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General online safety:

  1. Reading terms and conditions when you’re using online shopping is a good start to keeping your precious information. 
  2. Using familiar websites that starts with “https://...” instead of “http://...” means that the website you are using is secure. Nowadays places like Google Chrome will flag pages that aren’t. 
  3. The secure websites will have a padlock icon on the top left hand corner to ensure that the website and your information is in safe hands. If you click the padlock symbol, you’ll be able to see information on the site certificate and see who registered the website. If you get a warning about a certificate, make sure you stay well away from that site. 
  4. Ensuring the actual shop is real is also really important. An easy way of doing that is to check if they have contact details, an address, and even a valid phone number. 
  5. Stick to known Wi-Fi networks. Don’t use public Wi-Fi in cafés to make online transactions.
  6. Reading the fine print and the return policies can be a drag and a tad mundane but it could really save you in the long run, it will inform you what to expect if the purchase doesn’t go quite as planned. This normally requires you to tick a box that you agree with the website’s terms and conditions, so get reading.
  7. Another way of tightening things up is having an antivirus software constantly running while you’re using your computer. Make sure you always download the latest software updates to stay one step ahead. This will ensure that you don’t have any unwanted people looking into your information, hacking your account, or trying to send you viruses, because they are always out there, looking for the sloppy ones.

On-site purchase safety: 

Once you’ve decided what websites are secure and you trust, there are measures that you can take to be even safer. 
  1. Using a credit card or a pre -paid internet card is much more secure than paying with a debit card, which is directly connected to your bank account.
  2. Paying with a credit card that has a 3D secure feature (if possible) is recommended, this will insure that your information and transactions are safe. 
  3. Watch out for websites that ask you for too much information. No online shopping website requires your social security number, your birth date, PIN, or online banking password. Share as little personal data as possible, keep in mind that you only need to fill out the required fields. 
  4. Upon checkout you will usually be asked for a password before you make the online payment, this is to keep your credentials private. Make sure that your password is as complex as possible with a variety of capital letters, numbers, and symbols. Changing your password and using different passwords for different sites is a technique that makes your security even more thorough.

After-purchase safety, now that you’ve made the transaction you can:

  1. Check in with your bank that the charges are accurate and correspond to the items that you bought, making sure that they didn’t over charge you or put any hidden charges. Don’t wait for the end of the month until your bill comes in, check it regularly to stay up to date and make sure there isn’t any fraudulent behavior going on. 

  2. Logging out of sites and making sure that your details aren’t autosaved by them is much safer, it would be better to re-enter your card details every time you make a purchase.

 

    If you ever have any questions, concerns, or suspicions, inform your bank immediately and they will be able to block your card, keep everything safe and keep any unwanted transactions from getting through. If you follow all these steps you should never have to worry about your online safety. Because at the end of the day, we take measures for our personal and physical safety, why not take the same measures for our online presence?

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