Friday, July 15, 2011

Purchasing Products Safely on the Internet

          Shopping online is a great way to compare and buy items from the comfort of your home. However, online shopping requires the user to use personal information to buy products and services. This means that online shoppers are prime targets for hackers. To make safe business transactions over the internet, consumers need to make sure that their computers have basic security. Basic security includes an anti-virus program that is updated and scanning on a regular basis, a firewall, and secure passwords for online accounts. Keep in mind that basic security does not completely protect the user from online theft. Hackers realize that most users have some form of basic computer security and have prepared new ideas to work around the security.

          When a customer walks into a physical store, it is easier for him to verify that he is buying from a legitimate business. Unlike a physical store, online fake websites can be easily created to look almost exactly like a legitimate business website. This is why it is so important for users to protect themselves. When verifying the legitimacy of an online business, one detail that I look for is the physical address and location of the business. A quick Google search can confirm whether the online website is indeed legitimate or a fake.

          After you have done your research and gathered enough evidence to come to a decision on whether or not you would like to do business with an online store, take into consideration that your personal information is vulnerable when you transmit it to the website. To protect information online, businesses use encryption to protect your personal data as it travels across the internet. When data is encrypted, it is sent in code and can only be read using a specific key generated by the computer. Without this unique key, the encrypted message looks like a bunch of gibberish.

          You can verify that you are connected with a secure connection when you see a bright green lock that is closed on the top left side of your address bar. The exact location of this green lock can depend on the type of internet browser that you are currently using. Just because you see this green lock doesn't mean that the website and connection are guaranteed to be one hundred percent secure. Hackers are good at what they do and realize that if they post a picture of a green lock, users might be tricked into thinking that their fake website is legitimate.

          Another security measure you might want to try is to only use one credit or debit card for all of your online purchases. This is a smart tactic because you can keep a low credit limit on the credit card or a limited amount of money in the account associated with the debit card in case your information is stolen. In addition, certain credit card companies compensate customers for identity theft. Keeping track of financial records and online purchases is a great way for detecting theft and protecting your personal information. Overall, this technique is a great way to protect yourself by limiting the amount of damage if your information is stolen.

          In any case, it's best to do your research and to use your common sense before making an online purchase. Taking fifteen to twenty minutes to verify a purchase might sound like a hassle, but just think of what you might get yourself into if someone gets a hold of your money, information or both. Take your time and play it safe. Still having doubts about the legitimacy of an online business? In my opinion, you should just walk away. Try buying the product that you are looking for on a different website that you can trust.

No comments:

Post a Comment