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Fool-proof Online Shopping

FOOL-PROOF ONLINE SHOPPING

Within the internet or computer industry, the term “security” refers to the process, technique, or technology for ensuring that your computer and the data stored in it or sent through the internet, cannot be accessed by an intruder or unauthorized user.  This is an extremely crucial element within the online business or “ecommerce”.

Many of us who buy from online stores are primarily concerned with and drawn to the saving of time and energy, not to mention the convenience of online shopping.   Our demand has led to most products and services now being available on the internet – clothes, groceries, home appliances, cars, heavy equipment, and real estate. For businesses and consumers alike, common security features include but aren’t limited to: ensuring that passwords are secure, personal information is encrypted, and data involving credit or bank card transactions and funds transfers are encrypted and secure.

Most security concerns within the internet business deal with passwords and online transactions involving confidential financial data.  Experts and legislators have been and are continuously addressing these concerns through research, investigation, and legislation.  Nevertheless, we as consumers need to be armed with the knowledge of how to keep ourselves secure within the internet medium.  So, if you are planning on or regularly purchase goods and services over the internet, the following pointers would help:

  1. Use a firewall to warn you of suspicious or reported phishing sites. A phishing site is an imitation site.
  2. Buy from secure online stores. There are signs that a store is legitimate and trusted. They use security seals such as Verisign, RapidSSL, Geotrust, etc. which use encryption technology (translation into a secret code) to transfer confidential information securely. When you go to the order page, the site address usually has an https rather than an http. You can also see a padlock symbol at the bottom of your screen. Click the security seal to make sure it is real. It should lead you to the seal manufacturer’s website. If it’s an empty link, beware.

Here are some additional tips to ensure your online shopping experience is a safe one:

  1. Simply call the store’s phone number and ask some specific questions. They should have quick, detailed answers to prove that they are a legitimate business. If you are unfamiliar with the store, buy something inexpensive for a trial order.
  2. Choose a difficult password and keep it confidential. Do not use the same password in multiple sites or in your other online accounts.
  3. Use a credit card and not your debit card or ATM card in your online shopping. The law has security provisions to protect you from any illegal use of your credit card so you can dispute the charges and withhold the payment. This law does not apply to debit cards or ATM cards where payments are absolute and usually hard to contest. Try to use just one credit card for easy monitoring. Your online store’s SSL encrypts your credit card data to prevent any hacker from using them.  Most banks issue a supplemental ONLINE CREDIT CARD exclusively for your internet shopping. It usually has a lower credit limit than your main credit card. If you haven’t got one, call your bank and ask for it.
  4. Always log off from the ecommerce site after your transaction.

While there are real threats from online hackers, password crackers, con-artists and thieves, internet shopping still remains a safe and secure activity.  This is largely due to the intensive efforts of several sectors working to provide security to the ecommerce industry, and the efforts of the law and big industry players to protect the rights of the consumers and to track and punish cyber criminals.

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