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6 Tips for Safe Online Shopping

Woman spending online credit card

Online shopping has made buying clothes, gadgets, and even consumer goods easier for most people. However, accompanying this significant benefit are forms of cyber attacks such as credit card fraud, stolen identities, malware, and ransomware. These alarming issues may raise some concerns, but you can keep your personal and financial information safe as long as you take the right steps when purchasing items and services at e-commerce stores.

Here are some tips to follow for a safe online shopping experience:

  1. Check for Secure Payment Methods

Hackers have sophisticated software to go around digital barriers that some websites use to protect their data. You should look for a shop that connects with legitimate payment gateway providers to ensure the security of your transaction and guarantee the safety of your financial information. These providers specialize in handling credit card payments, so it’s more seamless for customers to make authorized transactions through their computers or mobile devices to pay the sellers, even if they don’t know their bank’s identifier or BIC Codes.

Payment gateways are hosted on secure servers that encrypt your information. This means that, even if a hacker manages to get a hold of your full name and credit card number, they will have a difficult time making sense of it because data encryption scrambles letters and digits into an undecipherable mess.

These are the legit payment gateway providers used by most online sellers:

Making sure to check the payment methods for online shopping is absolutely essential for safe online shopping.

  1. Note the URL

A quick look at the address bar of the browser you’re using will let you know if a web page is secure or not. Never shop and put in your credit card information from websites that do not begin with “HTTPS” and do not show a lock icon before the uniform resource locator (URL). If you’re using Google Chrome, the browser also prevents you from accessing sites that they deem are not secure.

  1. Be Wary of Sharing Personal Details

Some online merchants ask for your birthday to send you exclusive coupons and deals on your birth month. However, you should be suspicious if they also ask for your social security number and other personal details, which typically have no bearing whatsoever on your purchase. It pays to be cautious when disclosing personal information because that data might get leaked.

  1. Shop on a Private Connection

You may be tempted to browse at online stores while connected to public Wi-Fi as you’re waiting for your order at a coffee shop. That’s not a good idea, though, because these networks utilize public airwaves and someone can intercept the information you send and receive through these public connections without difficulty. Shop at home as much as you can.

To increase security, you can also use a virtual private network (VPN). Here’s how it works:

Read Also: Why I Love To Buy From Amazon Even Though I’m In South Africa

  1. Review Your Bank Statements Regularly

Check your electronic statements regularly, not just at the end of the month. Be vigilant in reviewing the charges made on your account to make sure that nobody else is using it. Moreover, if you can, buy only using credit cards online so that you can report fraud charges in case another person gets a hold of your card details. If they’re able to acquire your debit card information, they can get direct access to your funds.

The government also issued the Fair Credit Billing Act to protect consumers against billing errors such as:

The act guarantees that you only pay as much as $50 for unauthorized charges. There are also other protections in place to defend consumers. You’ll need to be quick because you only have a month to inform the bank or card issuer of charges that you did not authorize.

  1. Install Antivirus Software

Often, scammers don’t just wait for you to give them your personal details. They also trap you through malware. That’s why it’s crucial that you have an antivirus program installed on your computer or mobile device to protect you against harmful software that might get inside your gadgets when visiting shady websites and accidentally clicking the buttons in them. Make sure to update it regularly as well.

You can also install a full-service security suite that will guard you against:


E-commerce has given consumers a smooth and way to buy goods and acquire services online. It comes with a lot of benefits, primarily convenience, because you get what you need delivered right at your doorstep at the click of a button. Be a smart online shopper by following the tips above to ensure the safety of your personal information.

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