Now that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are a few months away, we’re pretty sure you’re preparing for the 2017 holiday sale!
However, the risks that online shoppers put themselves into last Thanksgiving are still present. Some of these risks are shopping on an unfamiliar or unsecured site for tempting offers and clicking on scam emails and fake advertisements. These risks also put companies at risk as their employees would also try searching for deals using their office computer. Not only does this affect productivity, but it will also put the entire company network at risk of infiltration.
Businesses who are engaged in online selling are at risk. Hackers are particularly fond of targeting ecommerce sites for they know that there are lots of money involved in their sites. Online shopping is truly a double-edged sword – convenience equates to risks.
Now that another online shopping spree is coming, you should be aware of how to keep online shopping a safe experience. That is why we have compiled a few tips on how you can safely shop and sell online this coming Thanksgiving.
Risks of Online Shopping
Before we proceed to our tips for safe online shopping, we would just like to share the risks that online shopping carries along with it. Sure, online shopping provide convenience to shoppers and businesses, but it also provide the following risks:
1. Identity theft
There are ecommerce sites that will try to get your personal and payment information so they can use them to make their own purchases. Some can do this by setting up fake websites that are intended to get your personal information, as well as your credit card or debit card number. Some others would really give you the products your ordered but when your credit card bill comes, you’d be surprised that there are more items than what you actually bought because they charged their own purchases to you.
Fraudsters are also present on ecommerce and some of them look legitimate businesses, where you believe you have completed your order. But no product will come to you at all. For some, they do receive an item, but they are a lot different from what was described.
3. Unsecured site
Some sites do not follow the standards on online safety and puts its shoppers on high risk of obtaining viruses and other malware. Hackers would also be able to get to your information if you are on unsecured sites.
4. Hidden charges
Sometimes, stores trick their shoppers by not disclosing certain fees like shipping and duties.
5. Getting counterfeit products
Before buying products, ensure that these are genuine. Some businesses are selling counterfeit products. They make these very sellable by offering it for a lower price than their genuine counterparts, but in reality, the cost of making these products are actually a lot lower than the price their selling it for. Big companies like Amazon is now suing businesses that are selling counterfeit products on its site.
1. Data Breach
Hackers would do all in their power to infiltrate your site. This is to get in touch with your customers’ credit and debit card numbers, as well as some other valuable personal information. This would totally destroy your business’ credibility and you might end up losing your customers.
Viruses, spyware, ransomware, and other malwares can get into your system, as well as your shoppers, and cause all sorts of havoc. Shoppers avoid sites that don’t guarantee their safety.
Tips for Safe Online Shopping
There are lots of risks for shopping online. But if you just follow our tips below, you could just be able to enjoy a hassle-free shopping experience at the comforts of your home, without worrying that you are exposed to risks.
To enjoy online shopping minus the risks, remember these tips:
1. Shop on secured and reputable sites only
Some sites would lure you with better offers. But more often than not, there are just baits so you will click on their site and fall to their trap. So shop only on reputable sites that guarantees security for its customers.
Before making a purchase, check the address bar. If the site is using HTTPS and that there is a lock symbol, then you are on a secured site.
2. Don’t shop when connected to a public network
Refrain from accessing sensitive sites, such as bank apps, shopping networks, emails, and other private applications and sites when you are connected to a public network. It will be easy for hackers to infiltrate a device that is connected to a public network.
3. Be cautious when paying
Before paying, ensure that you are on a secured connection. Credit card payments would require card details including your CVV and your card’s expiration date. For debit cards or payment cards, remember that you should not be asked for a PIN.
4. Read the terms and conditions
We rarely read this lengthy piece but it is advisable that you do read the terms and conditions. Clicking on the button that says that you have read it means that you understand the terms and that you are giving consent to the site for whatever they do as long as it is written on it. So again, please give a little time to read it.
5. Be aware of your consumer rights
It is best that you know your rights as a consumer. Check particularly the store’s return policy.
1. Choose a secure ecommerce platform
Set up an ecommerce site on a platform that can provide a thick layer of defense against security risks. Put your business on a platform that hackers won’t easily penetrate.
2. Use a secure connection for online checkout
Put your customers in a safe payment system and you will gain their trust. Keep them safe at all times. Secure sockets layer (SSL) is recommended for keeping payment secured.
3. Employ an address and card verification system
You are liable for verifying the authenticity of transactions done with your customers’ cards. Adding another layer of check is recommended. Having an address verification system and a requiring for the card verification value would reduce fraudulent transactions
4. Provide security training to employees
All of your employees should know the best practices in keeping your ecommerce business on a safe environment. Train them of the things they should and should not do to keep your business at the highest level of security. Educate your employees and make them aware of the risks.
5. Make sure you have a DDoS protection and mitigation service
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are on the rise, and they are becoming more complex. Consider using cloud-based DDoS protection and mitigation service so that you can keep your business running without so much investment on equipment.
6. Make sure you or whoever is hosting your site is backing it up–and has a disaster recovery plan
When the worst case scenario happens, make sure that you have a backup, so that you can shrug it off and start again. Prepare for the worse and you will not be taken lightly. Plus, you would not want to let go of the great opportunity to sell this Christmas season, right? So best that you are always ready. Choose only the best web hosting service for your ecommerce site. These top tier hosting services provide proactive protection features. A2 Hosting for example, provides the following for their security features:
- KernelCare – Daily, Automatic & Rebootless Kernel Updates
- Dual Web Hosting Firewall
- Brute Force Defense
- Virus Scanning
- Server Hardening
- 24/7/365 Security Monitoring
Make Online Shopping a Safe Experience for all
Online shopping is truly convenient, and that is why it’s a success. However, its success attracts a lot of evildoers to take advantage of people who unwary of the risks they are on. For both online shopper and online seller, you have the power to keep online shopping safe.
Our tips are not just for the holiday shopping season – these will help you all year round. So, follow these tips above brought to us by our friends at Sytian Productions Web Design Philippines, and let’s keep online shopping a safe and rewarding experience for all of us.