Modern smartphones are powerful devices that are capable of much more than initiating phone calls and sending messages. Nowadays, we use them for all sorts of purposes: from paying our bills, voice chatting, updating the social media network, and all the way to playing video games and online shopping. However, as soon as money transfers enter the equation, the hackers are on standby. Don’t be careless enough to make their job too easy! Do this instead:
1. Don’t recycle your password
If you’re one of those who uses the same password everywhere, you seriously need to reconsider doing this. All it takes is for one of your accounts to get hacked, and then all a hacker needs to do is try using the same login credentials everywhere else until one of the websites grants them access without even needing to compromise it. Yes, using the same password is convenient and easy on your memory – we get it. But at what cost?
2. Keep your browser up to date
Keeping your browser up to date may seem self-explanatory, but you’d be surprised how many online shoppers completely neglect that aspect of their online safety. The thing is, software vulnerabilities keep getting discovered all the time, but the developers are quick to patch them as soon as they get notified. In essence, it’s a battle of whoever gets to be one step ahead, and you need to move swiftly. The best way to go about it is to set your phone to install updates automatically and don’t worry about it.
3. Beware of the phishing scams
Phishing scams are one of the oldest tricks in the book, and yet they still work. But why is this so? For starters, too many people are careless about how safe they are online and never bother to get educated about the threats that are lurking out there. Phishing scammers take advantage of their lack of knowledge as well as various psychological tricks to convince them to input their login details into a fake form that serves no other purpose than stealing data. That being said, there is one rather straightforward thing you can do to foil their efforts – refuse to follow any links that get sent to you through an email and manually enter them in the URL bar instead.
4. Check for the HTTPS protocol
It’s easy to tell whether the online shop you’re visiting is using the secure HTTPS protocol or the ancient HTTP one. Look at the address bar in your browser – it should be in the left corner of it. Certain browsers like Google Chrome also go a step beyond that and alert you whenever the website in question is not using one. Why does this matter? Simply put, any data exchanged by you and the website through the HTTPS protocol gets encrypted, so even if one were to intercept it, it’s virtually unreadable, and as such, pretty much useless.
5. Use a VPN
As an extra layer of security, you should be using a VPN. Remember how the traffic that gets sent through the HTTPS protocol is encrypted? Well, if you’re behind a VPN, the same applies to all the traffic travelling to and from your smart device, even if the website you’re connecting to is using the old HTTP protocol. Additionally, a VPN will protect you from anyone who’s out to snoop on your online activities, granting you complete anonymity and protecting your privacy at all times. You can check out a good example on this URL: https://nordvpn.com/features/mobile-devices/
6. Scan your phone with antivirus software
If your smartphone gets infected with malware, all hell could break loose. You may get your files deleted or stolen, your device transformed into a cryptocurrency mining station, or your login credentials were stolen through a keylogger. Should you get infected with one of these, your credit card details may find themselves in the hands of the bad guys the next time you decide to purchase something online. As you’ve probably guessed, these are the kind of people who can’t wait to relieve you of your hard-earned funds. So don’t forget to install antivirus software and scan your phone often.
7. Look for a money-back guarantee
Just as you would expect from a brick-and-mortar retailer, offering a money-back guarantee is a sign of confidence in their products. In case what you received is not as advertised or got damaged in the process, you’re entitled to getting your money back. Some online vendors may not honour that, but that is significantly less likely to happen if you only stick to shopping at trusted e-commerce websites. If you’ve decided to pay via Paypal, not only do your credit card details remain hidden from view, you’re also covered by their buyer protection program.
With the help of these 7 tips, you should be able to stay safe when shopping online. But remember; the best defence is staying vigilant and using your head.