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COVID-19: 4 Online Shopping Tips During This Pandemic

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The COVID-19 pandemic has brought economic losses to nations and individuals alike. Some companies, both large and small, have declared bankruptcy due to this pandemic, causing many to be jobless. That’s why scam cases have risen over the pandemic, not only because some people want to make money, but some fall to online shopping scams.

If you’re more likely to shop online, here are some tips you can use during this pandemic:

  1. Search For Coupon Discounts

Before submitting your order, you mustn’t forget using a coupon code so you’ll be able to pay a discounted price. This is beneficial if you spend more time shopping online. What’s more exciting is the availability of various coupon codes for almost everything. At Don’t Pay Full, you can find promo codes you can use for various online shopping sites for any item.

From online courses to diet plan subscriptions, you can get as much as 50% off. You may even get discounts for some sites if it’s your first time purchasing from them. Or, you can even find free shipping coupons and other limited promo codes.

All you need is to search for codes, then check if there may be an applicable code for you. Especially if the site has an ‘Enter Promo Code’ box, you can easily find one online. Even if it’s just a 10% discount, it’ll be worth your one-minute search.

If you’re frequently buying online, and you find it a hassle to keep on searching for promo codes, you can use a browser plug-in. By installing a plug-in on your browser, it can automatically search for applicable codes for you. When lucky, you may hit big discounts.

  1. Check The Online Stores’ Security

Aside from shopping on trusted and well-known e-commerce sites, you may find yourself browsing on an unfamiliar shopping site. That’s alright because many entrepreneurs are now venturing into e-commerce. However, if you’re not careful, you might become a victim of cybercriminals.

If so, you might experience identify theft, malware spread on your device, or scam. That’s why, before purchasing on an online shop, you must check the site.

Look for the following signs to ensure that it’s a secure e-commerce site:

  • The site’s URL must contain ‘S’ in the HTTP (https). If it’s only an HTTP, the site isn’t encrypted or secured. If the e-commerce site’s encrypted, your information can’t be easily accessed and exposed to cybercriminals.
  • Aside from having an encrypted site, an e-commerce site with a trust seal indicates that they’re in partnership with a security partner. A trust seal appears in ‘Secure’ or ‘Verified,’ and you can click on these icons to verify if they’re legitimate. If you land on a verification page, then the site is indeed working with such a security partner.
  • The site should also have a privacy policy that states how it protects your collected information. With a privacy policy, the site is compliant with its country’s data privacy laws.

Also, it’s good to take the time to read the site’s privacy policy before giving out your personal information.

  • Lastly, the website shouldn’t contain signs of malware. Even if they’re encrypted, with trust seal, and has a privacy policy, a site can still get infected with malware.

If your search engine can detect websites with malware, you can easily see a warning. But if not, you must be wary of pop-ups, ads, or phishing kits. You’ll often find these malware signs if they’re containing a grammatical error, promoting miracle cures, or malicious advertisements. If you click on these, you might accidentally download malware that’ll infect your device.

  1. Don’t Shop Using Public Wi-Fi

Another online shopping tip you should always be wary of is using public Wi-Fi. Since the pandemic has brought longer lines in almost every establishment, online shopping can be a good way to ease the waiting time. However, if you find yourself using public Wi-Fi to shop, then better stop it.

While public Wi-Fi allows you to shop online when you’re out of data, it comes with security risks. Although a public Wi-Fi can be secured, most are unsecured. The unsecured network will let you connect without any login or password.

With such, you need extra precautions because of the following:

  • Snooping And Sniffing This technique allows cybercriminals to eavesdrop on Wi-Fi signals. When they do, they can see what you’re doing online.

If you’re shopping online and entered your personal information, cybercriminals who are snooping can capture your details. Imagine how much they can spend with your credit card information if they’re able to get your details.

  • Man-in-the-Middle Attacks (MitM) – Another way that cybercriminals use to eavesdrop on your web activity via a public Wi-Fi is through MitM. Since your data will go to point B (service/website) from point A (device), an attacker can easily read these transmissions if the public Wi-Fi is unsecured. Then, your personal information is already divulged.
  • Malware Distribution – Like in the previous section, you can get your device infected with malware when using an unsecured public Wi-Fi as well. Hackers can easily get into your connection and install a pop-up window to appear. If you accidentally download it, a malware will go into your device.
  1. Guard Your Personal Information

Lastly, you must guard your personal information when you shop online. Even if you’re in the most secure website, you can still pose risks on yourself if you’re not careful. That’s why the best defense to stay safe when online shopping is to be cautious when using your personal information.

For instance, if a company calls and asks your personal information, you should think twice before giving out the details. If they say they need your personal information for your order online, better do it on their site or calling their listed customer service number. That way, you won’t fall on the hands of impersonators who are likely to use your information for cybercrimes.

Also, if you’re using multiple online shopping sites, it’s best to create strong passwords. By doing so, you can avoid other people to access your accounts.

Conclusion:

Those are only a few of the tips you should do to enjoy shopping online during this pandemic. Since going to physical stores is risky nowadays, you can shop comfortably at home. But you must not spend all your money when shopping online because you can use coupon codes that are available online; you can use them to get discounts and save money.

When shopping online, you must also be wary of the sites you’re visiting and only divulge personal data on secured websites. If possible, avoid using public Wi-Fi to do online transactions, especially when you’re using your credit cards online.

Moreover, you should always protect yourself by being careful about how you use your personal information online. That way, you won’t be a cybercriminals’ target.

 

 

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at robert.cobb@theinscribermag.com

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