The scale and frequency with which we shop for goods and services online in 2022 are frankly incredible. As a society, we’ve gone from doing little or none of our purchasing via the web to conducting over 50% of our interaction via our phones, devices, and computers.
This gear change is definitely progress, but it does come with some concerns and issues that can’t be ignored. Staying safe online may well be as hard as it’s ever been, but the tools and collective knowledge to help you are also within easy reach.
Here are steps, some simple and others more complex, to keep you from becoming the latest victim of online scams and their fraudulent activity.
Read the Reviews
Perhaps the easiest and quickest way to make sure that the site you are visiting (and potentially purchasing products at) is to read online reviews. You can either do this research off our own back or take advantage of review sites like Top 10; either way, the intention here is to check out just how reliable, reputable, and effective the relevant site is.
You can see what users’ main complaints with a particular site or service are. If these are only moderate concerns, such as the occasional late delivery of items, then you might deem these to be issues that can be excused.
However, if you read that orders were not received or fraudulent activity of some sort has occurred, you’ll then know to steer clear and move on to another possible provider. A good rule of thumb is to stick with sites that have a great many reviews, as those with only a few mentions may be bogus or just very new and, therefore, not necessarily ones you want to take a risk with.
Stick With What You Know
If you have good experiences with a particular service or site, then you should look to stick with what you know. Similarly, if the site or portal is an online service that is connected to a well-known store or outlet, that too might help you to avoid any unsafe online shopping practices.
If It’s Too Good to be True, It’s More Than Likely Not Legit
Avoid sites that make promises and offer deals that seem too good to be true. Often they may just be scams or, at best, just promises that come with a catch. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, and in the internet age, that adage has never been so apt.
Do Not Respond to Unsolicited Messages and Emails
A common method used by online scammers comes in the form of unsolicited messages and emails that offer you deals and services that you never requested. It’s crucial you do
When navigating the internet, there are some very basic ways to help you avoid significant security issues online. For instance, be sure that the URL bar contains the padlock symbol indicating security is in place to protect you. Additionally, avoid any site that has an HTTP prefix and stick with those that display HTTPS.
Never Share Personal Information
When shopping online, you need to avoid sharing personal information. Clearly, when setting up a relevant account, you might have to give some basic details such as your personal address and some credit card information. However, you should never give out info outside these cases and if you ever feel something doesn’t feel quite right, then close the browser immediately.
Use Anti-Virus Software
To help you avoid any potential malware issues or virus issues in general, make sure your device or computer has at least some level of essential anti-virus protection. Most of us have these, but occasionally we may forget to renew or update them, and that makes them less valuable; and as such, you should make sure you are up to date on this front.
Avoid Public Wi-Fi Channels and Consider Using a VPN
Issues can arise in relation to how you access the sites themselves. While you will do a lot of your purchasing from the comfort of your own home and your internet connection there, you might also access sites when on the move. Try to avoid this as much as you can, but if you are going to access public wi-fi, then you could invest in a VPN that helps to keep you safe from unencrypted channels.
Choose a Strong Password
This may seem like a basic rule to follow, but it’s a surprisingly important one. Having a solid password can be the difference when it comes to avoiding being hacked, and if you commonly use the same password for multiple accounts, then things can be even riskier.
With this in mind, it may be good to use a password manager for further protection, as having a variety of strong passwords is a crucial step to staying safe when shopping online.