How to Shop Online Safely

Online shopping makes our lives easier. COVID-19 has caused its popularity to surge. These days, consumers prefer to do everything remotely. Unfortunately, this can put their data at risk. How can you protect yourself online?

Shopping through websites and apps is not just convenient. It allows you to spend less. Weekly ad platform offers hot deals from dozens of popular U.S. chains. Choose your store, look through the offers, and place an order! As the site connects you to official catalogs, it is safe. Here are seven vital precautions.

1. Avoid Public Wi-fi

It is tempting to use free Internet access. However, Wi-Fi has hidden dangers when it comes to data sharing. You may connect to an impostor network disguised as a legit access point. These Wi-Fi networks are set up for the purpose of data theft.

Third parties may also intercept data shared over free networks. Your emails, browsing history, or passwords could be targeted. So, avoid public Wi-Fi when you need to log in or enter payment details. If you absolutely have to use it, install a good VPN to encrypt your Internet session.

2. Choose Trusted Stores

Be careful with companies you have not used before. It is best to pick brands that have physical locations. Fraudsters may fabricate a store online to collect credit card details and personal information. Stick to trustworthy best grocery retailer stores and check customer reviews for new merchants.

3. Be Suspicious of Very Low Prices

If a price seems too good to be true, it is probably a bait. Free smartphones or rock-bottom deals could be a red flag. Fraudsters may create fake websites with jaw-dropping offers. These allow them to obtain your personal and financial data unless you are cautious.

4. Check Webpage Security

Always check that there is a lock icon next to the URL. It means that the page you are on is secure. This means of privacy protection is known as a “secure sockets layer.” Secure URLs also start with “https” instead of ”http.” Do not share any financial data with sites that do not stick to these standards. Otherwise, your passwords and sensitive information may be leaked to third parties.

5. Weed out Email Scams

Be wary of unsolicited emails that advertise special offers. Sometimes, they are used for phishing – stealing your personal data. An email may look like a genuine newsletter from a famous retailer. However, when you look closely, you will see that the email address of the sender is fishy. Stay safe: delete any emails you did not ask for.

6. Use a Credit Card

Credit card payments provide the best liability protection in case of fraud. In most cases, you have a $0 liability, which applies to both offline and online purchases. If your card is charged without your permission, the issuer will investigate. Meanwhile, you will not have to pay due to federal regulations.

In comparison, liability for unauthorized payments via debit card reaches $50. Importantly, this only applies if you report them within 2 business days. After 60 days, you may be denied any compensation. Thus, check your statements regularly.

7. Use a Virtual Credit Card

This is a digital version of your credit card, which is created specifically for online payments. The service is provided by most banks. They generate a special number linked to your real account. It is also possible to choose the expiry date.

Here is a tip for the extra-cautious. You may consider getting a new number for every purchase, or when switching retailers. Even if cyber criminals obtain the virtual number, they will be out of luck.

Report the Fraudster

Do you think you have fallen victim to Internet fraud? If you have suspicions after completing a purchase, notify the authorities. Begin by contacting your credit card company. Customers can also file complaints with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. It offers an identity recovery plan.

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