In the USA alone, more than 50% of adults have been hacked by hackers with personal data compromised in one way or another. In 2015, we saw and heard about the massive cyber attacks coming from various countries with major corporations unwillingly becoming cyber victims of security breaches. We also heard about our government security systems also fall victim to the cyber criminals.
So, how can you be sure that your online shopping experiences are as safe as they can be?
The reality is, nothing in the cyber world is safe, especially when it comes to personal information that can be used by cyber criminals for their financial gains. But many of us that think otherwise tend to set our cyber security aside and pretend it is one of the most secure areas. So, we list the top ten tips to keeping and promoting a safer and more secure methods of cyber shopping for the 2016 year.
#1 - If the price is too good to be true, it probably is.
Last year, we saw more people getting ripped off than ever before with sellers creating fake websites to sell expensive brand names for fraction of the price. Many of these fake shopping websites setup images of popular products and link them to bogus web links or bogus check out links. Always think to yourself, if the price is too good to be true, than it probably is a scam.
#2 - When surfing and shopping on websites, make sure that the website is SSL encrypted.
To check this, look at the address field where you will see the website address called the URL. Most websites will enable SSL encryption during the checkout stage of your shopping experience. For example, whenever a user surfs a website, it is okay for the address to load without the SSL encryption. However, when you start to enter sensitive information, you need to ensure the URL on the top left has a LOCK symbol and/or stats with HTTPS://www.etc.....com. SSL encryption will make it more difficult for cyber criminals to grab your information as well as the scammer will not likely possess an SSL Certificate for their fake website as it will cost them money.
#3 - Never use public WI-FI to connect to a shopping site for purchase.
Hackers and scammers can hack into the public network to steal your personal information. Why should this matter? Well, would you go to a store and just give your credit card to someone to make a purchase? Likely not. WI-FI over public networks can be tremendously easy to hack into because these hackers know almost everyone at the venue will likely connect free of charge and that give them an opportunity. If you need to use a public network to shop, then try to minimize your risks by using a VPN (Virtual Privacy Network).
#4 - Shop on websites that offer a call number and/or contact addresses and other contact information.
Althogh this alone is not a 100% safe method, it does give the shoppers a sense of idea that you are able to contact the shopping website. Before you shop and if you are concerned, place a phone call to the shopping contact and ask for further information about the product or services being offered.
#5 - When in doubt, try making the purchase from a reputable shopping website by asking friends and relatives about the product you are about to purchase.
It is always better to be sfe than sorry. So ask around and see if they had any great expereince or if there is any website they recommend. You can also try to search Google or any other search engines using key phrases such as "abc shopping reviews" etc.