With Christmas just 11 days away, shopping is still in full swing for most consumers around the world. According to a survey of shoppers by the National Retail Federation, as of Thanksgiving 2016, only 9 percent of US shoppers are finished with their Christmas buying.
With the majority of shoppers choosing to shop online, the last thing you want is your gift secret to be spoiled by those annoying re-targeting ads that track everything you searched and clicked on. You also don’t want your credit card number stolen. So here are 6 tips on how to make the rest of your holiday shopping secret, and safe. Bonus tip: these are all FREE!
- Stay safe while performing a web search – Always check that the connection to the online store where the payment is done is secured. This can be observed first if the URL is starting with “https” and second if a small lock is present in the top left corner of the browser in the URL field (in Chrome) or the name of the website is written in a colored rectangle(in Firefox,IE). If the web browser gives any warnings about the security certificate of the website, then do not proceed to purchase anything from that website.
- Make sure the website has a good reputation – If you don’t know the website you plan to buy from, always check its reputation first. Search for comments from other users about that website. Searching for “<website> reputation” usually gives good and relevant results.
- Only give your financial details to reputable websites – Try to choose payment methods which don’t require payment upfront. If PayPal is an option, choose that whenever possible. Otherwise, if you’ve ensured the safety of the website you’re on and you feel good about its reputation, then pay with a credit card.
- If you must use a credit card, stay safe and secure – If you’re shopping on a mobile device or on a PC while on a public Wi-Fi and you have to use a credit care, you will want to take advantage of a good VPN product. With a VPN, you can browse the Internet anywhere (airport, office building, public Wi-Fi, etc.) and remain anonymous, unhackable and untraceable. If you’re on a mobile device (Android or iOS) or a PC or Mac, a VPN product will keep you safe from the bad guys that are always lurking.
- Always double check your bank accounts – To ensure the amount you spent on a website matches what your bank statement says, check your account often during the shopping season to make sure all amounts are in alignment. If there is a discrepancy, contact the website where you made the purchase.”
- Keep your browsing private! – If you’re browsing for an engagement ring, or a new car for your significant other, browse freely knowing that if they use your computer right after you are done, they will not be bombarded by advertisements for rings or cars or the last items you searched for. Private browsing is pretty important if you want to keep a little white lie during the holidays. Avira Browser Safety actually blocks any kind of tracking that websites might deploy on any Firefox browser and that will keep all your holiday shopping a secret from anyone who might use your device.
Shopping online doesn’t have to be risky or something you have to think twice about. It should be very easy and natural, especially if you know 100% that your transactions, shopping history and browsing in general is safe from any kind of attack or vulnerability.
We’ve guessed that most reading this post have not completed their shopping yet, so what are you waiting for … get out there and shop safely.