Online shopping is like the apple of Eden - hard to resist. The sheer pleasure and ease of it blinds us to the risks it presents. If we haven’t already bitten into it, we soon will. After all, 58% of Singaporeans already shop online at least once a month.
However, we need to ensure that the online shopping sites we visit are safe to use. Unsafe sites can cause damage in two ways:
- They can download malware onto your computer, which can wreak havoc
- They can allow hackers to steal your identity
Here are 4 simple yet effective precautions to take while shopping online:
Hackers and swindlers are adept at finding loopholes in our computers or security flaws in the websites that we visit. Good anti-malware software can protect us from external attacks. Don’t forget to keep it frequently updated. It’s best to allow automatic updates, so that even if we forget, the PC doesn’t.
Optimise Brower Security Settings
We don’t often pay attention to browser security on our computers. Malware programs are designed to take advantage of this weakness. So, remember to spend a couple of minutes to optimise the security settings on the browser. It will go a long way in protecting us from malicious attacks.
Look for the lock or Https://
Before we type in our credit card information, see if the shopping site is secure. One reliable sign is the ‘padlock icon’ or ‘unbroken key icon’ which may appear either at the top or bottom of your browser. The icon signifies that the website uses Encryption to safeguard our details from crooks. Another sign to watch for is the ‘Https:’ in the website’s url (instead of the more common ‘Http:’). The ‘s’ signifies ‘secure.’
Use credit cards not debit cards
Credit cards offer better protection that debit cards in two ways: (1) Websites that accept credit cards for payment go through a process of verification from providers like Visa, Mastercard or Maestro. (2) There’s a credit limit on the credit card. So even if our credit card data is stolen, our loss is limited. Stolen debit card data on the other hand, puts our entire savings at risk.
For added protection, you may also wish to insure yourself against online attacks. Find out how.