Ways to protect yourself while shopping online..
1. Always use secure network connections..
Make sure the website you're visiting has a valid “HTTPS” connection with a lock symbol, not “HTTP.”.. The HTTP is vulnerable to attacks, and a bad actor can steal your credit card information by monitoring your HTTP network traffic, according to Gang Wang, a cybersecurity expert and assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at Virginia Tech..
Consumers should never give their credit card information unless they are in a secure online shopping portal. “Sites that ask for it in return for 'coupons' or to win 'free' merchandise are almost always scams,” Said RiskIQ, A cybersecurity company..
2. Extra caution should always be taken when shopping on a mobile device..
Consumers should be especially careful when shopping on a mobile browser, according to Gang Wang.. Scammers often create fake websites with URLs that look similar to those of legitimate retailers in an effort to trick users..
Mobile browsers have a much shorter address field, and consumers may not see the full URL on their phone. As a result, it can be more difficult to spot a scam.. It is better to shop via a desktop pc or a computer with full page view..
3. Be on the lookout for bogus apps..
"Don't install any apps from web links or code,” Wang said..
Some fake apps have malware that can steal your personal information or lock the device until you agree to pay a ransom, according to RiskIQ..
Other bogus apps prompt users to login using their Facebook or Gmail accounts, which can also reveal your sensitive information..
While RiskIQ recommends only downloading apps from official app stores like Apple and Google, the firm notes that even apps on official stores can be potentially dangerous.
Be cautious of apps that ask for suspicious permissions, such as granting access to your contacts, text messages, stored passwords or credit card information. Before downloading an app, RiskIQ also suggests taking a look at the developer.. If it's not a brand you know, think twice before downloading..
4. Don't click on questionable email links..
Consumers should avoid clicking on links in an unsolicited email — even if the deal looks really attractive..
Phishing emails usually look similar to those sent by popular retailers, your bank or a family member..
“The link may lead you to a bogus website that aims to lure you to enter your credit card information,” Wang said.
5. Practice good security hygiene
In general, consumers should always use difficult-to-guess passwords, unique passwords on every account, two-factor authentication, and password managers to help keep track of different logins..