Online Shopping Is Convenient: How to Stay Safe from Hackers?

The old-fashioned way of shopping in brick and mortar shops is, for many of us, a thing of the past. The hectic lifestyle of today’s working woman does not leave nearly enough time to do grocery shopping, pick clothes and buy essentials for the house within the limited hours we have after work every day. Cutting down on the amount of time spent in commuting and picking out items could be valuable hours that are spent better when we devote time to our loved ones or our hobbies instead. This is one of the reasons e-commerce is growing – and it seems that the trend will continue well into 2018.

E-Commerce Is on the Rise

Buying groceries was made easier with the option to order online and have your shopping delivered to your door from major providers like WholeFoods or Trader Joe’s. Yet e-commerce continues to be dominated by Amazon, which has seen unprecedented growth in recent years – which helped its CEO and founder Jeff Bezos top the Forbes Richest 2018 List with a record $112 billion, with Bill Gates settling for second place with just $90 billion. In December 2017 alone (which includes the buying frenzy of shopping for Christmas gifts), consumers spent a whopping 22.6 billion minutes browsing Amazon, while they devoted a mere 6.2 billion minutes to eBay, 3 billion minutes on Walmart’s website and 1.2 billion minutes on Target.

Infographic: Amazon Dominates Online Shopping in the U.S. | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

Macy’s was even lower on the list with 0.7 billion minutes spent online and Barnes & Noble clocked in just 500 million minutes. Interestingly, it seems that mobile devices are more popular for browsing, accounting for 64% of time spent on retail websites in Q4 2017, but consumers still prefer a desktop for their purchases, which account for 76% of dollars spent shopping online. Whether people choose their smartphones or laptops, it is obvious that e-shopping as a trend is constantly growing, as consumers are becoming more and more familiar with the process and online stores keep upgrading their services.

How to Stay Safe Online

With this increase in traffic comes the increased focus of cybercriminals who are out to scam you and steal important information like your banking details. When shopping online, it is important to remember to take simple steps in order to stay safe. Especially when using your credit or debit card, make sure that the website you are using to buy online complies with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) – a set of security requirements agreed upon in 2004 by major credit card providers like Visa, MasterCard, Discover Financial Services, JCB International and American Express, which compels websites to add security measures like firewalls and encryption to dissuade hackers and prevent fraud.

Source: Pexels

As an extra step, never allow the website to store the information, especially if it is a one-time purchase. Take the extra time and effort to insert your details every time, as recent data breaches have shown that even major companies like Equifax and Yahoo are not safe from hackers. Shop online only from retailers that you know and trust and avoid too-good-to-be-true deals, as they are very often carefully designed scams that aim at getting access to your financial data. And, of course, always look for the padlock icon on the top left corner of your browser that denotes a secure connection before going through with a payment.

E-shopping can be convenient, time-saving and fun – but it is always best to stay on the safe side, as the consequences of stolen credit card details could be financially devastating.