Tip 1 – Ensure that you’re buying from a real website. Fake sites are remarkably easy to create by the clever hacker and are designed to steal your transactions. Be wary of sites other than the big names. While smaller online shops are fine, just look into the type of security it’s using and do some research before purchasing.
Tip 2 – Don’t be fooled into rush buying something that’s at a ridiculously low price. If a site is selling an iPhone for £20, then it’s more than likely to be a ruse to lure you in and steal your money.
Tip 3 – Strange email addresses are something to look out for with suspect online shops. If the support email or contact information for the site is something like: email@example.com instead of firstname.lastname@example.org, then there’s most definitely something wrong.
Tip 4 – Remember to load up the online shop using HTTPS instead of HTTP. This will ensure that the transactions and data sent between you and it are encrypted to the highest possible levels. If possible, use a browser add-on such as HTTPS Everywhere.
Tip 5 – Tempting as it may be, don’t use a public Wi-Fi access point to conduct any online shopping. For one, you could be attached to an Evil Twin Wi-Fi point, where the hacker is filtering all information through their system and two, all your data can be intercepted and potentially read.
Tip 6 – Invest in one of the many third-party antivirus and malware suites, such as Bitdefender. These programs also offer extra security when shopping online and can help prevent any hacking or data interception from happening whilst the transactions are in progress. They can also check the site you’re buying from, too.
Tip 7 – Always keep an eye on your bank account and the transactions that go on after you’ve conducted online shopping. This will help you get an idea of what’s going on and should something suddenly crop up that looks suspicious, then you’re able to inform your bank before too much damage is done.
Tip 8 – Use a strong and unique password for all your shopping sites. Occasionally, although not often, websites can be hacked and the database of users is leaked. If your password is strong enough, it will stand up to any decryption methods.
Tip 9 – If possible, always use an online shop’s dedicated app rather than the standard website. Websites can be compromised, however apps from iTunes and the Windows Store, for example, can’t be altered by a third-party.
Tip 10 – If possible use PayPal or a Credit Card as opposed to a Debit Card. Credit cards have an extra layer of protection and legal standing than that of a debit card; PayPal features many protection elements in its accounts too.