Online shopping is a multi-billion dollar industry that is too big to ignore. Like the Internet of the 90s, it is the next big milestone in technology that has become a steady presence in our daily lives.
From daily groceries to electronic appliances, why even online medical shopping has become the norm of the day. But, the question is, is shopping online secure?
According to Jumio, 51% of customers did not complete a purchase, because they were skeptical about entering their credit card details for an online purchase. Not everybody is a fan of online shopping.
In fact, there are a handful of dangers that makes people abstain from online shopping. Some such pressing reasons include:
- Face eCommerce websites that steal and sell personal information of customers
- Identity theft,
- Product or scams run by scrupulous vendors
- Hidden charges, taxes, duties, etc.
The list is endless and continues to grow as new varieties of online shopping scams as exposed on a daily basis.
So, coming to the point – How can one stay secure while shopping online? Here are some ways that will help you secure yourself while rolling on an online shopping spree.
- Stick to familiar websites
A known devil is better than an unknown angel, goes an old adage. The same rings true with online shopping too.
When in doubt, always head to a store where you have shopped before. An irresistible offer from a newly launched store might be luring, but, it is better not to part away with your confidential information with an unknown website.
- Look for the padlock symbol
The green padlock symbol is the best way to know whether you are dealing with a secure website. The green padlock symbol indicates that the website is secured with a SSL certificate.
It also means that the website has HTTPS encryption which insulates the flow of information between the web server and the browser. Similar to the padlock symbols, also look for trust seals on the website.
Trust seals like some shown above, or even other instil confidence in the minds of customers. They show that the payment process of the website is far from being intercepted by any means.
- Check for EV SSL certificate
A HTTPS certificate shows that you are dealing with a secure website. An Extended Validation SSL certificate proves that you are indeed dealing with the secure website that is actually owned and operated by the trusted entity.
To get an EV SSL certificate, it is essential to have domain control rights and need to submit organizational documents that can prove your legal, operational and physical existence. An EV SSL certificate is issued by a Certificate Authority after ensuring your organization credibility.
How to identify a EV SSL certificate?
EV SSL certificates can be identified with the following features:
- Website owners entity name in the address bar
- Green padlock symbol
- Green address bar with HTTPS prefix to the URL
- Organization details provided in the SSL certificate
A sample visual of a address bar secured by a EV SSL certificate is as below:
- Prefer credit cards over debit cards
Credit card payments provide you the option to deny payment to a charge. However, in the case of debit cards, the criminal who steals your card information has direct access to steal money from your account.
Secondly, credit cards have spending limits. The hacker cannot expend from the card beyond a limit. Also, some banks offer the facility of virtual credit card numbers that aid the purpose of one-time or limited instance online shopping. It is an ideal to keep your card information safe.
The same is not possible with debit cards of any kind, hence, it is recommended to use a credit card over debit card whenever possible.
- Change PINs or passwords frequently
2 out of 5 people get their accounts hacked, account credentials stolen or get notified or account compromise due to weak passwords. Sadly, one quarter of the world’s population is also estimated to be using the same weak password for multiple online accounts, including their primary email.
A password which has not been changed for over 3 months can be considered as weak. The key to remain secure while shopping online is to keep changing the passwords occasionally. Debit or credit card PINs must also be changed frequently to keep the security high at all times.
- Don’t fall for dodgy offers
Offers promising cash back, lottery wins, surprise gifts can actually turn out to be nasty links set up to steal your private information. The hackers of today are so adept at web designing and mobile app development that can build identical websites that look and function alike your favorite online store.
They use dodgy or unbelievable offers sent as emails or links to lure visitors into clicking their links. Once clicked, the user falls prey to the scam or several other forms of cyber attacks. The beat way to check if the offer is true is to visit the website directly and check its home page of offers section. Say NO to links and emails.
- Use closed networks over public Wifi
Public wifi spots are haven for hackers to steal user identities. Each time you send private information over a public Wifi you are taking the risk of losing it all. To be safe, always use a secured network. This could your home wifi, office LAN or somewhere else where you know the connection is secure and protected with a firewall.
These hacks will ensure that you stay safe and secure while buying your favorite articles from online stores. Additionally, you can also update your browser so that it runs the latest security patch that hackers cannot exploit or hack into.
To sum it up, staying secure while shopping online is in your hands. SSL certificates and antivirus programs can give a helping hand that will complement your efforts.
With heightened security, you will never have to worry about anything other than the lump sum shopping cart bill you will have to clear.
Megha Parikh is a digital marketing expert and has been journeying through the world of digital marketing for more than 7 years. She especially enjoys learning about social media marketing and conversion rate optimization while exploring her social and interpersonal skills.