|Online shopping has become one of the most convenient ways to get
goods from the comfort of your home without dealing with crowds, parking
lots, and traffic. You can sit on your couch with your phone and make a
purchase in minutes with your WiFi connection (read also: This
experiment shows how dangerous it is to use public WiFi). The Internet
is a great place to snag deals on hot items you’ve been waiting to buy,
but finding a good deal isn’t the only thing you should concern yourself
with. Many consumers overlook the safety and security aspects of online
shopping. If you’re not careful, your personal information could end up
compromised. Follow these security and safety tips to keep your
information safe while you get those deals.
How Hackers Intercept Personal Information
Hackers use numerous fraudulent methods to trick shoppers into giving
their personal information. These are the most common methods hackers
Numerous websites on the Internet have malware, which can affect your
system if you don’t have safeguards installed such as an anti-virus
program with malware and spyware protection. These websites are
typically linked to advertisements. Once you click the advertisement or
image that is disguised as one, your browser takes you to the infected
Fake websites are one of the most common ways hackers intercept data.
They create websites that look almost exactly like the original
retailer, but the address isn’t the same. Consumers think that they’re
buying something from the company, but they never receive their order
and the hackers have the payment information.
Ways to Keep Your Information Safe
Information is key to prevent your information from being stolen. Follow these tips to protect yourself on your WiFi network.
Buy from Well-Established Sites and Retailers
Only purchase goods from websites and companies that you know are
legitimate. If you’re unsure about a company’s reputation, punch it into
a search engine to see if other shoppers have had positive experiences.
If a deal seems way too good to be true, it might be a scam. If you
click a link and it immediately asks for personal information such as
your name, address, social security number or bank account information,
it’s probably fake. Never make online purchases from unsecured wi-fi
networks, such as those at coffee shops and restaurants.
Use Encrypted Sites
A “lock” symbol or the presence of “HTTPS” instead of “HTTP” in the
address bar shows that the information being transmitted is secure. The
website encrypts the data you input before it completes the purchase,
making it less likely that hackers will intercept your information.
Utilize a VPN
A VPN, or virtual private network,
is another way to keep your information safe. Its purpose is to keep
your Internet connection secure to prevent anything you send or receive
from falling into the wrong hands. A special VPN
client on your computer connects to a server over your wi-fi or
hardwired Internet connection. You log in with your name and password
and the connection is verified. A virtual private network is a simple,
yet effective safeguard to add an extra layer of security to your
What to do if Your Information is Compromised
No matter how hard you try sometimes you can’t prevent fraud. There are
actions you can take to minimize the impact and resolve the issue as
quickly as possible.
• Cancel the compromised credit card and contact your financial institution to resolve fraudulent charges
• Alert the store to the activity. They might not be aware of the security flaw.
Enjoy the comfort of shopping online, but don’t forget to stay safe
while doing it. You’ll save yourself the hassle of dealing with fraud,
canceling credit cards, and disputing unauthorized transactions.