In Canada, the practice of spending money online is becoming more and more commonplace with each passing year. In 2020, for example, the Canadian e-commerce market was estimated to be worth a cumulative $31.129 million, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8% forecast for the coming years. Over two-thirds of the population currently shop online.
Of course, that increased digital spending does mean that patrons are more susceptible to cybercrime. The internet opens up a whole new array of retail possibilities, but it also entails a new raft of risks and pitfalls which unscrupulous hackers and thieves are only too willing to take advantage of. With that in mind, here are a handful of top tips to keep yourself and your money safe online.
Use only safe networks
We’re all aware of the convenience of public Wi-Fi networks, especially when they don’t come with a password to navigate. But while they might be an easy way to look up directions or check the weather, they should never be used to conduct a personal or commercial business. That means that you should only ever log into any security point via a network that utilizes WPA-2 protocol encryption or another robust alternative.
Have you heard of two-factor authentication (2FA)? This ingenious innovation adds an extra layer of security to your account by requesting you to input a secondary piece of information alongside your password or access code. In this manner, a cyber thief may be able to steal your log-in information, but without access to your phone or email address account, they’ll still be powerless to get at your assets.
Check the sites you use
As well as the network you’re surfing, you must also guarantee that the sites you visit have adequate security protocols in place. Look for a tiny padlock in the address bar or an HTTPS:// (as opposed to just an HTTP://) at the start of the domain name to verify that the site uses a secure sockets layer to encrypt your data. Also be aware of phishing scams that may take you to fake pages that resemble the real thing, but are merely set up to steal your details.
Employ an e-wallet
Many people are concerned about inputting their sensitive information into a website for fear of being hacked. As long as you use reputable domains, such an outcome shouldn’t occur, but you can enhance your security online further by using an e-wallet to store your spending money. For those who prefer to shop with cryptocurrency, the same advise applies. Do your due diligence and scour the market to find a top-notch offering such as the MetaMask wallet, which deploys encryption technology to keep your crypto assets safe from would-be thieves.
Read user reviews
Last but not least, it’s a good idea to listen to the opinions who have been there and done that when it comes to conducting business with a certain retailer online. That way, you’ll be able to ferret out sites that offer a better user experience in comparison to others, as well as those which provide robust customer support mechanisms. Then, even if the worst does come pass, you know that you’ll have someone reliable in your corner to help you recoup your money.
Follow these five steps and your money should be as safe as possible from the unwanted advances of criminals and thieves when shopping online.