secure online shopping

With our busy lives it becomes exhausting to wait in long queues, finding a place to park and dragging your trolley or shopping cart to your desired aisles. The internet with its many benefits has made shopping very convenient. The growth of online shopping stores have proved that people are now more comfortable in shopping online rather than going to their local stores. The reason being: ease of getting a variety of products in just some clicks, easy payment methods, user-friendly websites, bargains and sales and gift card offers, convenient return policies and steady shipping and delivery.

Thus, Online buying and selling has grown rapidly throughout the world. As indicated by Forrester Research, in U.S alone online sales are expected to increase to $48.7 billion, in the year 2014. People now are looking to buy almost everything online, from clothing, computers, electronic appliances, cosmetics to household goods.

This exponential growth in the e-commerce industry proves that people trust online stores and are comfortable shopping through them but like every industry online shopping has its own hidden cons. According to the IID e-crime report for the first quarter of 2014: 31 % increase in phishing has been seen as compared to the previous quarter of 2013. The banking accounted for an increase of 36% phishes over all industries.

The internet crooks try to impersonate real businesses to make them look trustworthy. This however, does not mean you should stop buying online. With some precautions and care you can enjoy the experience of online shopping without ever being tricked. Have a look at some of these tips, every online buyer should consider to experience a secure purchase.

1. Don’t trust a website that looks “phishy”
When you buy anything, be it online or from a local retail store, you look for names you trust , Similarly, in online shopping you should consider buying from stores you’ve shopped before or stores you know about. If an e-store asks for too much of information, chances are this may be a fraud and an attempt of phishing. Don’t open websites that do not look secure or have low resolution images. Even clicking a link on such sites ca lead you trouble. An authentic and genuine e-store will have a proper layout and a complete website, with all the necessary information available for the users. For example, online clothing stores like ASOS, Sophie & Trey or complete stores like E-bay and Amazon have are trustworthy names with authentic websites.

2. Double check
Sometimes misspells and different top level domains can lead you to fake websites. It is always good choice to double check for spelling and URLs. Your auto search options can sometimes make you click a suggested website which can be spoofed. Make sure to check the check the top level domain of the URL you’ve typed in the address bar, small difference of .com and .net ca take you to a different website.

3. Is it encrypted?
Websites without a secure socket layer commonly known as SSL should never be trusted. When you’re giving out information check for a lock mark on the side of your address bar. If you have an Internet security, antivirus like Norton installed on your computer then it will also show a trust mark, indicating the site is verified and can be trusted. Another easy way to check for a websites encryption is look for the URL; a trusted and Secure URL starts with “HTTPS://” rather than just “HTTP://”

4. A Protected network protects you
For any online purchase it is highly recommended to use a secure wireless network. Hackers and phishers might access your computers through an unsecure wireless connection and may pose a security breach to your personal information or bank account details. It is always smart to stay a step ahead from the hackers, therefore keep your computer protected with an antivirus software like McAfee or Avast. These soft wares will keep your computer protected from a possible virus or malware, spywares or other threats.

5. Don’t give out all your information
Usually authentic and legit online stores don’t ask for unnecessary information, like your social security number or your birthday. If a store asks for more than usual then this is not the store where you should be buying things at. They more they know, the more likely you are to suffer.

6. Never trust Spam
There’s a reason such emails are called spam, you should never trust them—It is more like: trusting spam (most of the times) brings bad luck. Do not open links, offers, and discount or gift cards advertised in spam emails. Purchasing from a website that appeared in a spam email can get you in trouble.

7. No shopping from Public Computers
Using a public computer to shop online is like saving your personal information on that computer, which might then be used by a hacker or a crook. Computers save information, in the form of a “cache.” If you’re in a rush and forget to erase your browsing history and your login information the this will give free access to anyone who uses that computer.

These easy tips will make your shopping experience more secure and fun.

Quick Tip: Make sure you keep a check on your credit or debit cards or bank account statement to keep a check on any suspicious charges or withdrawals.

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