The World Wide Web has made shopping more convenient and cost-effective. It is big business these days, with more and more consumers across Nigeria turning to the internet to purchase goods. Needless to say, this has caught the attention of cyber criminals who are keen to exploit individuals benefitting from the convenience, affordability and choice that makes the internet a safe place to make purchases. This automatically means that buying online has its risks.
Look for the https URL and the padlock symbol
HTTPS is an online safety protocol that encrypts information so that data can be kept private and protected. In most cases, the text in the URL is preceded by a padlock symbol (if this is missing, the website should be treated with caution). The ‘S’ in HTTPS, incidentally, stands for secure. Websites that use HTTPS cause data sent between the site and your web browser to be encrypted through the use of TLS (Transport Layer Security). That means that any information, such as your credit card details, can’t be intercepted in plaintext form by an external attacker.
Be wary of ridiculous offers
We have all come across offers and discounts that are too good to be true. Most times, we are tempted to jump on it despite warning signs that it is actually false. You have to be careful because there are plenty of scams looking to connect you with tempting offers. In some cases, the perpetrators are looking to infect your device and steal information. It is advisable to be doubly vigilant and like earlier said, shop with trusted brands.
Avoid public Wi-Fi to shop
Anytime you enter personal information using a public network, you’re exposing yourself to identity theft. Most Wi-Fi hotspots don’t encrypt your data, so any hacker can basically steal your identity. This applies to mobile phones, too, since you’re often using nearby Wi-Fi. Be aware when you’re using a hotspot that any information you send through the Internet could be picked up by strangers; if it’s information that could make you vulnerable, wait until you get home to your protected network. It may be less convenient, but it’s much safer.
Change your passwords regularly
If you really want to keep your information and bank account safe while you’re shopping via the Internet, it’s essential to mix up your account passwords every 3 to 6 months. You should also make sure that you don’t have the same password across all your accounts since that makes them all vulnerable if one is hacked.