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June 7, 2016

How to Keep Your Online Shopping Safe

Image courtesy of (Stuart Miles) /

We all love shopping online. And why shouldn’t we? There are so many great deals, a massive selection and it makes everything so much easier. Unfortunately, there is always concern about the security of our information and our payments.

Worry not, though. Here are a few ways you can make your online shopping experience even more secure:

1. Use Only Secure Websites

A good first step to be taken when doing your online shopping would be to check the address bar on your browser. Take a look at the start of the website’s URL and ensure it reads HTTPS:// instead of just HTTP://. You would also see a padlock icon appear on your browser. This would mean that there is an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption installed on the site. Remember, this is just a minimum requirement. Always recheck your balance via online banking if you have it available.

2. Use Familiar Websites

Never shop using a search engine. Search engines come up with thousands of results for queries and not all sites/results are secure. Search results can be rigged through paid advertising or simply through rearranged key words. Try using sites that are well known and have a good reputation. Amazon and eBay are a couple of examples. Most major international stores have official shopping sites of their own as well. Finally, there are industry/genre-specific sites known by those in the industry or genre. Be careful not to misspell the names of the sites or use the wrong domain (.net instead of .com) – that would not be best for your security.

3. Use Strong Passwords

Of course, this is basic for any online account you have. So let us not forget the basics, especially when it comes to protecting your credit/visa card information. Keep your password uncrackable. That means nothing about birthdays, your partner, your parents or your children. Let’s face it, those are the obvious ones. The only one that should know your password is yourself; so either use something only you could figure out or make it a random set of characters that you remember. Another thing you could do is constantly change your passwords, just to be sure. Again, the same rules apply.

4. Shop Only on your Own Computer

It goes without saying that it is a bad idea to use a public computer to make purchases. If you are caught in a situation where you have no choice, use “incognito” or “in-private” browsing so that none of your information or browsing history is left on the computer. Also, be sure to log out of all your accounts to be safe and make sure no one is peaking over your shoulder (even if you’re using your own computer).

5. If it Seems too Good to be True, it Probably Is

We’ve all heard of Internet scams, especially during the holiday season. You’ll usually see these shared through various social media platforms or occasionally via text message. Do yourself a favor; don’t click on the link. If you’re being offered two brand new iPhones for the price of one on a random Facebook message or pop-up add, it’s probably just a ploy to get your credit/visa debit card information. A little skepticism is best these cases.


Article by Dinesh Jebamani, who can be contacted at