How to Stay Safe When Shopping Online

With cybercrime a reality, it’s not surprising that shoppers feel jittery when sharing their personal and financial information online. While e-commerce security has advanced, so have the techniques criminals use to raid your bank accounts. So, when you get a bizarre request for a one-time password on your cellphone for a transaction at an overseas crocodile leather clothing store you’ve never heard of and wouldn’t dream of browsing, you can breathe a sigh of relief and thank extra authentication technology this time. Still, you feel shaken and want to brush up on the rules of safe and secure online shopping, how to shop online safely and how to stay safe when shopping online. 

Most reputable online shopping sites have built in website, payment and data security. This could be through 3D security, where a shopper is directed to their bank for authentication and SSL protocol (or secure sockets layer). The HTTPS in the address bar with a little ‘lock’ is a sure sign that your connection is secure. But you can never be too educated on how to shop online safely, particularly since the e-commerce market is estimated to grow in leaps and bounds.

Indeed, there are a myriad reasons why shopping online is beneficial. On many e-commerce shopping sites, you have a wide variety of options to choose from and are able to read customer reviews of the particular product or service you’re keen to buy.

You don’t have the hassle of finding and paying for parking in a shopping complex that may overwhelm your frazzled senses; now you have the option of getting your purchase delivered to your door! Best of all, you can choose and have gifts delivered to your family and friends easier and cheaper than ever before. Do you want to buy your aunt a beautiful bracelet, but she lives in Cape Town and you’re up in the Free State on a cherry farm? No problem! Your chosen e-commerce shop has a solution for you!

Before you jump right in, remember your personal and financial information is the platinum and gold that the thieves are after. These should be guarded by your metaphorical barbed wire. Here are some tips to master the art of safe and secure online shopping by knowing how to protect your information and transactions while enjoying the convenience of shopping online.

Sign up now, shop securely and pay later, all interest free, at our range of participating Payflex stores.

How to Stay Safe When Shopping Online

  1. Create a strong password 

That complex number and word soup swilling in your mind? A strong password is key to safe and secure online shopping. The trick is to use a mixture of letters, numbers and symbols (where appropriate) and to avoid passwords that could be hacked, such as your children’s names, or your birthday. The greatest skill is remembering your creation!

Understanding password managers and saved passwords should be somewhere at the top of your “how to stay safe when shopping online” list.  If you decide to save your passwords for automatic login, ensure that the so-called “master” password can only be accessed with two-factor authentification and that there are a few security layers on your account. Here is some guidance about using the best password managers.

2.  Shop from a trusted website

The scammers trying to emulate well-known online brands have a few tricks up their sleeves. Look out for misspellings and badly-written content. A top tip to stay safe when shopping online is to use common sense with the domain name. If it looks ‘off’, investigate further.

3. Don’t be scammed!

Fraudsters are tech savvy and are good at mimicking websites. The so-called links they provide seem legit. But on closer look, the website you’ve been redirected to seems odd. Safe and secure online shopping rules include never sharing your personal information such as your card number and expiry date. It’s highly unlikely these will be asked of you through an email link or over the phone.   Here are more ways to stay safe online.

4. Use two-factor authentification

In your security settings on your most-used accounts (Facebook, Gmail, Microsoft, Apple, your banking app) there is usually an option to activate two-factor authentification. Do that now. Often this is mandatory when signing up for new accounts.

5. Use a reliable VPN service

Virtual private networks (VPNs) are powerful online security tools to protect consumer information against nefarious data miners. A VPN can be installed reputable software or a browser extension. To make the most of this innovation, it’s best to install it through a reputable provider. Here are a few tips on choosing the best VPN software.

6. Protect yourself against malware and cyber threats

Malware, or malicious software, is dizzying in its array. Viruses, spyware, worms… and many more. How to stay safe when shopping online requires being vigilant. If you receive a link to download a “picture” or “access to a prize”, be wary. Malware is especially spread through email.

Guard your finances, and your sanity through installing well-designed antivirus software and other protective tools.

7. Shop safely with Payflex

You may be bewildered by the best ways of how to shop online safely, but you need your wits about you.  Nothing is fool-proof of course. For seamless safe and secure online shopping, make sure you’re using a payment method that offers 100% protection of your data, like Payflex.

In addition to being safe, Payflex offers the convenience and ease of flexible payment solutions. Shop securely, shop now, pay later, all interest free, at our range of participating stores.