The benefits of online shopping are endless. No lines or crowds, no lost car in the parking lot. No bags to shuffle and carry from store to store and no running around looking for deals. The best part, however, is not having to leave your home, so it’s no wonder Canadians spend billions of dollars each year on online shopping. Many retailers say their websites are as busy as their stores, especially during the holiday season.
There are a few setbacks to online shopping such as shipping costs and the one to two week delivery times. Online shoppers also run the risk of card theft and other forms of fraud. If you find online shopping is a preference, you may want to beef up your own personal security to safeguard your information.
First and foremost, it is always advised to shop from a trusted computer. Using public computers will get the job done, but at what cost? There is no way to know if their security is up to date, if phishing sites have been screened or if your credit card isn’t being recorded. It’s a much better idea to shop from your home computer where you can control security.
Shopping from sites you know or have dealt with before is also a way to guarantee a good experience. If you want to shop at a new online store, do a BBB (Better Business Bureau) check on them first, or ask people you know if they’ve used them. Look to make sure they offer a physical address and other contact information. Updating your software is a very important way to ensure your security is kept up to date with any new viruses. Make sure to keep all your anti-virus software, spyware and your computer’s firewall up to date and activated.
When it comes time to pay for your purchase, make sure the website has a secure server. Once again, paying from a home computer rather than a public one offers extra security. Make sure the web address is an ‘https’ website and not ‘http’. Also, make certain the company has a key icon or a padlock at the bottom of the screen. If the key or padlock is broken, you are not on a secure server. Most companies are protected by third party services like VeriSign, so look for their security features.