Top 5 tips for secure online shopping

Shopping online offers a lot of convenience, but it can result in an unexpected price: your sensitive information. Tom Merritt offers five tips to stay safe while shopping online.

Top 5 tips for secure online shopping
Shopping online offers a lot of convenience, but it can result in an unexpected price: your sensitive information. Tom Merritt offers five tips to stay safe while shopping online.

Online shopping … like so many other things in our lives – driving for example – it sounds dangerous when you think about it, and yet we always do it. But that is no reason not to be smart about it. Here are five tips to help you shop online.

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  1. To slow down. Do you know the site? Is the deal too good to be true? Don’t click on that tempting email link, deal or coupon. Breathe in and type in the actual store URL manually.
  2. Is the link safe? Look for the lock symbol that means it uses an encrypted connection. Even then, check again if the site you are on is the site you want to be on. More than a few sites use fake domains that look like the legitimate site with perhaps a spelling or added character. Often the site tries to look as close as possible to the original.
  3. Be careful with your info. Do not enter your data when using public WiFi. Use VPN if you have to shop in a hotel or airport.
  4. Withhold the information that you give sites. Maybe use a different email address to shop on sites that you care less about. Do not enter information unless absolutely necessary. And do not save any information on sites or at least do not save any payment information. Consider using a separate card or one-time use for online payments. Some people only use gift cards.
  5. Keep your software and operating system up-to-date. The store where you shop may not be the security threat – it may be the app or other malware that has entered your system. As my friend Bart always says: “Stay informed, so that you stay safe.”

These are just a few tips to keep you a bit safer, so don’t buy what you were looking for, not a nasty security surprise.

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