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10 Tips to Keeping Your Information Safe When Buying Online

by Tim Brunicardi on October 24, 2018

Online shopping clearly has its advantages, the first being the convenience of shopping anywhere and at anytime. This process also allows consumers to shop around for the best bargains and have their purchases delivered directly to their doorstep.

Mid-section of a man using laptop in cafeteria

However, shopping for merchandise online has one major disadvantage: it can potentially be very dangerous. Many times naïve shoppers can accidentally provide scam artists with enough of their personal information to max out their credit cards beyond repair.

So in the interest of helping consumers have a safer online experience, here are 10 tips to shopping safer online.

  • Never make any online shopping purchases from a public computer.
  • Do some research and get to know more about the merchant you’ll be dealing with.
  • Be sure to read the Terms and Conditions before you purchase a gift card.
  • Steer clear of any offers that seem too good to be true.
  • If the site you’re shopping at requires you to create a password, make it an unusual one.
  • Read customer reviews that focus on the consumers overall shopping experience.
  • Watch out for fake customer reviews that offer more praise than actual details about a person’s shopping experience.
  • Consider creating a PayPal account and use this to pay for your online purchases.
  • Read over the shipping terms of the company you’re dealing with.
  • Always trust your gut instincts in regards to moving forward with a purchase or not.

What Do I Do if I Become a Victim of an Online Scam?

If you believe that you're a victim of an online scam, be on the lookout for any unauthorized charges on your bank or credit card statements. If you find something suspicious, contact your bank or credit card company and report the scam immediately. In addition, contact and file a report about the incident with the Federal Trade Commission.

How Can I Spot an Online Scam?

There are several things consumers can look for when trying to spot a scam online. For instance, cybercriminals usually use email links, tweets, and online advertising to steal your information. If you receive one of these and it looks suspicious, check out its source before clicking on it.

In addition, watch out for offers that try to tempt you to make an impulsive purchase. Remember that if it seems too good to be true, it's most likely a scam.

Lastly, protect your accounts by using the most effective authentication tools like security keys or a one-time code through a mobile app.

person shopping on phone

Where Can I Find Out More About Cyber Security?

Hocking College now has a Cyber Security and Network Systems program. In only four semesters, students can graduate with an Associate of Applied Science in Cyber Security & Network Systems Technology. All students need to succeed in the program are some basic computer skills and a willingness to learn.

For more information on Hocking College’s Cybersecurity & Network Systems Program, contact Cybersecurity and Network Systems Program Manager, Mark Riley at rileym24177@hocking.edu or by phone at (740)753-7209.

cyber security degree