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Scared of Scams? Here’s How to Shop Safely Online Using Wi-Fi

Image shows a customer shopping online with their credit card

From homebodies to individuals who just don’t have the time to go shopping at malls, online shopping is a much-loved and much-welcomed convenience. You can get pretty much anything off the internet nowadays; groceries, clothing, electronics – you name it! More and more people are choosing to shop online because of exclusive online store-only deals and quicker transactions. But online shopping doesn’t always equal safe shopping. Hackers, scammers, and fraudsters may be lurking about just waiting to steal your information, money, and even break your trust in the e-commerce industry. To avoid losing money and having an overall bad online shopping experience, you need to be aware of what to do to safely shop using Wi-Fi. Remember, a responsible shopper is a happy shopper!

Always Connect to A Secure Wi-Fi

The first step to safe shopping online is to only purchase things when you’re connected to a secure network. You can shop with peace of mind knowing your sensitive information is safe from prying eyes. When you connect to a public Wi-Fi or a network that isn’t password-protected, you could unknowingly be giving a hacker easy access to your credentials. You oftentimes need to type in very important information such as your card details and personal information when you shop online. Nearby hackers might see this as a chance to steal these things from you when you connect to public Wi-Fi in cafes, airports, libraries, and other places. Instead, just wait until you can connect to a private Wi-Fi network before going through with your purchases. But if you absolutely need to check out your order when you’re in public, opt to connect to a mobile hotspot or use a VPN to encrypt your data.

Only Shop On Sites You Can Trust

Before you start browsing the different goods you can purchase from an online store, you should take a couple of extra steps to ensure you’re not falling into a scam. With how popular online shopping is, there will inevitably be those who will try to set up fake websites in an attempt to commit a scam or fraud. To avoid this, only shop with online stores you’ve already shopped with in the past. Only shop on well-known e-commerce websites and always check the reviews before you proceed with placing an order. You can also ask family and friends for reliable and secure sites. One quick way to verify whether the site you’re shopping on is safe is to find the lock icon on the web address bar or if there is an “https” at the start of the web address. The “s” lets you know you can safely and securely enter your information onto the site.

Think Twice Before Giving Out Your Information

When shopping online, more often than not you’ll be asked to create an account and submit the required information so you can order items from your chosen site. Asking for information is necessary so you can be verified as a real person and be allowed to purchase what you want. E-commerce sites will generally ask you to provide your name, contact number, email address, shipping address, and mode of payment. These are all to be expected, but when online stores ask for things such as your Social Security Number, it’s probably not a good idea to enter your data and complete the purchase. Always keep your information to a minimum, and only provide the ones that are essential to the purchase. When sites ask for your birthday, look into the reason why they asked or required it from you. There could be an age restriction or the site you’re on may offer birthday discounts and other benefits, but if inputting your birthday is optional, it’s best to just leave it be.

Choose Your Preferred Payment Option

Speaking of modes of payment, there are various types of payment options you can use to guarantee a safe purchase. If you want to use your bank cards, opt to use a credit card over a debit card. A debit card gives direct access to your bank account and has no consumer protection. If a hacker or fraudulent site gets ahold of your debit card information then they can tap into your bank accounts and take your money without you even knowing. A credit card on the other hand provides you with consumer protection and little to no liability for fraud. You can also use a virtual credit card that uses a temporary card number for even better security. This means that no hackers or scammers can directly access your bank funds and you’re much more protected against fraud. You also have the option of using a third-party payment service instead of a credit card. Many e-commerce websites or mobile applications accept Apple Pay, Google Pay, Paypal, and many other payment services as payment options. You can even argue that it’s more secure than a credit card since you can generate a one-time password or OTP that only you can use within a given period of time to complete purchases. The great thing about that is you don’t have to risk revealing your credit card information!

Monitor Your Bank Statements

Regularly keeping record of your bank and card statements doesn’t just help you manage your finances, but it also helps you keep yourself safe from cybercrime. Being complacent and waiting till your monthly statements arrive can mean that you might be in for an unpleasant surprise. You can check your statements online, and it’s advised that you do it as often as you can. This way, you can be made aware of what purchases were made and you can check to see if there are any fraudulent charges. The sooner you find out your cards were compromised the sooner you can inform your bank of the matter. Be sure to keep a close eye on your statements, especially during holidays.

If Something Seems Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is

Have you ever come across an advertisement for something that just seemed a little too convenient for you as a buyer? If an online store offers high-quality or high-end items at staggeringly low prices, then you may need to take a couple of steps back and assess whether it’s true or not. Online merchants and retailers claiming to sell original and authentic items for a fraction of its original price may be more untrustworthy than you think. This is an example of a classic scam where the website you purchased the item from will steal your sensitive information and money and try to send you something far different from what you paid for. Sometimes, these merchants won’t even send you anything at all! Avoid deals that offer jaw-dropping price slashes and stick to familiar and reliable online stores instead.

Become a Safe and Smart Online Shopper With OTR Mobile

If you’re worried about accidentally leaking your information to cybercriminals, OTR Mobile’s got your back. We’ll provide you with the safe, stable, and secure mobile Wi-Fi you need. You don’t have to worry about having your bank details stolen over a public network ever again. You can trust our wide range of products and services to deliver a reliable and powerful internet connection. Plus you can choose the plan that’s best suited for your needs at the most affordable rates. Visit us today to enjoy the best private internet browsing and online shopping experience. Shop online wherever you are, whenever you want!

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