According to a survey by American National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), recently published by major news portals, half of Americans do not carry out normal online tasks anymore because of fears for online privacy and security.
Out of 41,000 households surveyed, 45 per cent said they decided to avoid doing financial transactions online, buying goods or services, posting on social networks, or expressing opinions on controversial or political issues via the Internet.
This shift in American online activity negatively influences a big number of companies and online retailers, just at the time when many companies are moving their sales online. Avoidance of online activities also restricts the freedoms that Internet users should have with the evolution of technology, such as comfortably shopping online or paying their credit cards.
Are these fears legitimate?
Reports show that the growth in online shopping is proportionate to the rise of criminal credit card fraud since many online shops and their clients are not aware of simple safety precautions as we are progressing into all-digital age.
Online stores are huge targets for attacks by hackers who try to steal users’ financial details and then use it for money laundering or other schemes. There are many ways e-shopping can become hazardous to any user. Examples can include finding a spoofed fraudulent website set up by hackers to steal private data. Or the online store may not be using a secure enough encryption protocol to ensure that their customers’ details are safe during the payment process. Or a customer’s account on the shopping site may get compromised, giving the hacker access to the account.
How to shop online safely
In order to stay safe when shopping online or conducting any other activities, there are somesimple tips everyone should know about.
Look out for https
The first thing you should always see while making an online payment is whether the payment gateway has an https URL. The ‘s’ in the URL means that it is a secure protocol and your data is encrypted properly.
Stay away from public wifi
It cannot be stressed enough how dangerous it is to share your personal or financial information with any website or any person over the internet while using a public internet connection. Public wifi networks are common hunting grounds for attackers and data snoopers who try to access your personal information and use it for their benefit on your expense. Since public networks have negligible security, you should try and avoid using them while making online payments.
Being vigilant can help you a lot in the task of shopping online securely. Whenever a website requests for more information than is usually required, like your Social Service number or any other kind of personal information, it usually spells fraud. You should always be cautious before giving your personal or financial details anywhere on the internet.
Use a VPN
VPNs encrypt all the data you share across the Internet on any website. They are the best security mechanism you can employ to make sure the data you share over the Internet is safe from prying eyes and remains confidential. You can choose good VPNs like NordVPN, which offers great connection speeds, uses good encryption protocols, has good global coverage and is quite reasonably priced.
Create stronger passwords
Perhaps the most basic requirement for any online account set up is using strong passwords. Weak passwords make it simple for hackers to break into your account and cause severe damage to you.
We live in an exciting digital era, and everyone should be able to take full advantage of Internet without any fears. The methods listed above can help anyone execute any online transactions securely. If something looks out of the ordinary and the deal looks too good to be true, it’s important to be very careful before clicking on suggested links.
Jodi Myers at NordVPN