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How to Shop Online Safely

Let’s talk about the dangers of shopping online.

Your data can be stolen. It can be stolen from your computer, from your router, or from the online store from whom you’re buying. Your identity can be stolen. Identity theft is a major issue and a lot of people get exposed with poor online habits. And you can be scammed by fake sites and unscrupulous sellers. 

Online shopping can be dangerous, so here’s how to do it safely. 

Disable Auto-Fill

Most computers and smartphones have a feature called auto-fill or something like that. When your device detects that you’re filling in a form, it figures out what you’re doing and fills the rest out automatically. Lots of people use auto-fill when shopping, letting their browser fill in addresses, credit card information, and more. 

However, having your computer remember such details is a bad idea. The information can be accessed by hackers or used by someone who takes possession of your device. Here’s how to disable auto-fill on Safari, Chrome, Explorer, and Firefox. 

Don’t Save Credit Cards to Sites

It’s very tempting to save your credit card to online stores. However, every time you do, you’re trusting that site and any of their vendors with your private information. Plenty of major stores have had data breaches this year, including Best Buy, Sears, and Saks Fifth Avenue. When shopping online, make sure the site doesn’t save your information. Be safe and input your credit card information manually. 

Consider an Online Shopping Only Credit Card

One way to minimise your risk is to get a credit card that’s only used for online shopping. Make sure it has a low credit limit and keep it locked away. If this card gets compromised, you won’t be out a credit card for your day-to-day living and you’ll shield yourself from some risk. 

Read Up on Fraud Protection 

Make sure your credit card has some form of fraud protection. Also, make sure you understand what your card’s policy is in terms of fraudulent use or theft. 

Double Check Sites & Sellers

Maybe you like to shop at But it turns out you’re at A scammer has put up a nearly identical site, hoping that people will input their credit card information into their fake but real looking site. That example is fictitious, obviously, but this kind of scam is common.  

Also note that on sites like Etsy or Ebay, where you’re dealing with sellers instead of the sites themselves, you must use caution. Read plenty of reviews, track your packages, and keep your guard up. 

Check Statements Regularly

We’re bad about this too. It’s easy to just wait for the paperwork to arrive in the mail every month. Or the email to arrive in your inbox. But if you’re going to shop online, be sure to check up on your statements more regularly. Ensure that you have set up your credit card account such that it can be checked online or via your bank’s app. The faster you catch fraudulent use, the faster you can stop it. 

Use Guest Mode 

Every online store wants you to create a username, a profile, and take a bunch of your information. Why, we ask, does ordering pizza require all that?

Creating a profile makes sense when you use a store often. If you shop at Amazon every month, you might as well have a proper account with them. But if it’s your first time shopping somewhere and you’re unsure if this will become a regular thing, shop using a guest account. That way they don’t keep any of your data and you don’t have to worry about yet another account of which to keep track.   

Secure Your Router

All the smart passwords, good habits, and manual credit card entry in the world won’t save you if your router isn’t secure and a cybercriminal knows it. Here’s how to secure your router

Never Use Public WiFi 

Using public WiFi is dangerous. It’s an easy place for a cybercriminal to attack you. Don’t do anything involving money or credit cards over public WiFi. 

Use Strong Passwords

The best passwords are long but easy to remember. Here’s how to create them

Use Two-Factor Authentication 

For accounts that demand an extra level of security, including financial accounts like your bank and online store you use often, enable two-factor authentication. Here’s how and why

The Bottom Line

We aren’t saying that you should stop shopping online or that it’s extremely dangerous. We are saying that using caution when shopping online is a good habit to develop. Be safe out there.