E-commerce is a huge industry, and it’s only getting bigger. You can purchase a piano or import a vintage doll collection in your pajamas. Still, while the convenience of online shopping is undeniable, it also comes with risks. From account takeovers to identity theft, there are multiple reasons to pay attention to your financial security while shopping online.
Here are some tips for staying safe.
Use a VPN
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is software that encrypts your online activity and hides your IP address. This makes it harder for hackers to track you, as well as prevents websites from collecting information about you.
Imagine you’re buying shoes online but don’t want the website to remember your details. A VPN will hide your IP address, making it difficult for the store to gather website cookies that could be sold unethically. Additionally, a VPN can block ads that contain malware or viruses which could compromise your financial security. This can be especially useful if you shop from an unknown website or use public Wi-Fi.
Use a Secure Browser
Secure browsers are designed to protect your online activity, making it trickier for hackers to access your information. These secure browsers offer features like anti-tracking, anti-malware protection, data encryption, and more. For example, they can detect malicious websites with fake URLs so you don’t become a victim of phishing scams.
Most major web browsers offer some sort of security feature, such as Google Chrome’s Safe Browsing. There are also more robust secure browsers that prioritize privacy and security, like Tor Browser or Brave.
Use Credit Cards Over Debit Cards
Using a credit card instead of a debit card when shopping online can provide extra financial security. Credit cards offer more protection against fraudulent purchases and account takeovers than debit cards. If your credit card is stolen, you may not be responsible for fraudulent charges made to the account – subject to appropriate laws.
When choosing a credit card, be sure to read the fine print. Look for features like fraud liability coverage, zero liability protection, and purchase protection. It’s also prudent to choose a card with an EMV chip that provides added security.
Change Your Passwords Regularly
You want to change your passwords regularly to get closer to the highest level of financial security. Be sure to use a unique password for each website or service you use and don’t store passwords on computers or smartphones if you can help it. Additionally, you should enable two-factor authentication (2FA) when available as an extra layer of security.
How to create a strong password? A good practice is to use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols for your passwords. Avoid using personal information like your name or birthdate as these can be easily guessed.
By following these tips, you’ll be better protecting your financial security while shopping online. Using a secure browser, opting for credit cards over debit cards, using a VPN, and changing your passwords regularly will more likely keep your information safe and secure. Stay vigilant and stay safe!