These days a majority of transactions take place online. These days you can purchase anything on the internet; from everyday grocery items to even vehicles!
But as our dependency on the internet increases so do the security concerns that come with it. When you shop online you have to supply the website with your personal information. This opens you up to the risk of identity theft.
Identity theft is a very serious offence. Most countries around the world now have laws in place which aim at punishing identity thieves however the risk of identity theft still exists.
Here are 15 Tips Keep Your Identity Safe When Shopping Online:
- Trust Your Instinct
A lot of times the feeling that you have in the pit of your stomach about an online store is the one you should listen to. This is because at times an online store might just seem a little shady to you and it is better to be safe than sorry. This tip may seem obvious but we feel like it cannot be stressed enough hence it is number one in our 15 Tips Keep Your Identity Safe When Shopping Online.
- Shop On Your Computer
Unless you are shopping at a big well reputed e-commerce website do not shop on your mobile. This is because mobiles usually do not have anti-spyware software installed while most computers do. Hence, hackers will have an easier time hacking your defenseless mobile.
- Don’t Trust An Open Network
Number three of our 15 Tips Keep Your Identity Safe When Shopping Online is to not connect your phone or laptop to a public wireless internet network as a hacker could easily gain access to your device through the same network and steal your identity. So if you are at a café and thinking of doing a little online shopping on the complimentary Wi-Fi, think again!
- Use a VPN
If you must use a public WiFi then use a VPN. A VPN is an encrypted network which reroutes your data through another server. This is basically a way to protect yourself from hackers who might be using a public WiFi in search of those they can hack.
- Virtual Credit Card Number
Number 5 of our 15 Tips Keep Your Identity Safe When Shopping Online is to use a virtual credit card number issued from your bank. This number expires in a certain time period and you can decide on a maximum spending limit. This way you minimize the damages one can incur if you identity is stolen while shopping online.
- Secure Networks
To figure if a website is secure or not, just look at the website’s web address. The website should read as ‘https’ and not as ‘http’. If there is no s which follows the http, it is not secure and you should leave immediately.
- Password Changes
If you have accounts on major e-commerce websites which you regularly shop on, it is a good idea to regularly change passwords after the interval of a few months. This is because the website will already have your payment details and if a hacker gets hold of your account they can wreak a lot of damage.
Hence this brings us to number eight of our 15 Tips Keep Your Identity Safe When Shopping Online; which is to not trust every email you get. Sometimes a hacker might send you an email posing to be a genuine website only to entice you into giving them your payment details so they can steal your identity.
- Update Security
You need to make sure you update all the software in your computers that you use for online shopping. Update the firewall, the browser and the operating system whenever the software launches a new update. This is because the newer version has stronger security.
- Properly Discard Documents
At times people receive their online shopping order and discard the invoice which accompanies it. The invoice at times may have pertinent details about your payment information and hence if some goes through your trash and these documents get in the wrong hands, it could do a lot of damage.
- Fake Promotions
There has been a trend in recent years where fake accounts on Twitter or Facebook announce contests to win a popular product. The contest might require some personal details from you to enter. Be wary of these offers as it could easily be a hacker trying to access your personal information.
- Pay With Your Credit Card
While your debit card is directly link to your bank balance, your credit card is linked to the credit your bank provides you with. Usually in cases of identity theft in credit cards, the original card holder is not responsible to pay the bank the money that was spent by the identity thief.
When you get your credit card statements do not just throw them away without reading them. Cross-check every transaction to ensure you were the one who made it and not someone else who has been illegally using your account. Make this a regular habit and a tip you especially remember from these 15 Tips Keep Your Identity Safe When Shopping Online.
If you ever have a bad experience with any company or feel they are involved in suspicious activities report it to the local cyber crime division so they can investigate the matter further. The take away from these 15 Tips Keep Your Identity Safe When Shopping Online should be not to just keep yourself safe from identity theft but other users as well.
These are our 15 Tips Keep Your Identity Safe When Shopping Online. Are there any other tips which you personally use and feel should be mentioned in the article?