How to keep your information safe when online shopping


Online shopping is something of an obsession in the Philippines. With online retailers such as Shopee and Lazada consistently offering sales, discounts, and free-shipping days, you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t shop online. In fact, an e-commerce report on Esquire Magazine notes how Filipino online shoppers spend an average of PHP4,000 every month. The numbers grow by 30% during peak times, as well as the holidays due to all the Christmas shopping.

The convenience and variety available online is often tempting for consumers, but it’s also rife with virtual threats. While most platforms have built-in security measures to ensure user information and payment details are kept safe, it’s still good to secure things from your end. Here are some quick tips:

Buy from your phone, not from your computer

Apps are infinitely more secure than websites. Hackers would need to create specific attacks for every app. And between firewalls and interwoven security measures, not a lot have attempted to do so. Although plenty of us already do this, it’s doesn’t hurt to be reminded.

Have different passwords for each account

Shopee and Lazada may be the most popular platforms, but most consumers shop from dozens of other online retailers, too. Due to the sheer number of accounts, it can be tempting to use the same password. But what if a third party gets hold of it? They would be able access to every website you’ve used the password on. Getting a password manager like KeePass and Roboform can help you come up with stronger and more secure passwords and remember them. Alternatively, you can jot your passwords down in a small notebook or notepad app.

Keep your systems (both operating and anti-viruses) updated

Sometimes, the most effective way to protect your data is to let technology do all the heavy lifting. HP claims that malware is the most common type of cyber attack, and it works by entering through your system’s vulnerabilities. Regular updates are the first step to stopping malware in its tracks. It can get a bit repetitive, but these updates are frequent because developers are constantly working to secure your systems against these ever-evolving attacks. So think about that next time you skip the latest update.

Use a credit card, not a debit card

You might think it’s more convenient to just straight-up pay from your bank account, but you couldn’t be more wrong. When you find suspicious activity on your credit card, at least you haven’t lost the money yet. It will also be easier to file a report or dispute, as all they have to do is cancel the transaction—instead of getting money back that has already gone.

Check your bank account for fraudulent activities

Credit card data leaks aren’t always your fault. Sometimes, it’s the companies or shopping websites that get hacked. Although a major breach hasn’t happened in the Philippines yet, plenty of shoppers from international sites such as Amazon have already been victims of hacks. Periodically review your bank account and check for any suspicious activity.

There’s every reason in the world to shop online: the sales, selections, and even returns are easier with the right vendors. However, it’s also because of these advancements that you should be ever more careful. Keep these tips in mind the next you shop online.

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