The Dangers of Online Shopping and How to Stay Safe

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This past Cyber Monday, consumers spent nearly $8 billion online, with over 54% of purchases made directly from smartphones. Two days prior, on Black Friday, online sales surpassed $6 billion.

The holidays are, of course, prime time for purchases in general, and are an extreme example of the amount of shopping we do online.

But if you’re like most of us, you do plenty of your regular, day-to-day shopping online too. Why go to a store and wait in line when, with a few taps of our finger, we can have the same item shipped right to our door in a day or two?

Online shopping is extremely convenient. But here’s the catch: if we don’t take proper precautions, it can also be extremely dangerous.

The risks of shopping online

Every time we make purchases over the internet, we are potentially opening the door to:

  • Viruses. A malicious link, site, or ad could easily infect your machine with viruses and malware.
  • Scams. Bogus “sales” can trick you into paying for something you’ll never receive, or into buying fake/counterfeit items.
  • Stolen account credentials. The email account and password associated with your purchase could be compromised. (And if you use those same credentials elsewhere, hackers can gain access to those accounts, too.)
  • Stolen financial information. Credit card information and bank information could give hackers full access to your finances.
  • Stolen identity. If more personal information is breached, you could fall victim to identity theft.

1. Use the right card

Only use a credit card that has fraud protection to make your purchase. If you use a debit card and your information is compromised, the hacker would have direct access to your entire bank account.

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