December is a great month for online shopping, with brand newsletters, tempting advertisements and numerous offers to catch your attention. Indeed, everyone is preparing Christmas presents from the comfort of home. But... is it really safe? Is it possible to shop on the Internet in complete confidentiality?
Of course, but you have to be vigilant!
By following a few safety tips, you'll be able to take full advantage of all these conveniences.
The sender of the e-mail: be sure of the source before opening an e-mail from an unknown source. Think before you click is the golden rule. If you receive an e-mail from an unknown source, don't open it. If it's legitimate, the sender will get back to you.
Links and attachments: don't click on suspicious links or attachments, as these are preferred means for cybercriminals to redirect your information away from the legitimate site. Remain vigilant and suspicious of these links, especially if they come from an e-mail of unknown origin.
Confidential information: never provide confidential information not required for your purchase. If a merchant asks you for more than the information required for the purchase (such as your first and last name, address, telephone and bank details), cancel your transaction. A social security number should never be required for an online purchase, just like your bank account number.
Passwords: use a separate, strong password for each site. This protects you against potential attacks on all your sites and data. This way, a cybercriminal won't be able to access ALL your accounts.
Site with secure connection: always choose a site offering a secure connection represented by a padlock and "https": the padlock at the top left of your browser indicates that the site is secure. What's more, the "https" confirms this security for worry-free browsing.
Bank details: avoid storing your bank details on merchant sites, as they don't always offer optimal security for storing your data. For added security, enter your details for each transaction.
Update: update your Web browser to apply important security patches, so you can shop more securely online.
Offers that are too good to be true: be skeptical of offers that are too tempting and prices too low, consult the opinions of other consumers, check the reputation of the site and the reviews provided. Ask questions if an offer seems too good to be true.
Don't forget :
In the event of an incident, contact your banking institution immediately. They will be able to guide and assist you in the event of a security breach. Also, when shopping online, check your bank statements regularly for any anomalies. And don't forget that a strong password and secure Wi-Fi access are the cornerstones of security!