How to increase online security while shopping online. Are you looking for the best ways to protect your personal information and identity when shopping online? Look no further as we put together the best compressive guide to help you stay safe when browsing and shopping online, plus a few tools to enhance the security of your device.

How to increase online security while shopping online

Shopping online is becoming increasingly popular. With the convenience of shopping from the comfort of your home, it can be easy to overlook safety and security measures. To ensure that you shop securely and safely online, it is important to understand what strategies you should implement.

This article will overview the most effective ways to ensure secure and safe online shopping experiences. By implementing these strategies, you can rest assured that your personal information and financial data will remain secure while shopping online.

How to increase online security while shopping online

What became an increased necessity in the pandemic is now a way of life for many of us. Online shopping was normal when physical stores shut down, but its popularity has been long-lasting.

Internet sales have retained about a quarter share of all retail business since the UK opened up following the tightest grip of COVID-19. Many people are now familiar with online shopping, and their habits have changed for good. But the increase in online shopping has also attracted the attention of criminals. Cybercrime is up in the UK, so it’s never been more important to be vigilant while doing anything online. This includes shopping.

Be selective with cookies

Chances are you’re familiar with opening a web page for the first time, and it asks if you want to accept cookies. This controls how the site can gather and use your personal data. The natural reaction is to click accept, especially as denying them can sometimes prevent you from seeing what you want.

However, it’s now common for sites to allow you to be more selective. And doing so could help you protect yourself online. Restricting the data a website stores means that snoopers or hackers cannot get hold of big chunks of your personal data.

Add protection to your device

If you’re already shopping, it’s easy to get taken in by ads popping up on your screen. For the most part, the only drawback of these might be that they’re annoying to have to close. Sometimes, it’s not uncommon for malware to hide in pop-up ads. If you’re hopping from page to page trying to find a product, it might be easy to accidentally click a malicious pop-up link. Using an ad blocker takes away this problem and leaves you free to keep searching in peace.

Only use recognized, secure websites

Ever opened a website and thought, ‘wow, this looks odd’? It’s a significant red flag that you could be at risk of a scam. You should never enter personal or financial details if you can’t verify the site’s authenticity. Check that the site’s URL starts with “https”. The “s” here stands for secure and indicates that there is a protected connection between your computer and the site. If you see “http”, be wary.

Keep your laptop updated as well as the browser

Every now and then laptops that use Windows software will require updates. A simple sign for when updates are needed is when the pages you have opened crash or the laptop becomes unresponsive. To check for updates, go to your laptop’s lower left-side control panel and check the power button.

From there, you will see a few options; Sleep, Restart, or Update and Restart and Shut Down. Before you click to update the software of your laptop, make sure you close all the pages and save all the documents. Following this tip will speed up the process of updating the laptop.

Keeping your laptop updated with the latest features will enhance online search protection. The same concept applies to Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge. Usually, you will get a notification on the upper side of the screen. A good practice is to update the browser as soon as possible since Google is very good at filtering and spotting dangerous websites. Once a dangerous website or page appears, Google will prompt you to return to safety.

As of January 2023, Google Chrome won’t allow updates anymore for Windows 8 or lower versions on some devices. Acer E15 is one of the laptops that seems to retire following this notification, and I am one of those unhappy customers who might have to look into buying a new laptop. I cannot speak for MacBooks as I am unfamiliar with them, but it looks is one of the best devices for keeping you protected when shopping online since MacBook comes with all the protection layers for keeping you safe.

Use Paypal to shop online

Unlike credit cards, which do not offer the same level of security and protection as PayPal, PayPal is a secure payment option for online purchases. One benefit of shopping with PayPal is that it allows you to complete transactions online without exposing your personal information to potential thieves.

By paying with a card or through cash at a retail store, your personal information may be visible and accessible to anyone who walks by and sees it. With the use of PayPal, you are only provided with a username and password to make all transactions through the website, meaning thieves cannot access your personal information without your knowledge.

Buy after you check online reviews and other people’s opinions

Reviews and opinions from other people are one of the easiest ways of knowing that the shop you plan on buying goods from is safe. Just add the name of the shop/website followed by the word reviews. TIP: even online reviews can be manipulated. To get a clear vision of the brand you plan on buying from, measure how many negative and positive reviews there are. Then look for individual blogs that talk about the product.

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Avoid Social Media Sites When Shopping Online

As a general rule, social media websites should not be used as shopping sites due to the ability of hackers to reach out and target individuals based on their personal information. These websites often store an online shopping database that contains a vast amount of information about individuals. This can include contact email addresses, calendars, customer addresses, and phone numbers – which can put an individual at risk for identity theft or fraud attempts.

The best way to stay safe is to refrain from clicking online shopping advertisement you see on social media or YouTube. These companies have suffered a significant loss in revenue because of the cost of living crisis around the world, and many times, people reported seeing social media ads for online stores that promoted pyramid scheme courses, tobacco, or vaping content.

Remember physical security

It’s now highly common for people to shop on their smartphones using mobile websites or apps to find products. If you’re indulging in some retail therapy on the move, be careful not to reveal any sensitive information to those who might be snooping. If the purchase isn’t urgent, consider waiting until you’re home to complete it on your laptop or tablet. Inspecting a website on a larger screen is easier than a phone screen.

Request a phone number from the seller

Request a phone number before making large purchases. If you give a seller the name and number of a reputable business, insist on receiving confirmation that they are who they say they are before handing over any money. When buying wholesale goods is a very common practice to speak with a real person on the phone before placing a large order.

Final words

I hope this guide will help you stay safe when shopping online. Use your common sense and be suspicious rather than sorry. Take notes if necessary and share this post on social media so others can learn how to increase online security while shopping online. Also, if you have other tips, comment below and let us know how you keep yourself safe when buying online items.

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