Online Christmas shopping allows you to avoid the crowds, the agitation, and the stress of shopping for presents at the mall. But online shopping also has its drawbacks, because it comes with certain security risks. To avoid any type of financial misfortune this Christmas, here is a brief tutorial on how to stay safe while shopping online.
Check for this security feature
Some online vendors are less safe to buy from than others. But how do you know which vendor you can trust? To start, you should be looking for a store that has an SSL Certification, which verifies that the online store is authentic, and that all communication between your computer and their network is secure. The connection between you and the vendor is usually the target for hackers.
An SSL Certification is indicated by a green lock symbol in the address bar, followed by the name of the company in some cases. Secure sites also begin their address with “https://” instead of simply “http://”. If you want to take it a step further, you can use a free tool from Norton. All you have to do is paste the URL into the tool and it will tell you the security status of the website.
Other security measures
There are also security measures that you can employ yourself. These are some general tips that will help you to stay safe this Christmas:
- If you receive an unexpected email from an unknown address, do not click on any of the links within it. It may be a phishing scam.
- Always make sure that you have the latest update for your internet browser. This way you avoid any security holes that may have been uncovered by bad actors.
- Before purchasing, make sure that you are on a secured website, using the techniques mentioned previously.
- Use a firewall and antivirus program, and make sure that they are always up to date.
- Keep a close eye on your financial account to ensure that you detect any unusual activity immediately. You might also want to sign up for email or text alert options if your institution offers them.
Shopping online is convenient and enjoyable, but it does require a degree of vigilance. As a rule of thumb, avoid any websites that do not have an SSL Certification because it can save you a lot of headache in the long run. Additionally, you can check out the Better Business Bureau to weed out poorly run businesses that might delay your order or deliver faulty products. It’s easy to shop safely online, as long as you’re willing to do a little extra browsing if you run into an unsecure website. No matter how good the offer or discount, it’s best to stay safe, and avoid any potential financial damage.
For more information on how to stay while shopping online or to sign up for a merchant account, please call (888) 924-2743 or go to Charge.com.