For the first time in history, online shopping has outweighed shopping in stores this year: consumers are now making 51% of their shopping online, compared to 48% in 2015. When people start shopping for their Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, kicked off the Christmas shopping season, online hackers start their busy season, too.
Nearly half (48%) of consumers who shopped online in the past year have experienced payment fraud – which is nearly 80 million people. Many online shops and their clients are still not aware of simple safety protocols as we are entering deeper into all-digital age.
Online stores are huge sites of targeted attacks by hackers who try to steal users financial details and then use it for money laundering or other schemes. There have been too many cases where an innocent user was tricked into believing that they were entering the credit card details on a secure online store while in reality the user was providing their details to a hacker who can then use them to empty someone¹s entire life savings.
In order to stay safe when shopping online, there are simple tips everyone should know about best practices to help secure online experience, advises to follow these simple steps:
The first thing you should always see while making an online payment is whether the payment gateway has an https URL. The Œs¹ in the URL means that it is a secure protocol and your data is encrypted properly.
2. Be wary
Being vigilant can help you a lot in the task of shopping online securely. Whenever a website requests for more information than is usually required, like your Social Service number or any other kind of personal information, it usually spells fraud. You should always be cautious before giving your personal or financial details anywhere on the internet.
3. Stay away from public terminals
It cannot be stressed enough how dangerous it is to share your personal or financial information with any website or any person over the internet while using a public internet connection. Public WiFi networks are common hunting grounds for attackers and data snoopers who try to access your personal information and use it for their benefit on your expense. Since public networks have negligible security, you should try and avoid using them while making online payments.
4. Stronger Passwords
Perhaps the most basic requirement for any online account set-up is using strong passwords. Weak passwords make it simple for hackers to break into your account and cause severe damage. It’s always advised to change passwords in order to stay safe online, and that means having to use a unique password for each site or account.
The popularity of online shopping should not make consumers less cautious. The methods listed above can help anyone shop online securely. If something looks out of the ordinary and the deal looks too good to be true, it¹s important to be very careful before clicking on suggested links. Every year, big online shopping periods, like Black Friday, Cyber Monday or Christmas, make online fraudsters more innovative, but education about fraud prevention and simple precaution can keep all shoppers safe.
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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post as a part of a campaign I’m doing with Verizon FiOS in New York.