Online Shopping: Here is how to protect yourself while shopping on the internet

Online Shopping: Here is how to protect yourself while shopping on the internet

Before making any online purchases, make sure you follow these safety measures to avoid becoming a victim of online fraud.

Man doing an online purchase
Man doing an online purchase /iStock

Millions of people around the world do their shopping online. 

This is because shopping online is convenient. It saves you the stress of having to drive or walk to a store, standing in queues or dealing with the temptation of seeing other items in-store. 

Black Friday and the Festive Season are a prime time for purchases. Lots of people stock up for Christmas. 

But although online shopping is safe in most cases, there are those who take advantage and defraud thousands of people around the globe.

READ: 6 tips for better online shopping 

Before you become a victim, ensure that the site you are buying from is credible. says one way to ensure that you are buying from a reputable site is to check if it has https in the address bar and a padlock icon to show that it is secure. The site says you can also search the name of the store you are buying from and the word "security" and see what comes up. 

Mimecast, a cloud-based security company which offers cybersecurity, shares the following advice:

- Free WIFI is rarely secure - Since the workforce is mostly hybrid these days, it’s normal to connect to company systems via personal networks. Mimecast suggests keeping information - such as name, address and credit card details - safe by not connecting to public networks. These networks in public spaces such as shopping malls, coffee shops or airports, can be less secure and easier to compromise.

 - Never use the same password for everything - Always use a unique password across your different accounts. That way, if your password becomes exposed, it won’t compromise your other accounts, such as email, banking or anything work related. Use passphrases and make use of a password manager if you find it difficult to remember several complicated passwords.

- Assume all links are phishy – It’s become easy for criminals to impersonate well-known retailers by setting up fake sites that look remarkably like the real thing. Consumers are directed to malicious websites using pop-up ads or phishing links in marketing emails. Any legitimate Black Friday deal will feature on the retailer’s website so it’s better to go directly to the real site or use their mobile app.

- Deals don’t come in an email attachment - Cybercriminals can easily embed malware into email attachments and compromise your device when you open it. Retailers typically don’t send shoppers downloadable attachments, so think twice before opening anything and rather go directly to the retailer’s website or app. The last thing you want is to infect your own device with malware, or even worse be the person that brings down your company network.

READ: The link between social media and online shopping

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