Online Safety Tips for Internet Shopping

Online Safety Tips for Internet Shopping bb3 Nov 5, 2014

By Staff Writer

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We’ve all been there: One minute you’re browsing online and the next minute you have a full shopping cart. In fact, in a one-year period, Canadians placed nearly 114 million orders online, according to Statistics Canada.

Online Safety Tips for Internet Shopping

While convenient, cyber shopping demands an added element of online safety. Before you enter your billing information, make sure your transaction is secure. How do you do that? Closely evaluate the following points of purchase:

The Site

  • A site’s checkout URL should start with “https://.” The “s” indicates that the site encrypts, or helps protect, your information before transmitting it.
  • Read the site’s privacy policy — don’t just click “agree.” A privacy policy tells you what personal information the site keeps and why.
  • If you’re buying from an individual’s shop, do some preliminary research. Confirm the physical address and telephone number of the business. If the vendor asks you to send your payment information through email, skip that purchase — email isn’t secure.

This helpful list offers more tips for safe online shopping.

Your Computer

  • Protect your computer with a firewall and anti-virus or anti-spyware software. If you inadvertently open a fraudulent email or click a suspicious link, these can help safeguard the information on your computer.
  • Avoid using the same password for multiple accounts.
  • Match the complexity of a password with the importance of the information stored in the corresponding account. For example: Ecommerce sites often save your credit card information and home address, so they require strong passwords.

Your Purchase

  • Only shop from secure Internet connections. Avoid making purchases when you’re using public or free Wi-Fi. The best place to shop is at home with a password-protected network.
  • Use a credit card for online purchases. If a hacker has your debit card information, they have a direct link to your bank account. Also never send cash to pay for an online purchase.

Track your purchases. Save payment confirmation and shipping emails, and check your credit card statement. Staying on top of this information will help you notice any errors or misconduct.