Crime is not going away. The market for online shopping keeps growing and more and more criminals are taking notice. We have to be as vigilant as ever when shopping online if we don’t want to fall victim to all the cyber-criminals out to cause mayhem and profit off of unwitting shoppers.
Here are a few precautions you can take in order to shop online and keep out of harm’s way:
- Educate yourself. Start surfing the net for news and trends surrounding cybercrime. The more you know about the latest cybercrime trends and safety measures, the better able you will be to protect yourself.
- Verify information requests. When you get an email from a company with which you are doing business and they are asking you for personal information, contact them directly from a different email or by phone (using official contact details that you have on file) and ask if they sent you the info request email. It may be a phishing email spoofing their company to get at your personal details.
- Be careful with WiFi. Anytime you use a public unsecured WiFi network, you risk exposing your personal details to third parties. The person sipping on that cinnamon latte in front of you at the coffee shop could be infiltrating your smartphone or laptop. It’s best to avoid using unsecured WiFi altogether.
- Buy from credible merchants/websites. Avoid buying from sites you know nothing about. If it’s a big company with lots of reviews, then they could be legitimate, but if you’ve never heard of the website or company before, and cannot find any customer reviews, just stay away for your own safety.
- Watch out for risky investment programs. If it sounds good to be true, it probably is. When you give your money to a program that “guarantees” a huge return on your investment, don’t expect to ever see that money again.
- Keep your software up-to-date. The same goes for your smartphone as it does for your laptop or desktop computer. Always make sure you’re protected from malware and other threats by making sure you have the latest version of your anti-virus software and always keeping your web browser up-to-date.
- Make sure transactions are secure. There are a couple ways to do this. On the transaction page, make sure you can see a little key or lock icon in your browser window, and that the web address starts with “https”. You can also transact through a payment processor like Payza – we use SSL encryption to keep your transactions 100% secure at all times.
To learn more about how to shop online safely, visit the Payza Security Center.