How to Avoid Online Scams and Simple Rules to Follow In Order to Stay Safe When Internet Shopping
Last year online retail shopping sales were estimated to have reached a figure in excess of $5.7 trillion dollars and what is most striking about that number, apart from the fact it starts with a t and not a b, is that it’s a number that will more than likely be exceeded in 2023.
Online shopping is firmly part of our lives, and the genie is very much out of that bottle, for good or bad. The ways in which the act of shopping via the internet has revolutionized our lives are simply astounding, and for every negative associated with this activity, there are countless positives.
Rules to Follow to Stay Safe When Internet Shopping
The Agony and Ecstasy of Choice
Though it’s a world that many of us are now very much used to, shopping online can be something of a mind-blowingly overwhelming experience for some. The sheer weight of options can prove to be a real headache.
Effectively the online marketplace is next to limitless and infinite, and while that means you can find pretty much anything you would ever want, as well as items, services, and products you’ll never need in a million lifetimes, it also means you might not know where to turn next and where to shop from.
Lifestyle Adjustments that Are Hugely Beneficial
It’s not just the act of buying goods that has evolved; it’s also the procurement of services that has really taken off in the post-COVID world. The coronavirus pandemic led to restrictions that made our worlds smaller and our lives more insular.
Thankfully the internet aided our attempts to lead as normal a life as possible, and this led to many activities moving from face-to-face occurrences to ones that were conducted remotely.
Video conferencing services vastly improved, and now many of us conduct our work lives from home, and other services, such as seeing your local doctor or having a therapy session online, have become the norm.
Now that more and more of us are accessing, buying, and consuming products and services online, it is imperative that we do so in a way that is safe and secure. Every time you perform an action online, you run the risk of falling foul of scams and activities that could see your money, data, and even identity stolen.
Here are some basic steps to help key you one step ahead of the nefarious individuals and groups who are always on the look out for easy prey.
Do Your Research
Most of us are creatures of habit. We tend to do our online shopping at the same places, and often these will be the online asset associated with the offline stores and brands we know and love. There is some comfort in this, but we may, on occasion, be swayed and convinced to shop elsewhere, especially if there is a financially prudent reason for doing so.
Make use of great comparison websites like Top10.com, as they’ll give you crucial in-depth information about the brands and providers you may be about to sign-up or shop with. At such sites, you can garner critical information that can better inform your choices, and these are usually more reliable than random comments and suggestions you might stumble upon online or perhaps via social media channels.
In many ways, this is even more important when it comes to services you access online, such as medical checks and therapy sessions, where you need to know that you are communicating with dedicated professionals.
Update Your Browser and Get the Latest Anti-Virus Software
In order to make sure your shopping experience is as safe as possible, it’s vital, especially if you use a desktop to make your purchases, to make sure all the tools you have at your disposal are valid and in operation.
So, for instance, update your browser as many scams work off hacking your browser and recording your activity, and stealing your information. If you make sure your browser is up to date, it’s less likely that they’ll be able to do so.
Additionally, make sure your anti-virus software is installed and running. Many of us have this level of security, or at least we think we do. Then we find out to our cost that it expired months ago or isn’t turned on.
Set New Passwords Regularly
Password hacks are common, and if you use the same password across the board, you are just asking for trouble. Imagine, for instance, a website has its integrity breached, and key data has been farmed; what scammers then do is use this information and relay it to other well-known sites, from banking apps to popular online stores like Amazon, etc.
Therefore if you use the same information everywhere, you are ripe for the picking. Use different passwords and change them regularly, and not just when the site’s themselves advise you to do so. If remembering your details is a problem, and it is for many of us, consider the use of a password manager device.
Stick to Secure Internet Connections
If you shop online, try to avoid doing so in unfamiliar surroundings. Preferably do so only from home and from one device. If you are online and using a wi-fi connection, at a Starbucks, for instance, then you are prone to attacks. Avoid this by either refraining from using public wi-fi all together or by accessing them only while using a VPN.
Try to only use one desktop service to enter your relevant accounts; that way, you are reducing the risk.