Security tips for safe online shopping

During the holidays season many people receive packages from the post or delivery services. We wrote about the dangers introduced by opening attachments in emails pretending to come from such entities. Without an active and up to date security software, attachments in email should never be open, no matter from where they come.

We also recommend that consumers watch for a few things in order to not become a victim of the online fraudsters:

- If you connect to the Internet via a WiFi, make sure it is encrypted

- If you connect to the webshop via a mobile device like a tablet or smartphone, make sure that the website reacts correctly to touch. Not all website allow an easy usage via such interfaces. You don’t want to order 10 items instead of one, or press cancel instead of proceed after you searched for hours the right product.

- If you don’t know the website you plan to buy from, always check its reputation. Search for other users who are commenting about that website. Searching for “<website> reputation” usually gives good and relevant results.

- Always check that the connection to the online store where the payment is done is secured. This can be observed first if the URL is starting with “https” and second if a small lock is present in the top right corner of the browser in the URL field (in Chrome) or the name of the website is written in a colored rectangle(in Firefox,IE). If the web browser gives any warnings about the security certificate of the website, then do not proceed to purchase anything from that website.

- Give your financial details like credit card data only if the website is properly secured and its reputation is good.

- Try to choose payment methods which don’t require payment upfront. If PayPal is an option, choose that whenever possible. Otherwise, if you’ve ensured the safety of the website you’re on and you feel good about its reputation, then pay with a credit card.

- Always double check your bank accounts to make sure the amount you spent is the amount that was charged. If there is a discrepancy, contact the website where you made the purchase.

- Install a security solution that checks web traffic as well as email traffic and make sure that it is up to date.

 

Last, but not least, probably the most important tip to prevent online fraud:

- never purchase something advertised in spams

- if an offer is too good to be true, then most probably it isn’t true.

 

Sorin Mustaca

IT Security Expert