5 Tips for Safer Online Shopping

 

photo 1Who doesn’t love to shop online these days? It’s so convenient, with a world of products right at your fingertips, quick price comparisons. Shipping and handling is often free and even if it’s not, many times it’s worth the extra few dollars and offset by the fact you don’t have to waste time driving to the store, finding parking, dealing with crowds and long lines.

Lately though, every time you turn on the television these days you hear about another security breech and cases of internet fraud.  It’s particularly nerve racking when it’s often names of companies you often shop with like Target or brands you rely on to keep you safe and organized like LastPass. Yet shopping online is so easy and convenient, I’m not ready to throw in the towel yet. Here are 5 tips to shop safely.

  • Never shop and make purchases over FREE wi-fi. I depend on Verizon’s secure mobile network to protect my devices and while free wifi is becoming more and more available, I am more cautious about when I opt to use it.  Usually it’s only when my reception is certain areas is very weak.  With a more generous data plan, I worry less about my data usage and know when I choose to make purchases, they are safe and secure.
  • Always pay by credit card. You are protected by the law and liable only for $50 if your credit-card number is stolen and used. I also opt to use PayPal whenever available as it provides another layer of protection without having to supply my information directly to the sites. Shopping with big brands is great, but isn’t always the case.  There are many reputable smaller online businesses and when they use PayPal, I feel more secure with my purchase decision.
  • photo 3Do not store your credit card information on sites.  At this point I must have thousands of logins with sites I’ve purchased from.  While it’s great to create an account with the brand to store order history and warranty information, I never store my credit card information directly on the site. For many it’s a matter of convenience, but for safety, the extra minute it takes to get the card and enter the information makes me feel safe and secure that my card information isn’t sitting every where waiting to be stolen.
  • When you are at the checkout screen, make sure you are shopping on a secure site. Verify that the Web address begins with https:// and if a tiny locked padlock symbol appears at the bottom right of the checkout screen, or that there is a statement on the checkout screen stating that the checkout pages are secure. Click on the security technology company’s Website to verify that it is secure and safe.
  • Install comprehensive computer security software like Verizon Internet Security Suite Powered by McAfee which protects all your devices including smartphones and SmartTVs from online threats like viruses, spyware and malware. I love their web browser tool which warns me before I visit a suspicious site. They’ve got a variety of packages that suites everyone’s needs, so no matter what you do online on the fastest internet FiOS, you’ll always be covered.

{ disclosure:  I am a Verizon Lifestyle Ambassador and #LifeOnFiOS Ambassador.  I have been a long time FiOS customer, since the very first day it came into my neighborhood 6-7 years ago and have never turned back!  As always, all opinions expressed here are my very own! }