for you to provide minimum personal information as possible. One more thing you can do is to check the procedure of transaction on major brand websites. In this way, you have an idea what kind of information is required to shop online.
Keep Check on Your Transactions
Do not be lazy to check your credit card billing until at the end of the month especially during shopping fest. Make your habit to check your online transaction on a daily basis. Look carefully for the vague charges no matter which reliable service you are using such as PayPal.
Furthermore, it would help if you only used a credit card instead of a debit card for online shopping. Speaking of, if your debit card is breached, it means hackers have all the access of your bank account. Any retailer website that particularly asks for payment via debit card is a huge red flag.
Making transactions via credit card while shopping online is the safest option. And this is due to the Fair Credit Card Billing Act, which ensures that if you get into any online fraud, you have to pay up to $50.
It means you get the transaction security if your credit card gets wrongly charge or use by scammers. Therefore, if you see any abnormal transaction or extra charges call your bank and address it. Always check your credit card statement before clearing the bill.
According to the international standard, you get 30 days to claim in case of any unusual transaction to your bank. However, if you do not claim within 30 days, then you have to pay the entire payment.
Secure Your Devices with Antiviruses and Anti-malware
If you are not giving your data to them, they will hunt you down by cracking down into your devices. Many of us do not bother to use or update antivirus and antimalware on our devices.
I prefer to use premium security software over free ones. This is because the premium version is capable of protecting cyberattacks like phishing, spoofing website and spammers.
But sadly according to PCMag survey unfortunately only 53% of the respondents use security software. It means almost half of the users use their devices without any security.
Therefore, these dark online entities steal your data and fade away your online shopping season. This is why using security software is one of the core online shopping tips to keep you protected. Moreover, installing security software is not the solution; make sure to keep them up to date. Otherwise, you may be a victim of online threats.
Use VPN to Secure Your Wi-Fi
The online sales are about to go live, and you are still waiting for your bubble tea at café. The only way to avail these massive discounts is by using the public Wi-Fi network. On an initial basis, I would recommend you to only use known public Wi-Fi spot like those available at renowned café or stores.
Moreover, if you are not at these renowned places, I would strongly recommend you to use VPN to be secure. This is one of the utmost online shopping tips since a minority of the users knows about VPN.
According to the reliable resources, 48% percent of the users never use VPN. Only 26% of the users knew they should use a VPN for secure access to the net via Public Wi-Fi.
Use of VPN must be 100% to keep yourself secure from online shopping scams. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) transfers data with the help of secure tunneling mechanism. In simple terms, VPN wraps the user’s online data before it is transferred. Then at the time of transferring data, it is again wrapped in the more secure seal with the new anonymous title.
Use Password Managers
Creating strong passwords is one of the simplest online shopping tips but very effective. However, using strong passwords and change them on a regular basis is a headache for most of the people. One of the reasons why online privacy is becoming more fragile is due to users do not frequently change their passwords.
Furthermore, changing these passwords on a regular basis will not ensure your online privacy. Using strong passwords is also the key to protect your online data from cyber thieves. For this, you can go through our previous blog regarding tips to create strong passwords.
But if you are looking for something that can create a strong password on your behalf, then use a reliable password manager. Again, I would recommend using premium password managers since they are more reliable than the free ones.
A password manager will help you in creating unbreakable passwords. Also, keep track of breaches and change it when there is a need. In this way, if cyber thieves get any access of your account, the password manager will immediately change it with another strong password.
However, the number of password manager users is still below average, which should increase. Otherwise, hackers will keep finding a way to steal your data.
Use Verified Mobile Apps
The evolution of smartphones changes the trend of online shopping. From desktop to shop via smartphones is now very common. However, in this time of massive online sales, hackers get active to trap you in fraud by offering fake retailers’ apps. Always use verified retailers app while shopping online.
This is also one of the most effective online shopping tips, which is highly ignored by users. To find out which retailer app is a genuine one, always download them from the official App Store. Remember never download apps from third-party websites; they are 100% fake.
Use Direct Payment Methods
Billing for credit cards is becoming an old trend now since there are more secure methods available. The rise of mobile payment method is at peak and most of the retailers’ also accepting it due to high security. Payment methods like Apple Pay and Google Pay create a code that no one could ever steal and use.
Furthermore, the best thing regarding using mobile payment methods, you don’t have to share your credit card details every time. Hence, the risk of stealing your financial information drops drastically.
Keep Check on Fake Gift Cards
This online shopping tip is the one, which should be followed by every online buyer. Since Gift Cards are always in demand whenever festive online season comes, scammers also offer fake ones. Not only that, hackers offer these fake gift cards on websites like Amazon and eBay with little or no funds.
Moreover, other than these fake cards, there is multiple online gift card exchange. That is great because users get the opportunity to trade off gift cards that you do not want. However, in the online world, you cannot trust everyone. This might be the case you end up getting a card which is already used.
Therefore, while you are buying or trading cards online always make sure that website is a genuine one. I would recommend you to make some effort and purchase a physical gift card from a store nearby.
Seller Review Analysis
If you are sure that the website is genuine, but not sure about their services and product, this online shopping tip will make you a pro in finding it.
There is some reviews posted on renowned retailers’ website, which are only for link building and redirect traffic to their website. This is a kind of SEO black hat strategy that most of the buyers do not know and trust website on behalf of their fake reviews.
The easy way to find the genuine review, look for the review comment, which is without any link. Analyze them and then decide whether this website is good for online shopping or not.
Furthermore, cyber thieves create their e-commerce website in this holiday shopping season. And they posted great reviews via using multiple pseudo ids to trick the buyers to shop from their websites. Therefore, always try to shop from renowned retailers such as Amazon, Best Buy, etc. Otherwise, you may end up with losing your money in buying fake products or services.
Don’t Hesitate to Complain
Do not feel ashamed at all if you are not satisfied with the online retailer service. Show your aggressiveness as much as possible since you are paying. Complain about the retailer. Even report them to higher authorities in your countries such as FBI or Federal Trade Commission.
This is one of the greatest online shopping tips ever in case you get trick by faulty online retailers. In my opinion, it is better to shop from domestic online retailers rather than international sites. In this way, your report will be noticed on an immediate basis, and there are high chances that you will get your money back.
Wrapping it Up
There is no one out there who wants to be trick by the cyber thieves, especially in the middle of the festive online season. All of you including me are looking for massive discount deals. However, the risk of being scammed is incredibly high since cyber thieves are setting traps to steal your money. Alternatively, trying to make you fool by offering fake Gift Cards or replica products.
In this scenario, those above “12 Online Shopping Tips” can become a savior for online buyers if they are followed accordingly. So, spare some time to read the above tips and make your online shopping season save and secure against these malicious cyber-attacks.
In case if you still have confusion or query, do not hesitate to contact us. On the other hand, if you want to add something valuable, we would love to hear from you. For this mentioned your comment below.