5 Tips for Safe and Secure Online Shopping

When shopping online, you need to ensure you are safe. Online and mobile security is of the utmost importance. If a criminal intercepts your information they could obtain access to your bank account and money - not to mention your identity could be at risk. We put together a few tips for safe and secure online shopping that will protect your finances and identity.

1. Use Secure Payment Methods

First and foremost, use a secure payment method whenever possible. If you use your debit card as your payment method of choice online you pose the risk of allowing a fraudster to be directly connected to your bank account. Our favorite options for secure payments are PayPal and VISA Checkout.

  • Services like PayPal and Visa Checkout acts as a third party between the shopping website and your bank account. They have multiple security precautions in place, so that if a breach does happen, they’ll take the hit for you. They are also faster because they can help fill-out other details like billing and shipping address.
  • Mobile payment platforms are crossing over into online payments. Services like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and AndroidPay use tokens to transmit payment data instead of having you provide your account information to the merchant.
  • Credit cards are prefered over debit cards because they are not tied directly to your bank account and the card issuer offers protections for consumers in the event of fraud.
  • If you still are not comfortable with these options, prepaid debit or credit cards may be best for you. Prepaid cards are preloaded with a set amount and are not connected to any bank account. In a way they work very similar to a gift card.

2. Shop Only on Secure Websites

To know if a company’s web page is secure, simply draw your attention to the top left corner of your browser. If you see a green/yellow padlock, in addition to “https” at the beginning of the URL the website is using a secure technology to protect information. The “s” at the end of “https” stands for secure.

Also, be sure to check the certificate of the website at the bottom of the page. This will show whether or not their security certificate has expired and if it’s actually the website you are on. Pay particular attention to these things when shopping on small business websites.

3. Be Careful of Public WiFi

Stay away from shopping and making purchases on public WiFi connections. These networks can often be found at restaurant, mall and hotel hotspots and are the easiest for criminals to breach and hack into. Once they are in the network they have all devices connected to those networks at their fingertips to dive into.

Cyber criminals can also easily setup a hotspot that looks like it is managed by the place you are visiting.For example, you may be at the airport and see a hot spot called “Airport WiFi”. This does not necessarily mean that the airport is running it. Look for signs or ask someone in the position to know what the locations proper WiFi network is called. If possible, see if you are able to use a guest WiFi network that still requires a password.

4. Don’t Send Personal Information over Email

Sending personal information such as Social Security numbers, passwords, bank account numbers, credit/debit card numbers or any personally identifiable/sensitive information via email is a terrible idea. Email is generally not considered secure and to send this type of information a majority of companies will ask you to use a secure site they have to transmit this type of information. Using secure sites will encrypt the information so it will not be accessible to a hacker.

5. Review Your Purchases Regularly

Lastly, it’s essential to review your bank account and credit card statements weekly. This is the best way to catch any suspicious or unusual activity and monitor any pending transactions that aren’t yours.

So there you have it. A few simple tips to keep in mind as you shop online. At CHROME we offer CHROME Confidence to ensure your money stays yours.