How to Stay Secure When Shopping on the Internet

Shopping on the Internet is a phenomenon that has taken off in the last few years. It provides convenience along with the ability to save time. It also gives you access to shops and merchandise you might never otherwise have.

Every time you enter private information such as your credit card details online, there are inherent risks involved.

Here are some steps to take to stay secure when shopping on the Internet.

Use trusted websites to help ensure secure online shopping. Have you ever heard of this site previously? Do you know anyone who has? Do they have a phone number to contact them and if so does it work and does it get answered? Do some homework and check out the website. Every legitimate website should have a real address and telephone number that is accessible. Always read the terms of service and their Privacy Statement. You don’t want them to give or sell your information to other companies. This can lead to spam and unwanted advertisement and solicitations. Look at the URL address bar and see if it has https: in front of the address or if it is just HTTP:. HTTPS: indicates it is a secure site. You may only find this on the pages where you enter your personal information, so don’t worry if you don’t see it on the catalog pages. Every online shopping website should have a secure online payment page on which to enter your credit card details. If they don’t, leave it and go shopping somewhere else. Online shopping websites often use ‘cookies’ which are stored on your computer. Then, every time you visit the site, their servers recognize your cookies and immediately know your shopping history and will display ads for products it thinks you are interested in. Now, in many cases, you won’t mind having your likes known to these sites but maybe you don’t. You can delete cookies from your computer and in fact, you should delete them regularly. Understand that removing cookies may prevent some activities, even purchases. This doesn’t have to be permanent as every time you go to a website the cookies are again put on your computer. It’s good practice to remove your cookies regularly. If you don’t already know how to learn how to delete cookies. Always use a credit card and not a debit card. Don’t write checks. There are several reasons for this.

  • There are more protections on credit cards than with other methods of payment. You have some recourse for poor products or services when using a credit card.
  • You aren’t entering banking information as to when using a debit card which links directly with an account.
  • If you pay by check, cash, or money order, there is no recourse action that can be made without a lot of difficulties

Get a special credit card that you only use for online shopping websites. It will be easier for you to keep track of purchases and also help you identify if there are fraudulent charges to your card. Then you can contact your issuing bank and action can be taken and your liability is greatly reduced. Some banks and financial institutions offer something called a virtual credit card. In this case, an actual physical card is not issued, but rather you are given a credit card number to use only on online transactions. This way the actual number to your real credit card is never given and therefore this is another way for safe online shopping. As with everything else, do your homework and see what the terms and conditions are and then you can enjoy secure shopping online.