Online Shopping Safety
Are you going to shop online this year? There are many people who shop online and have done so for several years without incident. Considering all the internet transactions that take place, various studies suggest that the percentage of those that are fraudulent are actually very small. Nonetheless, it only takes one time to put your financial world into a downward spiral. Today, I hope to empower you with some knowledge of what you can do to reduce the likelihood of being a target of fraud while shopping online.
I’m going to give you tips on where to shop safely, what to look for, things about the technologies you’re going to use to do your shopping and finally tips on purchasing things on the internet. So, let’s get started! BODY: I. Where to shop safely. A. Stick to the retailers that you know. 1. Go directly to the retailer’s website. Avoid clicking on links from other pages that you think are going to take you there. 2. Beware of any misspellings on the domain address of the page. B. When in doubt check them out!! There are several ways that you can check this. . Is it a secure site? a. Sites are secure through a process of encryption, which is the technology that scrambles sensitive information (like your credit card number) so that only the designated merchant can read it. b. Look at the website’s URL and make sure that the address starts with HTTPS or that the padlock is closed on your browser when you are entering your financial information. 2. Additional security verifications are done through 3rd party companies. c. BBBOnline (Better Business Bureau Online) and Truste are most recognized and recommended. d.
Recognize that these are just logos and you need to go to the actual 3rd party’s site and verify. II. Next, let’s take a look at the device (i. e. computer, tablet, smart phone) you use to do your online shopping. A. Is it a personal or shared (meaning public) machine? You want to avoid shopping on a shared device because of the possible spyware that may be installed on it. 1. Shopping at home is the preferred way, although mobile shopping is becoming increasing popular due to smart phones. Be extra cautious in verifying the credibility of the site in this scenario. 2.
Make sure the Wi-Fi you are using is password protected and stick to familiar Wi-Fi hotspots (i. e. Starbucks). 3. Keep your browser up to date with the latest version. B. Make sure you have an internet security suite that includes an antivirus, firewall and antispyware installed and up to date with latest version. 1. Don’t click on links in emails as sometimes they have viruses attached to them. 2. Don’t click on unsolicited messages with . exe file extension unless it is from a trusted source. III. Now and most importantly, let’s talk about how we purchase things on the internet.
A. There are many ways to pay for our purchases. 1. First let’s talk about debit vs. credit cards. Credit cards are the safest way to purchase. This is because you have the option of doing charge backs if needed, whereas, with debit cards you don’t have that option. 2. You can also use gift cards. 3. Another trending way is called online only or virtual credit cards which is where a bank or credit card company gives you a credit card number that is not your real account number but is able to make online purchases. 4.
Alternately, if your still not sure or just don’t feel comfortable giving your credit information out, many online retailers have the option for you to order products online and pay for them over the phone. B. And finally, keep a paper trail. Print and save all your online transactions. Also, check your credit card statements as soon as you get them or check them online regularly as you practice your safe shopping habits. CONCLUSION: So, if you’re going to do some shopping online, remember, where to shop safely, use a secure site, computer and payment method and finally keep a good paper trail!