Money Bliss

Safety Tips for Online Shopping

I never fail to amaze people when it comes to my practice of e-commerce. I buy almost everything online and I transact online without fear. I purchase clothes, groceries, tickets, services, takeaway food including special cakes, stocks and investments ALL online. Sometimes, it worries me na nga eh, how heavily I rely on our e-commerce in terms of the online banking securities and consumer protection. But, what can I do? I can’t seem to live or function without paying my bills online, shopping online and grabbing rides online. The least I can do is to exercise due diligence and be extra cautious with my online dealings.

Here is what I do to increase my protection against cybercrimes:

I use PayPal for an extra layer of protection if the merchants allow payments through PayPal. I don’t automate my PayPal check out too. I need to log-in every time I want to pay using my PayPal account. So, I enrolled my credit cards in PayPal. Also, PayPal requires that shipping addresses are also enrolled with them. No one can use your PayPal account for payment and use their address for shipment.

An extra step won’t hurt. If merchants allow online bank transfer, I’m more inclined to choose it rather than directly encoding or giving my credit card details to the merchant sites. In online banking, you will have to log-in to your account (parang sa PayPal) and they will send you an OTP in your provided cellphone number (one-time-password) before they finalize your payment.

If there is no choice but to key-in your credit card details directly to the merchants’ site, make sure that the merchants’ site is protected. There are ways to do so like ensuring that the URL is https:. Search for the payment gateways’ reputation if you must (PesoPay, ePay, VeriSign, etc.). If it’s your first time to transact with a merchant, search for reviews online. And, last but not the least, ask your credit card companies for additional safety features like sending OTP for every transaction (or setting a limit for OTP) and sending notifications for every transaction. Remember the golden rule too – When in Doubt, Don’t!

Don’t use your Facebook account as a way to log-in to merchants account. I don’t think it is safe to use or share one account for various merchants. Set-up an account for each one. That I think is more secured. But, if you’ve already enrolled your FB account with merchants. Make sure you always log-out when using shared or borrowed gadgets. When you lose your phone, the very first thing you should do is change your FB account password. Just like if you lose your credit cards, cut them off immediately.

Maintain a separate phone where you receive OTPs. This phone should not have banking or merchant apps. Use strong passwords (like sentences – for you to remember) and know well your phone security features (automatic lock, lockdowns, etc.). Keep your software updated.

Be mindful of what you share online. You’ll never know who lurks around, right? Just recently, a chain FB post was circling around, asking people to disclose personal information like mother’s maiden name. Many forgot that mother’s maiden name is actually one of the verification questions being asked by credit card companies.

Other tips I learned about cyber security from a seminar I attended months ago are:

To avoid catching online viruses, don’t download without careful thinking. Ika nga, think before you click. Don’t click doubtful links sent to you by an anonymous person, through a generic mail or by someone you know who doesn’t really email you. Preview the URL and from there you’ll know if it is doubtful or not. Remember, simply opening and reading an e-mail is classified as low-risk. Clicking links is medium-risk while downloading and giving information already put you on high-risk.

With how fast technology and e-commerce is evolving, it has become inevitable to do things online. I believe that one can fight it (e-commerce) only up to a certain extent. I also believe that government and industries are not stopping to provide consumers better protection online. For now, let’s take some precautions on our own. Be cyber safe everyone! Your experiences, good or bad, and other tips on how to be cyber safe are very much welcome at the comment section below. Thanks! Have a safe online shopping!

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Bought this immaculately white IKEA shelf online.
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