Good bargains, more options, quick shipping and easy returns—there’s a good reason why everybody likes shopping online! As convenient as it is though, there is always a fear lurking every time you hit the buy button. The World Wide Web is filled with all kinds of cybercriminals and studies reveal that online shoppers are one of the most susceptible victims. But you probably already knew that and it has never really stopped us from splurging on a sale. We’re not going to be giving up on online shopping anytime soon but since today is Safer Internet Day, we thought it would be helpful to share with you a few measures you can take to stay safe. To help you understand online security and shop safely, we spoke to Diptaroop Mondal, Assistant Manager, IT and Cyber Security at Tata CLiQ. Because who better to explain how you can stay safe when you shop online than the person who handles end to end security for an e-commerce shopping website? Here’s what he had to say about it.

How do you know a shopping website is secure?

The most important part of online shopping is the checkout page where one chooses the payment method and enters the payment information. Here, one must look at the URL bar of the browser and see if there is a Padlock icon (usually in green colour) and that the URL starts with https://. If not then you should leave the website without having a second thought because the data is not encrypted and is insecure, and this is likely a fraudulent website. No Https is equivalent to no security. Also Read: These Bezel-Less Smartphones Under Rs 20,000 Are the Trendiest Phones to Buy

What about mobile shopping apps?

Before using an app one should first check the reputation of the brand before purchasing. This is important because well-known organisations take care of security properly. Read the policies of the website to check the authenticity of the app.

Comparatively, is it safer shopping on a websites or mobile apps?

Nowadays smartphones can basically do everything a computer can do, but that does not mean they are as protected against threats as your desktop. It has been observed that most of the phones are not equipped with antivirus software, so it is easier for black hats to inject malware on your mobile device that could help them steal information you enter. Antivirus software plays a very important part in the world of security. It’s not so much about which platform between a desktop or mobile is safer but more about making sure that the device is protected with proper antivirus software.

Credit or debit card? Which one is better to use when shopping online?

When shopping online, it is recommended that you use a credit card over a debit card. The reasons are as follows:
  • A credit card has a limit, which is not applicable in the case of debit cards.
  • If we buy something from a scam site using a debit card, cheque or cash, there's no way to get that money back. If you use a credit card, the card companies have to reimburse you for fraudulent charges under the Fair Credit Billing Act.
  • Unlike debit cards, credit cards are not linked directly to your bank accounts.
  • However, if you urgently need to shop on an unfamiliar site, there's a neat little thing called a virtual credit card number that allows us to shop online without exposing your real account number.
  • Another great solution is to use payment processors such as PayPal that offers specific benefits and protections for the consumer.

How does one make sure their online payment page is secure?

All transactions should be secured with SSL protocol, which Tata CLiQ is compliant with. Using SSL helps encrypt the information so that card details and all other sensitive data is protected. The SSL is symbolised by a padlock icon in the URL bar, and the web address begins with https.

How can one be safe when using public Wi-Fi when shopping online?

Don’t use public Wi-Fi to shop! You can never be too sure that others are not scanning the network’s activity and collecting your personal or financial information. Even on a trustworthy public Wi-Fi network such as a hotel connection, it’s possible that the network is actually being run by a malicious entity and named after a popular restaurant or store nearby.

Is it a good idea to save your card details on a shopping portal for convenient payments in the future?

No matter how we buy, where we shop, or what we use to purchase, it is recommend to never ask a website to remember your personal information.

Give us a checklist on how to stay safe when shopping online.

  1. Use proper antivirus software and update it regularly.
  2. Check the company’s privacy policy before completing  any sort of transaction.
  3. Update your browser.
  4. Don’t click on email links which could possibly have a malware attached to them.
  5. Use a strong password and change your password regularly.
  6. Only shop on websites whose URL begins with a HTTPS rather than HTTP.
  7. Keep all software up to date.
Happy (and safe) shopping! Also Read: Shades Of Love: Wear Head-to-Toe Red This Valentine’s Day Cover Image Courtesy: Shutterstock.com

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