Peak IT News

How to stay safe while online shopping

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year yet again! This is so exciting and people are putting their Christmas trees up, decorations in their yard, and preparing to give gifts to those closest to them. Crowded stores and shopping malls are starting to become more obscure when shopping for people in your life because online shopping is so convenient. Why leave your home when you can get everything from the comfort of your own home? Online shopping is so popular today, especially with the rise of the covid-19 pandemic and people trying to limit contact as much as possible. With more and more online transactions being made there are going to be more and more attempts made to breach your accounts for  your personal or financial information. Today, we are going to give you some tips on how to stay safe while shopping online. 

Strong Passwords 

This is something that we will always advise no matter what the account. A strong password is the most surefire way to avoid a cyber attack because it is so much more difficult to get into an account with a secure password. Password managers and two factor authentication are two other ways to lock down your account to go along with your strong password. One thing that we recommend is a “passphrase”. This is abbreviating a phrase that you typically use or will remember and using a combination of unique characters to disguise it. 

Check for the Lock

If the website you are shopping on isn’t an amazon, ebay, walmart, or any other well known and trusted company then it is always best to check for the lock icon next to the URL on the webpage. If this icon is not there then that website shouldn’t be trusted or you may need to do some research about how trustworthy the site is. 

A Deal Too Good to be True

This one should be common sense, but we get some caught up in thinking “this is too good to pass up on”. These “great deals” can pop up on fake websites disguised as something you would typically trust, in text messages from unfamiliar numbers, and in sketchy emails. Be aware of the “deal of a lifetime” and check for the lock icon again. 

Reputation 

Sticking to websites like we already mentioned (amazon, Walmart, eBay, and others) is always a good idea. They will typically carry most of what you are looking for and their reputation carries weight. 

Credit over Debit

Using a credit card when checking out online is always the best idea. Even trusted websites get breached from time to time and your security measures might not catch the intruder in time. Using a credit card gives you a few advantages. The first advantage is that if anything were to be breached the hacker wouldn’t have direct access to your bank accounts and the information tied to it. Most credit card companies also offer a 0% liability for fraud so you may be annoyed at having to order a new credit card, but it won’t come at any cost to you.

If you follow these 5 steps you should always stay safe and secure while shopping online!