Tips to Ensure Online Shopping Safety
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
The majority of Canadians have become quite comfortable shopping on the Internet. According to the latest research from the eCommerce chapter of the Ipsos Canadian Inter@ctive Reid Report, over eight in ten (82%) Canadian Internet users have made a purchase online in the past year. The study also found that the average amount of reported spending annually for online purchases in Canada is $954.1.
The more comfortable you become with shopping online, the less you worry about security issues. Even if you consider yourself to be a savvy online shopper, it’s still a good idea to brush up on tips for safe online shopping to make sure your experience is always positive.
Before buying from a website, find out what other shoppers are saying about that company. A quick search of the site online should result in reviews from other shoppers. If they’ve had a bad experience, chances are it will turn up. Also be wary of overly enthusiastic reviews. They could be fake.
Ensure that the site is using a secure connection. You’ll know this by the “s” that follows “http” in the browser bar. You should also see an image of a lock. Some retailers will also have an icon called a trust indicator or security seal that shows that the retailer is independently verified by a third party such as Norton Security.
Check for a physical “bricks and mortar” address and contact details like phone numbers for the vendor before buying anything from them. You want to be sure you can reach them should a problem arise.
Look for a Return Policy and read it over carefully. The vendor should clearly state how you can return your purchase if necessary.
Be a smart online shopper
- Avoid using public wifi or public computers when shopping online, such as at a coffee shop or airport. If you must make a purchase, use the cellular data on your mobile device instead
- Don't send your credit card details via email, post them on social media (even in a private message), or enter them on an unsecured website
- Don't give away more information than required. There is no reason why retailers should ask for information like your date of birth or social insurance number
- Use strong, unique passwords for your accounts at each online store. If you haven’t changed your password in awhile, now is a good time
Remember to log out of your account after making a purchase
Keep your devices up to date
Check regularly for updates to your operating system, as well as ensuring apps and browsers are kept up-to-date with the latest version2
Shopping online is easy, convenient and fun – but it can also be dangerous. It pays to stay vigilant to protect your identity and your bank account so you can continue to shop with confidence.
Author’s note: This article ran on January 17, 2012 and has been updated for accuracy.
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