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Online Shopping Security Tips

Shopping time can be great fun for the whole family. However, for others it is a chance to try out new scams, designed to extract your hard earned money online! Be aware and keep your money safe by using the following online shopping security tips to check online store reliability.

online-shopping1. Use well-known websites

When you are directed to a site selected by a search engine, you are taking the risk of exposing yourself to the hackers. Take a few moments to look for security labels attached to it, for example; VeriSign and Cyber-trust and ensure the URL contains https:// on any prompt pages asking for your information. A favored trick of hackers is to plant search results with sites that are fraudulent.

2. Hacker Hotspots

If you are a regular online shopper check your credit card statements on a regular basis for unauthorized payments. However, beware of checking accounts and making online purchases with a public computer in “hotspots” such as airports, hotels and coffee shops. Many hackers are professionals and experts at what they do, including tapping into public Wi-Fi connections and capturing your personal information.

3. Tempting e-mail offers

Everyone is looking for a special discount to save money and the Internet predators are setting their traps for you. If one of those tempting e-mails arrives on your PC and seems to be from a legitimate source, do not be tempted to just click on the link or you could find yourself on a fraudulent site. First, make a visit to the website of the seller and determine whether they are having a sale, or are advertising your “special offer”. If they are, then use that link. The URLS on Twitter and Facebook are sometimes shortened; therefore, there is some doubt whether you will visit a legitimate website.

4. Wiring money for online purchases

The first thing to always keep in mind is that if an offer seems too good to be true, it usually is and scammers are continually presenting good stories to gullible online buyers. On that basis, if you receive a great online offer from a seller, for whatever reason, but they want you to wire the payment, beware. Remember that if you send the money and do not receive the goods, there is no means of recovering your payment. Insist on paying with your credit card, PayPal or other secured methods and if this is not acceptable, it is probably wise to press the cancel button.

5. Buy Online Smart and Safe

Remember when you are shopping online every vendor wants you to buy something, but you are the “BOSS” and in control, so Buy Online Smart and Safe. Do not be over anxious in buying from an online store until you are certain it is legitimate. Various ways of doing this are to check testimonials, or see if the store is referred to in blogs, forums or reviews and if there were any problems reported by customers. Also, is the store listed in shopping directories and if so, follow the links.
When you have a profile make sure your password is very strong. If you have nine letters, numbers and a symbol it will take 44 thousand years for the computer to crack your password (for more information about password security view following infographics). For example, Wildatheart84.

6. Check your Browser

An easy method of protecting yourself when shopping online is to look at a picture in the window of your browser that either denotes a closed lock or an unbroken key. They are both showing that the security functions are active. If the key is broken or the lock is open, this indicates the opposite. In this case, look at the website address on the page that requests your personal information for payment. Determine whether it states “http” or “https”. Various websites inform with the words “Secure Sockets Laye” (SSL), or state that you are accessing a secure area.

7. Escrow transaction

If a situation arises where you are being directed towards a particular escrow company regarding a transaction then raise your awareness factor, as it could be part of an operating scam. Either you insist on using an escrow company of your choosing, or conduct your own check of their referred company with the state regulators.

8. Smart-phones and coupons

It is a convenient and easy function to redeem coupons and compare prices in store with a Smart-phone. However, you should check the degree of access to your phone that is required by sellers before you download the shopping apps. Determine those that require less permission as this prevents a wide access to your personal information, including your contact list from another party.

9. Hackers and debit cards

Should a hacker gain possession of information relating to your debit card and conducts an attack on your bank account, then this misuse must be reported to your bank within two (2) days. This action would enable you to receive similar $50 limited liability as with a credit card. If that two days deadline is missed, but a report is made within sixty (60) days, then you could face liability of up to $500. However, keep in mind that after the expiry of sixty (60) days, you face unlimited liability.

10. Online shopping and Social networks

A question you should ask before shopping online with an undetermined website is whether the store goes beyond its online frontage, by extensions to Facebook or Twitter! These types of sites are a significant method of gaining traffic volume and legitimate shops would want visibility on this media. Therefore, this is an established check of stores that you may consider dubious for your online shopping experience.

Image courtesy of  renjith krishnan/

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