Important Things to Keep in Mind When Shopping Online

It has never been easier to shop, but remember, just as you don't need to leave your home to go shopping, cyber thieves don't need to leave theirs either. Stay one step ahead with these tips on how to reduce the risks while online shopping.

shopping online

Check the website looks like the real deal.

Fake websites are one of the main dangers to falling prey to identity theft.  Some criminals will go to great lengths to steal your hard earned cash, even designing look-a-like websites teasing you to make a purchase and hand over your vital identity and banking digits. For this reason, if you are at all unsure about the website you are visiting, it's best to avoid making a purchase. Also you should be especially suspicious about links you receive within emails, which can lead you to fake websites.

Only shop from a secured connection

Typing in your credit card details while using a public Wi-Fi connection exposes you to the risk of your details being stolen. To reduce the risk, by all means use unsecured connections to window shop, but leave the actual transaction until you get home where you can be sure the connection is secured.

Only buy from an SSL secured website

If a website is secured it means that information that is stored is far less likely to be stolen or intercepted by unwanted eavesdroppers. You can usually tell if a website is secured because the beginning of its URL in the address browser is highlighted as green.  You may also see a padlock icon which is another reassuring sign. Websites secure themselves by acquiring an SSL certificate which encrypts them to a recognized industry standard.  There are several providers and products, with many online stores choosing to install Thawte SSL Certificates which provide the most visible package so that shoppers know immediately that their site is a safe place to shop.  If you are curious on how this software works you can check on line for an SSL product overview.

Shop with your credit card

It is advisable to shop with your credit card rather than your debit card if you can avoid it. This is mainly because if you are the unfortunate victim of identity theft, you have a higher chance of getting your money back with a credit card. With a debit card, the money comes straight out of your account so it is far harder to remedy the situation. Many credit cards provide insurance of some kind against identity theft as well which helps. But if you report a theft after more than a day or two, you are unlikely to see your money again even if you used a credit card.

Check your statements

Lastly, make it regular practice to check your online bank account. This will help you to keep track of what purchases are being made and when. If you see large amounts of money being used on expensive items that you or another card holder is unlikely to have made, contact your credit or debit card company immediately and cancel the card without delay.

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