There are plenty of reputable online stores out there, but unfortunately there are plenty of scammers too. When you're online looking to spend some money, you need to take certain steps to protect yourself or you could end up with an empty bank account and a hefty stack of bills you didn't run up. To help you practice safe online shopping, we've outlined these tips for finding and verifying secure web pages. Use them any time you're making a purchase online, whether it's large or small.
The most basic indication of a trustworthy website is the little lock symbol on your web browser. When you visit a webpage and the lock shows open, it is unsecured. Any information you transmit to the website can be intercepted, and then some third party hacker might know the details of your wireless expense management account. Any website that shows a closed lock is secured. These are websites you can trust because the company that makes your web browser has checked their security certificates.
Another method of determining safe sites from malicious ones is to invest in a security suite such as McAffee or Norton. These companies make it their mission to find and identify websites that pose a security risk to your computer, and by installing their product their research will appear while you surf. For instance, if you search for 'hair salon' the safe sites in your results will be marked in green, while unsafe sites are in yellow or red. Some programs will even pop up a warning that there are problems with the website's security when you navigate to it directly.
Using an Intermediary
There are billions of websites on the internet, though, and no company can review them all. Therefore there will be some times when there is no information on the site you want to buy from. If that's the case and you really want to buy a product from them, you can go through an intermediary to have a more secure transaction than simply typing in your credit card number. The most popular type of intermediary is Paypal. If the site offers Paypal, make sure their link takes you to the real Paypal site and not a phishing or ghost site.
Securing Your Network
Even if you take the above steps, you can still become the victim of identity theft if you're operating over an unsecured wireless network, such as in a cafe or non-password protected home network, if there are hackers within range. To take steps against fraud while you're booking travel, filling out personal forms and entering credit card details - make sure your wireless network is password protected.