8 tips to shop safely online

Online shopping  is a form of electronic commerce which allows consumers to directly buy goods or services from a seller over the internet using a web browser or a mobile app.(wikipedia)

Online shopping involves a greater deal than just clicking on the products and ordering for it. You should consider things like; will my order be delivered? Is the merchant payment system secured? Am I shopping on the right website?

So when next you want to shop online you can use this tips as your to-do list.

  1. Is the merchant reputable?
  2. A website you have been shopping with over a long period of time or a website you were referred to by a friend is much more trustworthy than the one you found online either from ads or surfing the internet randomly.
    If you fall into the latter category, you can do a background check by looking for reviews of the merchant on other platforms like Nairaland(A very good resource), Facebook,Instagram and other social media platforms. If eventually you don’t find anything about the merchant, that could serve as a red flag.
  3. Are my  details transmitted to the server securely?
    All sensitive data like passwords, credit-card details e.t.c are meant to be transmitted to the server in an encrypted format. How is that done? It is made possible via the use of SSL(secure sockets layer), hence the “https” that precedes websites urls where “s” stands for “secured” as in “HYPER-TEXT TRANSFER PROTOCOL SECURED”, so whenever you enter your details it will be encrypted with a private key which can only be decrypted by a corresponding public key which is only possessed by the server. If an attacker should attempt to intercept your connection, their effort would be fruitless. Unsecured websites use “http”.
  4. Can my password be guessed easily ?
    When creating password for a merchant website, try to make it as unique as possible and avoid using the same password on multiple website because a security breach on one can endanger the rest to avoid this, I will recommend you use a password manager e.g LastPass,keeper,1password e.t.c
  5. What type of data does this website store about me?
    Always read their privacy terms and conditions before signing up. They might be requiring more data than necessary. So you can choose to decline.
  6. In everything you do, avoid using a public/untrusted Wi-Fi to shop online.
  7. Whenever you find a trusted website, you can bookmark it so you don’t always have to type the website URL. A mistake in the URL can lead you to a malicious website which is designed or a replica of the website you want to visit.

E.g The real website for Jumia is https://www.jumia.com.ng but an attacker can go ahead to register https://www.jumia.com with the same feature as the original website but for malicious purposes.

Always be wary of that.

  1. Does this website store my card details?

Always read their compliance policy or perhaps call their customer care unit and ask questions, if they do store the details, what are their security policies? How secured is the storage location? Are their PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard)  certified?

  1. You can use a virtual card, so with this you are only giving out temporary card details. Services like barter by flutterwave offers this type of solution.

If by any means your card details is compromised you can report to your bank or if you are using a virtual card you can block it yourself instantly.

I do hope you have been enlightened with the listed tips. Don’t forget to share with friends.

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