4 Tips for Safe Shopping Online in 2024

Shopping on our smartphones has never been easier or more satisfying. It’s super fun because you get to “add to cart” unique pieces while lying on the couch, still dressed in your PJs. Plus, brands always show something new on their shopping websites. Add the fact that some pieces you see are only available through an online purchase, and you’ve got many people hooked.

While online shopping is incredibly convenient, it also comes with certain risks. If you’re a huge online shopper, being aware of these risks can help you shop more safely and prevent you from having a bad experience.

Here are some tips that can help you make your shopping more secure:

1. Shop from Secure Websites

Always buy from trusted websites. Check the padlock symbol in the address bar and make sure the URL starts with HTTPS. The letter “s” at the end means the website has a secure connection.

If you’re shopping on a new site, it’s wise to do a quick background check. A great idea is to look for customer reviews and ratings. If the site looks amateurish or offers deals that seem too good to be true, it’s better to avoid it.

Keep an eye out for scammers because they sometimes create fake websites that look similar to real ones.

2. Avoid Public Wi-Fi for Transactions

Public Wi-Fi is incredibly convenient but has a bad reputation. Cybercriminals are just waiting for you to start using it, and it’s easy for them to steal data transmitted through these networks.

So, if you’re itching to do some online shopping, avoid connecting to public Wi-it. If you must use free Wi-Fi unsecured by a password, ensure your connection is secure by turning on your Virtual Private Network (VPN). The VPN encrypts your data, protecting your personal information from bad actors.

3. Use a Credit Card instead of Debit

Online shopping and a credit card go hand in hand, wouldn’t you agree? Not many people know this, but it’s actually safer to use a credit card rather than a debit one. The former offers better protection because if your card details are compromised, the potential damage is limited to the credit limit, not your entire bank account. To add more peace of mind, know that many credit card companies have security policies for unauthorized transactions.

4. Install and Use Security Apps

A password manager is your best friend when it comes to creating strong, unbreakable passwords. It remembers them and fills them in as you shop.

An additional line of defense against bad actors is to keep your antivirus software up-to-date. Even better, invest in a full-featured security suite instead. This will include antivirus software to protect you against spear-phishing, spam emails, and phishing attacks that attempt to steal personal information by pretending to be legitimate websites.

Installing these apps doesn’t mean your work is done. Ensure that your anti-malware software is updated regularly. If not, any new threats—and there are always new threats—can reach your smartphone.

Why A VPN Matters

Investing in a VPN is one of the best things you can do so you’ll never have a headache when it comes to online shopping. Here’s why you should always shop with it:

1. Protection When Using Public Wi-Fi

We’ve all been there—sipping coffee in our homes or a coffee shop and suddenly remembering we need to buy a gift or snag a deal online. As mentioned above, you might be tempted to connect to a free public Wi-Fi without a VPN. Don’t!

This is where a VPN shines the brightest because it encrypts your internet connection. The encryption makes it nearly impossible for anyone to intercept your data. In other words, your passwords, credit card numbers, and other sensitive information are protected, even on public Wi-Fi.

2. Protecting Multiple Devices

Did you know that VPN services let you protect more than one device with a single account? You can protect your phone, tablet, laptop, and any other device you use to shop online.

Since we’re pretty much addicted to all of these gadgets, having that kind of protection on all of them will help you sleep better at night. If you have an iPhone, a great idea is to set up a VPN iOS app that keeps your online activities safe and private. That applies to any other operating system you use, be it Android or Linux.

3. Find Better Deals

Another benefit of using a VPN that not many shoppers know about is that it might let you get better deals. Have you noticed how the plane tickets you were eyeing yesterday are slightly pricier today?

Airlines, hotels, and even online stores change their prices based on your location and what you’ve looked at before. You can find better deals on the same things when you use a VPN to connect to servers in other countries. For example, a flight or hotel booking might be cheaper if booked from a different geographic location. It’s like having a secret passport that allows you to shop from anywhere in the world, potentially saving you from breaking the bank.

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