8 Online Shopping Tips To Protect Yourself This Monkey Year

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Festive holidays are usually times to kick back and enjoy the break with family and friends. During Chinese New Year its also a tradition to give loved ones especially those who are still unmarried Ang Pao’s- red packets with money for luck.

With all that collected ringgit the temptation to spend them is quite common, with many malls still closed and the 24/7/365 nature of online shopping just a click away, here are 8 tips to not get your lucky Ang Pao money cheated from you during this auspicious season.

  1. Don’t shop at a site if you’re not comfortable—If you feel that the site may not be secure, you’re probably right. Little things such as misspellings, requests for excessive personal information, and low-resolution logos and photos may be warning signs.
  2. Never click on links from spam emails like giving you CNY cash to make purchases—It’s always a bad idea to click on a link in an email from someone you don’t know, but it’s particularly dangerous if you buy on a site advertised in a spam email. Always try to use a search engine to locate legitimate e-tailer sites.
  3. Check the web address to make sure you are on the correct site—Once you arrive at a site, you need to make sure that it is legitimate and not a fake or spoofed version. Look at it carefully for red flags.
  4. Check that the site is secure—Look for a security seal, indicating that the site has been scanned and verified as secure by a trusted third party. This security seal indicates that the site will protect you from identity theft, credit card fraud, spam and other malicious threats.

    In addition, check to see if the site uses encryption—or scrambling—when transmitting information over the Internet by looking for a lock symbol on the page and checking to make sure that the web address starts with “https://”, rather than “http://” which indicates that encryption is being used.

  5. Use a credit card or an online payment service—If the site turns out to be fraudulent, your credit card company will usually reimburse you for the purchase; and in the case of credit card fraud, the law should protect you. Some credit card companies even offer extended warranties on purchases. With debit cards, it can be more difficult to get your money back and you don’t want your account to be drained while you’re sorting things out with your bank.

    Another option savvy shoppers sometimes use is a one-time-use credit card, which includes a randomly generated number that can be used for one transaction only. If the number is stolen it cannot be used again. Using this type of credit card also ensures that a thief does not have access to your real credit card number.

    Online payment services, like PayPal also offer another way for you to pay for your online purchases. These services let you pay with an account from the online payment service, without having to share your bank or credit card information with e-tailers.

  6. Use only your own device to shop online—Computers save or “cache” information to speed up your Internet experience. And, if you are using a public computer or friends, information such as your browsing history and even your login information may be accessible to otherss who use the computer after you. If you leave the computer without logging out of certain sites, others might be able to access your accounts. To protect yourself, do all of your online shopping from your secure home computer.
  7. Only use a secure connection when you place your order—Never shop using an unsecured wireless network because hackers can access your payment information if the network is not protected.
    You also want to make sure that your computer is protected with comprehensive and up-to-date security software  which helps safeguard you from viruses, spyware and other emerging threats. Additionally, it protects against  keylogger malware on your machine, which is malicious software that records your keystrokes, including when you type in your credit card numbers and other personal details that you type on your keyboard.
  8. Use strong passwords— Choose passwords that are difficult to guess and are at least 10 characters long consisting of a combination of numbers, letters, and symbols. Remember to keep your passwords private and don’t set your computer to remember your credit card number or password when you create an account on an online shopping site. Also, don’t enter your personal information into popups or at any web page that asks for personal details above and beyond standard requests. For example, you should never have to reveal your Social Security number to an online shopping site.

(courtesy of security specialists: McAfee)

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