Online shopping has seen dramatic growth in sales since the first known web purchases were made in 1994. While large stores struggle to get customers in the door, more and more people are opting for online purchasing every year. There’re any number of reasons for this seismic shift in shopping habits – including better prices, more options, and convenience.
But just like all good things in this world, online shopping does present a few potential dangers, like scams, eCrimes, and identity theft. Instead of these risks stopping you from shopping online, learn the do’s and don’ts of online shopping so you can make your purchases with your peace of mind intact.
Want a safe and secure credit card to use to shop online? Check out Union’s personal credit card options.
Online Shopping Do’s
DO: Use familiar sites
When shopping online, go for recognizable names you know and trust or an established brand’s official site. A good rule of thumb is that if the site looks like it might be sketchy, there’s a good chance it is.
DO: Use strong passwords
Whenever working online with anything related to your identity or bank account, you should have a strong password. Strong passwords are ones that are not easily guessed and are unique from other passwords. Your strong password should include:
- Capital & lowercase letters
To make your password even stronger, replace one of the letters in your password with a symbol.
DO: Read reviews
Statistically speaking, a disgruntled customer is more likely to leave a review than a satisfied customer so reviews should always be taken with a grain of salt. However, if you see multiple reviewers saying the same things about scams, damaged products, or poor customer service, you might want to err on the side of caution and shop elsewhere.
DO: Check your bank statements
A simple way to make sure that an online site isn’t taking advantage of you is to regularly check your bank statements. If there are odd charges on your account, notify your bank and your credit company right away.
Want to be able to check your recent transactions no matter where you are? Check out Union’s Mobile Banking.
Online Shopping Don’ts
DON’T: Shop using public wifi
With more and more public spaces and stores offering free wifi, it can be easy to forget that using public wifi can make you more vulnerable to hacking. Most sites now offer security measures like encryption to help protect your passwords and information. You can tell when encryption is running on a website when their web address starts with “https://”. So best practice here would be that if you must shop online with public wifi, only use those sites that have that encryption.
Do you know the hidden dangers of public wifi? Find out more about how to better protect your information and identity.
Most online stores will ask for information about you. You might need to share your name but there is no online transaction that should ever require your social security number or your birthday to do business. If you find yourself being asked for more than you care to share, trust your gut and shop elsewhere.
Don’t: Use a debit card
While you can use your debit card when shopping online, it is recommended that you use a credit card instead. Debit cards are more vulnerable to hacking and are high valued targets because they are linked to an actual account. In the event that fraud does occur, it is better to have used a credit card. In that scenario a credit card issuer deals with the problem without any real impact on you. If you use a debit card you may be without your cash until the bank resolves the dispute.
Protect Yourself Online
The experts at Union Community Bank are dedicated to providing you with top-notch security so you can have confidence in your financial stability. Check out the credit cards we offer and how we help keep you safe online.
Union Credit Card Benefits Include
- Earn cash, points, or travel rewards for your everyday purchases
- EMV smart chip technology for added security
- Mobile purchasing capability for added convenience
If you want to learn more about best practices for online safety, check out Invested in U’s Protecting Your Identity page for ways to keep your identity and banking information secure.