Which one of us has not been bitten by the shopping bug? While transacting online is sheer convenience and also offers it own advantages, there are websites that have international shipping at nominal costs, priority shipping facilities especially the online stores that are based in the US. As a support function to this booming industry there are also services that offer personal shopper services, mail forwarding facilities and provision of US address to foreign shoppers and the like. The web has now centered its focus to facilitate online shoppers with a vortex of growing support services.

However, there always is an element of danger that lurks around the corner when you begin divulging details of your credit card in multiple sites as you shop. Frequent shoppers online are vulnerable to attacks on their privacy with malware and spy programs that steal away details of credit cards.

So how you do protect yourself?  Start with these simple tips.

1)      Shop on familiar sites even if they are US based stick to tried tested and recommended. Unfamiliar sites may even provide lucrative offers such as free international shipping or low freight cost etc do not fall for any such trap.

2)      Shopping from the mobile today gives the same experience as you would shop from a computer, be extra careful as the  shortened URLs used are more phone-friendly can also easily trick you into visiting a risky site . Mobiles are most often not as much protected as a computer.

3)      Take extra care on public networks and free Wi-Fi, as these hotspots do not take care to encrypt data exchanged. Do not disclose card details or shop while you are on a public network.

4)      Keep track of your card statements and cross verify after each purchase. These days all debits and credits into the account are informed via an SMS by the bank, pay attention to them.

5)      There is something called a virtual credit card number which allows you to shop online without revealing your real account number. These temporary credit card numbers are issues by the bank for a limited transacting period.

6)      Stick to one credit or debit card for all online transactions, especially for those international.

7)      Remember to always consolidate all your orders and make payment via a single card.

8)      An easy tip would be to look for HTTPS in a websites URL as against HTTP- the additional S just means that information exchanged is secure.

9)      Post giving out payment details especially, refrain from clicking on any unauthorized link or email links- this most often lead to spammy sites that pull out your details without you knowing it.

10)   It pays to pay attention to all hidden costs risks terms and conditions mentioned in the company’s privacy policy. Especially if it is your first time with them.

11)   Ensure that you change your credentials with the website now and then, especially the passwords.

12)   Update your browser as and when you receive a notification, this helps too.

A wary shopper is the one who benefits the most from his online experience, stop think and proceed before you give into all shopping whims.






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