The benefits of shopping online seem self-evident. With access to endless options, it's a convenient way to save time while also finding better deals, comparing prices, and getting harder to find items straight to your door. But online shopping also brings with it various risks that may not be as obvious. Depending on the sites you're using, you may be exposing yourself to potential security issues at varying levels.
Shopping with the Mulberry browser extension is a great place to start when it comes to security. You'll be able to find product protection plans for your purchases, meaning you're covered if your item arrives in less than perfect condition.
In this article, we will discuss what the risks of online shopping are, as well as how you can know if the site you are using is secure in order to make more informed shopping decisions.
What are the risks when you’re online shopping?
The main risk that comes with online shopping is identity theft or fraud. Because you are inputting your personal details, including credit card information, you expose yourself to hackers who can gain access to your data. Financial losses from fraud total in the billions each year, but there are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood that your identity will be stolen:
- Only shop on private Wi-Fi networks and avoid public Wi-Fi any time you input personal details, as public networks are more exposed to hackers.
- Use a credit card, rather than a debit card, as they offer more protection to help avoid fraudulent situations.
- Make sure you are shopping on a secure website.
What makes an online shopping website secure?
If you aren’t sure whether the site you're shopping on is secure, there are some characteristics to look out for. First and foremost, when in doubt, stick with larger retailers and big-name brands, as they will have the resources and infrastructure to create secure websites, and equally, you can be sure it’s not a scam.
However, among those major retailers, there is variation—not all sites are equally secure. To understand the level of security, check for these features:
- HTTPS instead of HTTP in the URL. The “S” stands for “secure” and means that the site is using encryption to secure the communication on its platform, making it more protected from hackers.
- Password strength indicator. When setting up your account and creating a password on a website, the best sites will tell you the strength of your chosen password. Creating strong passwords with random characters is a key step to keeping your personal data secure, and without an indicator, it’s challenging for website users to gauge themselves.
- Requirement for passwords with mixtures of characters. Similar to the above, requiring users to create passwords that meet security thresholds helps a website’s customers avoid negative incidents.
- Two-factor authentication. This is rare among e-commerce platforms, but websites that require you to input two sets of information rank as the most secure because typically, a hacker cannot pass through both steps.
Secure websites you should use
While this is not a complete list, here are a couple websites from major retailers that will provide you with a secure online shopping experience.
- Best Buy. The Best Buy login is considered highly secure, as it uses HTTPS and offers password guidance to users setting up an account.
- Amazon. The Amazon website and the Amazon shopping app are ranked as highly secure. Amazon is one of the few shopping apps to require two-factor authentication.
- QVC. The QVC login is regarded as fairly secure, as the site uses HTTPS, offers password guidance, requires security questions, and more. The only downside is they don’t allow users to create passwords of longer than 20 characters, which limits the amount of security that can be embedded into the password step.
Add to your security with Mulberry
As you focus on keeping your identity safe, also aim to keep your products and purchases safe by shopping with the Mulberry browser extension. You'll be able to view product protection for many of your purchases, earn rewards, and even qualify for free protection plans.