Cybersecurity experts share 10 tips for safe online shopping

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People connected to the social media network. — © Digital Journal

The busiest time of year for shopping is approaching and consumers will be looking for new deals. Whatever it is important to stay safe from hackers and scammers, especially considering the level of activity that tries to appeal to online shoppers.

Online security expert Chris Bluvshtein at VPNOverview.com has provided digital journal with top ten tips for keeping consumers safe when shopping online during the holiday season. The advice is:

Stick to sites you know

You might be tempted by a Google link that promises a great deal, but before you click, look at the name. If it’s something you don’t recognize, don’t go there. Hackers can use names similar to well-known brands to trick you into giving up your information. So make sure the site is the one you know. Google will also tell you if you’ve visited the site before, so it’s worth taking the time to look up those details.

Check the URL bar

Every website should have a valid security certificate, which you can identify by the little padlock icon next to the URL. If a website doesn’t have any of these, don’t provide your bank details or valuable information.

Check your bank statements

You may not even realize your data is being stolen until it’s too late, but making a habit of checking your account and statements can help you spot suspicious activity early on. Your bank has information about any deadlines for fraudulent purchases, so keep an eye on your bank statements.

Use a password manager

The most secure thing you can do is use a unique, random password for all your accounts. But instead of writing these down on sticky notes or in notebooks, use a password manager to keep them all in one place. Password managers lock your information behind a master password, and many of them automatically fill in website logins for you to protect against keylogger attacks.

Don’t shop on public WiFi

You might be tempted to jump to your favorite shopping site while sipping coffee at your local coffee shop, but this public Wi-Fi connection is extremely dangerous to use. Public WiFi rarely has security protocols like passwords, and hackers can piggyback and steal unsecured banking credentials and sensitive information without you knowing.

Use mobile payments

Apps like Apple Pay and Google Pay can protect your banking information. If a site accepts them, it’s best to use them instead of your debit card.

Use a credit card

If something is of high value, don’t use your debit card to pay for it. Consumer law in the UK means you can get refunds or get your money back if your card is stolen. Credit cards also have more protection than debit cards.

Set up a temporary bank account

By opening an online-only bank account like Revolut or Monzo, you can control the amount of money you have access to with transfers from your usual bank account. That way, even if your data is compromised, the hacker can’t touch your real bank account.

Use a VPN

A VPN protects your data from prying eyes. Everything you send is encrypted, so even if a hacker can see you on a network, they can’t access your sensitive information. VPNs connect you to a remote server and hide your IP address. Using a VPN along with one of our other tips can make your online shopping super safe.

If it seems too good to be true, it probably is

Be careful with ads for amazing deals. You may never receive the item or there may be hidden dangers. This old adage still applies to online shopping.

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