Why is safe online shopping a big deal at present?
The pandemic has forced a lot of US states to put down stay-at-home orders. This has forced people to find ways to purchase what they need while at home. Some are even stressed out and use online shopping as therapy. Though this is not advisable, it just goes to show how dependent people are with technology and online transactions.
The possibility of getting the virus whenever you step out makes you want to purchase as much as you can from your home. This includes buying essential needs like food to other items you might need at home. This dependence people have created towards online shopping has made life a lot easier. However, it also increases the chance of getting into debt.
How can online shopping lead to debt?
You might start to wonder how an innocent purchase online can lead to debt and how safe online shopping can keep your finances intact. Here are a few of the situations you might not be aware of when you start shopping online.
One of the reasons why you choose to shop online is the convenience it gives you. Rather than having to get out of the house, drive to the store, choose the item, line up, and get back home, you just use gadgets. You can even buy the things you need with a few swipes and taps on your phone. And with your credit card on hand, payment is a breeze.
The same convenience can lull you into a false sense of security and you do not notice you are spending more than what you budgeted for. You start buying items left and right even if you do not need them at the moment. Those items on sale start to intrigue you and you later find yourself putting them in your cart for check-out.
There are also times when you really go online to buy items you need at home. But later find out that you can get free shipping when you bundle a few more items in your cart, you start buying unnecessary items. You get the free shipping but you spent more than what you wanted. The amount you saved on shipping might be far less than what you added to your cart.
Using high-interest card
As you look at safe online shopping, using high-interest credit cards can also put you at a disadvantage. Once you decide to pay only the minimum or even if you miss a payment due date, your succeeding payments will be extremely high. This is because your lender will begin to add fees, charges, and high-interest on your account.
Careless online transactions
You might think that no one is really ever safe online when even big businesses get their systems hacked. Though that is true, you have to understand that you can drastically reduce the risk you take when making online transactions. For one, you need to make sure that you are visiting secured sites. It is also not a good idea to leave your credit card details saved in your computer. You always need to find a way to protect yourself while online.
How to protect yourself
Safe online shopping means identifying and following tries and tested ways to protect your online activity. Here are some of them you need to seriously consider when you are shopping online more often.
Regularly check your accounts
If you are frequently shopping online using your credit card, you need to make sure that you are regularly checking your monthly statement. The last thing you need at this time is ignoring your statements. This document gives you an overview of your financial activity using your cards, It makes it easy for you to monitor your purchases online.
It is still advisable that you keep receipts when you make any type of purchase. Trying to mentally remember all your expenses can be very demanding. You might forget important details such as amounts or even payment due dates. Your credit card statements will have your complete activity for the whole month.
Looking at your statement can give you the chance to catch charges you did not make on your cards. You need to make this a habit so you can immediately identify and put a stop to identity theft. The only reason other people would be able to charge on your card is if they stole your identity. You need to call your lender and report it as quickly as possible.
Frequent password change
Safe online shopping also means that you have to regularly change and update your password. CNN shares that codes with names and even sports teams are a popular choice for people. A lot of people also have the tendency to try and use one password for all online accounts. This means one password for social media as well as financial accounts.
It is always advisable to have some differences in passwords when it comes to your online activity. This is so if one account is compromised, it does not affect endanger other accounts you have. Make sure as well to have a good mix of different characters in your password. This means putting in numbers and letters as well as special characters in your password. This makes it challenging to guess your password and keeps it safer than most.
Scrub personal information from social platforms
Safe online shopping also means that you have to be careful about what you post online. You need to filter the information you give out to protect your privacy. A good place to start would be your social media accounts. Keep in mind that you could be using a combination of your name and your birthday for your passwords.
If you have your complete name and your birthday on your accounts showing up for the public to see, they can use those to hack into your accounts. They will just use a series of your name and birthday and try to guess your password. Another thing you should not do is take a front and back photo of your credit cards and save it on your computer or phone.
Once people get a hold of that photo, they can start using your card for online purchases. They will have all the details they need such as card number, expiry date, and even the security code written on your card. This is the reason why you need to keep your credit card information private because they can start charging purchases on your card.
Beware of phishing tactics
Phishing tactics have affected a lot of people more so now that people see their online activity increase. The FTC explains that phishing emails and even text messages are made to look like they come from companies you trust. They will try and convince you that they are legitimate representatives and ask for your personal information.
This could be anything from personal details to online banking usernames and passwords. It could be under the ruse of making you log in to make sure you change your login details. But they will be giving you a link to do that which is their website. Once you put in your username and password, they will get it, log into your account and do what they please.
There are safe online shopping tips you need to keep in mind especially now that you could be spending more time buying items online. You need to make sure that you practice safety even with your online activity.