This is a guest post from Ayo Alaran, co-founder of Paazi, a “shop & ship from America to Africa” company based in the US.
Secure online shopping is very possible but many people still fall victim to various online shopping scams such as phishing. Ensuring that your information is safe is a key ingredient to secure online shopping.
We suggest your taking the steps below to ensure the safety of your online shopping experience.
1. Avoid storing your debit or credit card information with any online merchant.
2. Assume that employees at the online merchant can and will see your password. Try to use different passwords for different merchants.
3. Make sure your password is strong. Try to use a password that has at least one of the following: small letter, capital letter, special characters (%$#!*@), and numbers. You can use this password meter to check the strength of your password.
4. Watch out for emails that claim you need to update your debit or credit card information. Unscrupulous people may be looking to steal your information through a method called phishing.
5. Avoid using public computers (like computers at internet cafes) to make online purchases. The truth is that you have no idea who has installed programs on the computers. They could be collecting your information without your knowledge
6. Make sure you have the latest Anti-virus and firewall installed on your computer. There are paid and free anti-virus software. We recommend Norton 360 or you can try the Free AVG antivirus
7. When you are checking out, make sure that https:// is in the browser. Do not put your payment information on a page that does not have https and the padlock.
8. Safeguard your cards. there is really no reason for anyone (even your close family members) to know your card numbers or PIN. Remember that if they know, they have access to your money. It would be the same as giving them a signed blank check to your account.
9. Shop at as few sites as possibles. Sites such as Amazon.com have a wide selection and are safe.
10. Protect your passwords and PINs in safe places and closely monitor your credit and debit card statements.
Your comments and thoughts are welcomed.