How to stay safe online: Best practices

Thursday, May 30, 2019

With the ability to order things online – from your weekly food shop and clothing to new tech software or hardware, all from the comfort of your own home – it’s no wonder that online shopping (otherwise known as e-commerce) is on the incline with no signs of slowing down.

Recent studies show that millennials are now making 54% of their purchases online, demonstrating just how much activity takes place on the internet. Pair this with the growing concern of cyber security, it’s now more important than ever before to understand how to stay safe online. Check out our top tips below for staying safe online.

Check the sites security before entering any credentials

We discussed in a recent blog post how to spot unsecure websites before entering any of your personal, financial credentials. However, just to recap:

HTTPS: Secure websites have a URL that begins with ‘https’, as opposed to ‘http’. This additional ‘s’ gives an indication that the website is encrypted, and that the security is provided by an SSL certificate that protects sensitive information entered into the site.

The lock icon: The lock icon at the beginning of the URL ensures any information you enter on the site such as passwords and credit card information remain confidential. Websites that don’t have this are untrustworthy, and you should withhold entering any sensitive information.

Avoid unfamiliar websites

Only use sites that are familiar, no matter how tempted you are. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is! Using sites that are unfamiliar open up your risks to coming across a scam website.

If you’re adamant to use this website, make sure you search around for reviews to see people’s previous experience with the site. This will give a good indication as to whether the site is safe and legitimate.

Don’t shop using public Wi-Fi networks

Fake websites aren’t your only concern when it comes to staying safe online. Even if using a legitimate website, if your internet connection isn’t secure, hackers are able to interject and steal your credentials.

To avoid this, withhold from buying anything online when using a public wi-fi, and wait until you connect to a secure, password protected internet connection.

Look for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors

Similar to phishing emails, phishing websites are known for containing spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. With majority of browsers having a built-in spell check, there should be no excuse for spelling mistakes in website content.

If the website you’re using contains numerous spelling and grammatical errors, this website might have been created with malicious intent to steal credentials.

Invest in a security solution

It can be tempting to make a purchase from a new site from an email you receive with a great offer. However, not all of these are always 100% genuine.

By investing in an effective security solution such as Email and Web security, users will be blocked from cyber threats from both ends of the spectrum. Using advanced scanning technology, this sort of software will prevent users from clicking on or receiving malicious content, minimising the risks of ending up on a fake website.

Check for appropriate information

A legitimate website should have a full returns policy, with terms and conditions and a genuine return address. A real company should allow you to return an item and tell you exactly how and where you can return this item. Any website that doesn’t contain this information should raise suspicions, and you should avoid making a purchase through this website.

With online e-commerce sites providing convenience, a variety of products and easy price comparisons, it’s a shame to let these spoof websites deter you from continuing to reap the benefits. By taking the above points into consideration, you can still enjoy making online purchases knowing that your sensitive information and bank account is protected.


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