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Thursday, July 18, 2024

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Expert Tips For Secure Online Shopping

Finances FYI Presented by JPMorgan Chase

Online shopping has become increasingly convenient and popular. With just a few clicks, you can purchase almost anything from the comfort of your home. However, as online shopping grows, so do its associated risks. Cybercriminals are constantly evolving their tactics to steal personal and financial information from unsuspecting shoppers. 

To help you navigate the digital marketplace safely, here are some expert insights and guidelines for secure online shopping.

Common Risks of Online Shopping

One significant concern with online shopping is the potential for identity theft and financial fraud. Cybercriminals may attempt to steal personal and financial information through phishing scams, fake websites, or malware-infected links. Additionally, there’s a risk of purchasing counterfeit or low-quality products from untrustworthy sellers. Another concern is data breaches, where hackers target retailers’ databases to access sensitive customer information. 

While online shopping offers numerous benefits, consumers should remain vigilant and take precautions to protect themselves against these risks.

Tips for Protecting Yourself

In light of the various risks associated with online shopping, implementing proactive measures is crucial to safeguarding your personal and financial information. Here are some tips to follow:

1. Use Reputable Websites

When shopping online, stick to reputable websites and well-known retailers. Look for familiar brands or sites with a history of positive reviews and customer satisfaction. Avoid clicking on links from unsolicited emails or unfamiliar websites, as they may lead to fake or phishing sites designed to steal your information.

2. Check for Secure Connections

Before entering any personal or payment information, make sure the website is secure. Look for the padlock icon next to the URL in your browser’s address bar, and ensure the web address starts with “https://” instead of just “http://”. The “s” indicates that the website is using encryption to protect your data during transmission.

3. Use Strong Passwords

Create strong, unique passwords for your online accounts, especially those associated with shopping websites. Avoid using easily guessable passwords or reusing passwords across multiple accounts. Consider using a password manager to generate and securely store your passwords.

4. Be Wary of Phishing Attempts

Phishing emails and websites are common tactics used by cybercriminals to trick users into providing sensitive information. Be cautious of emails or messages claiming to be from retailers, especially if they ask for personal or financial information. Avoid clicking on suspicious links or downloading attachments from unknown sources.

Photo: stockbg via 123RF

5. Opt for Secure Payment Methods

When making a purchase online, use secure payment methods such as credit cards or payment services like PayPal or Venmo. These methods offer additional layers of protection, such as fraud monitoring and buyer protection policies, but still require vigilance. 

6. Monitor Your Transactions

Review your bank and credit card statements regularly for unauthorized charges or suspicious activity. Report any discrepancies to your financial institution immediately. Many banks and credit card companies offer fraud alerts or monitoring services to help detect and prevent fraudulent transactions.

7. Keep Your Devices Updated and Secure

Ensure that your devices, including your computer, smartphone, and tablet, are equipped with up-to-date antivirus and security software. Keep your operating system and applications patched with the latest security updates to protect against known vulnerabilities.

8. Be Mindful of Public Wi-Fi

Avoid making purchases or accessing sensitive information while connected to public Wi-Fi networks, as they may not be secure. If you need to shop online while away from home, consider using a virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt your internet connection and protect your data from prying eyes.

By following these expert insights and guidelines, you can confidently shop online and minimize the risks associated with online shopping. Remember to stay vigilant and cautious, especially when dealing with unfamiliar websites or communications. With the right precautions, you can enjoy the convenience of online shopping without compromising your security and privacy.

Finances FYI is presented by JPMorgan Chase. JPMorgan Chase is making a $30 billion commitment over the next five years to address some of the largest drivers of the racial wealth divide.