How to stay safe while shopping with your phone online

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Photo Credit: ra2 studio

Can you imagine a life without the Internet? Those born in 20th century certainly can remember the time when you had to, at least, call a person you want to buy something from. You see an ad, write down the phone number and call it whenever you can. But now, you only need to click a button, and there you go, you bought something.

While still a small piece of overall commerce cake, online shopping is slowly gaining traction worldwide. According to “Forbes” E-commerce will be the largest retail channel in the world in just two years. And not only that. According to the same article, this kind of “shopping” is pulling more money than shopping in physical stores. This happened for the first time in history. And it means that online shopping has finally become more successful than physical shopping. The statistics say that consumers will spend almost a trillion online in 2023, in the US alone. Apart from that, other pieces of data estimate that, if everything continues down the same route, consumers will make 95% of purchases online by 2024.

Facts:

  1. Even though it is growing, e-commerce is still only 15% of global commerce. (source – https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/industries/consumer-markets/consumer-insights-survey/new-consumer-habits.html)
  2. Amazon now accounts for nearly 50% of the U.S. e-commerce market. (source – https://retail.emarketer.com/article/amazon-now-has-nearly-50-of-us-ecommerce-market/5b48c542ebd4000b24140992)
  3. 57% of online retail visits will come from mobile devices. (source – https://cmo.adobe.com/articles/2018/10/5-online-holiday-shopping-predictions.html)
  4. A majority of consumers said that they can’t wait to use some of the new technologies for shopping like AR, VR, or 360 video.

This being said, we can conclude that people like to shop over the Internet. However, this is sometimes (for some people) a very risky decision to make. Everyone’s afraid of hackers.

Hacking is the main problem especially if we look at the latest headlines and thousands of Disney+ accounts that got hacked. It wasn’t Disney’s fault that this happened. It was the user’s fault (keylogging or info-stealing malware). These kinds of problems make you feel like it’s time to give up the Internet altogether. But you don’t need to do that. You just need to know how to keep your information safe. Nothing more, nothing less. Here is how to do that.

Be extremely careful if you are on a mobile device

Modern smartphones can do almost everything a computer can do. However, most smartphones aren’t equipped with the anti-virus software. This is why it’s easier to get a malware into your device. You should also be careful with shortened URLs that are often used because they are better for your phones. These URLs can sometimes trick you into visiting some problematic websites. And, finally someone could steal your phone and this is why you should make sure it is password-protected. Setting a strong password on your phone and enabling the screen auto-lock to minimum are the simplest ways to keep your personal info safe from thieves or if you misplace your phone.

Check the seller’s feedback

When you are buying something, one of the things you should do first is to check the seller’s reputation. You need to find the “Seller’s feedback page” and read all the comments to see if someone had a negative experience with the company. However, some companies sometimes pay for reviews so you can also try searching for some third-party reviews. Lots of popular websites have tons of genuine reviews from which you can learn a lot about the people you will potentially buy from.

Why is HTTPS so important?

When you shop online, you should stick to the companies you trust. However, hundreds of new companies are made every single day, and it is difficult to track their reputation. This is why you should, at least, check if the website URL begins with “HTTPS” rather than “HTTP”. This means a special level of security and demonstrates that communications between the website and your browser are encrypted. If you can’t see the HTTPS, then don’t provide any personal info to that site.

Don’t save your info

Every time you type in some new user name and password, your browser asks you to remember your personal info. Do not allow it. It’s tempting and very convenient, but not worth it. Take your time, enter your info every time you log in or make a transaction. Data breaches happen every day and either the company or your PC (or mobile device) could get hacked and your personal info could get stolen.

Use a credit card and not a debit card

A credit card is easier to dispute, if it gets stolen. You only need to report it and you will get everything back within a few days. A debit card needs months to dispute, and even then, you can’t be sure if you would get all the money back.

Privacy policy

World Wide Web was once a place of anonymity. No one used their real names and you could live an another life online. It is not like that anymore. The websites you visit on a daily basis record and capture all kinds of data about you. And what kind of data? Your IP address, your hardware and software details, 1st and 3rd party cookies, autofill data, detailed input logs, browser fingerprints, etc. Well, this is why you should always check the privacy policy of the sites you are visiting. If you don’t agree with something, don’t shop there.

Don’t use public Wi-Fi to shop

Most Wi-Fi hotspots don’t encrypt their data. This is why any hacker in the vicinity or whoever you are sharing the Wi-Fi with can simply pluck your identity out of the air… of course, if that person has the right software. So, don’t shop anything or share a sensitive info using a public Wi-Fi.

These, and many other simple tips could save any sensitive info you have on your device. And remember two simple rules you should already know: “Don’t ever click on links in random emails and change your passwords frequently.”


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augusta free press news
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