Staying Safe While Shopping Online: Things You Need To Know

by News Editor on July 30th, 2012 in Security Tips.

Online stores offer a convenient, easy-to-use way of shopping, especially for those busy individuals. Shopping an item is so easy; it’s just within a few clicks and then voila, it’s done!

This is why online shopping gains its popularity every year. Almost everything can be bought online! You name it, the internet has it. However, it's important to take note that you'll still need to take some precautions when purchasing items online. Remember, cyber criminals are always on the prowl.
 
First of all, you should always pay attention to which website you are on and always verify the URL or web address of the site you want to visit. Criminals sometimes purchase domain names that are similar to official online stores in hopes of catching some people unaware. Misspellings and other variations can be used to trick someone into giving their payment information to the wrong people.

These fraudulent sites often look very convincing, so pay very close attention. At the same time, research those companies before you enter your credit card information on their website especially smaller, unknown merchants as large, well-known retailers likely won't steal your information but these other merchants might. Before you give anyone your financial information, make sure you know who they are and that you have verified that they can be trusted. Legitimate companies often use a domain name (e.g. https://www.company.com).

Let’s take PayPal as an example. When you go to their site, you will notice that the correct URL is https://www.paypal.com/. Note that it is https (with an 'S') not http.

Cyber criminals may use URLs that are very similar to PayPal’s website. Even if a URL contains the word "PayPal," it may not be a PayPal site. Examples of deceptive URLs include: www.paypalsecure.com, www.paypa1.com, www.secure-paypal.com.

If you see additional characters such as “@”, dashes etc within the URL, there is a great chance that it is a fake website. Example of a fake address: http://signin.ebay.com@10.19.32.4/
 
If you are shopping via online auction sites or online classified websites, you will need to take several other precautions:

  • If a deal you found online seems too good to be true, it probably is. Be wary of someone who is selling items at very low prices.
  • Only place your bid or buy items online with trusted companies. If you have to make a purchase with lesser known online stores, do your research and trust your instincts. Always keep an eye for an red flags.
  • Make sure that you check their privacy policy to verify how they will use your information.
  • You will also want to check to make sure their payment system is secure and that the website itself is stable, safe and free of pop-ups or any other types of spyware.

Ensuring that your computer security is up to date is definitely the next thing you need to pay attention to. This is because some malicious programs track any information you enter into your web browser, including credit card information and website passwords. This is why it is so important to regularly check your computer for malware, spyware and viruses and to keep these security programs current.

Get Ad-Aware Personal Security today! With its real-time web-filtering technology, it safeguards your PC against phishing attacks and online scams, allowing you to stay protected on social networks and giving you the confidence you need to shop and bank online.