The introduction of smartphones and mobile applications has made online shopping easy and convenient. While the benefits of online shopping using a smartphone are numerous, safety remains a big issue, and many shoppers are finding themselves on the receiving end of scams and hacking attempts. Read on for six ways to improve your safety while shopping online using your smartphone.
1. Shop from reputable vendors
While safety is mostly your responsibility when it comes to online shopping, a great deal of it comes down to the cybersecurity strategy of the website or application you access. Most vendors require that you provide them with personal information during registration, meaning your data will be at risk of exposure in the event of a data breach. Reputable e-commerce stores have robust security strategies that keep your data safe from hackers and other intruders.
2. Use a virtual private network
Virtual private networks (VPNs) do more than hide your real geographical location. They also enhance your online security by encrypting the information you send from your device, making it unintelligible to any third party that intercepts the communication. That includes hackers and internet service providers. A good VPN for Android can help you access various e-commerce stores without the fear of giving up sensitive information to third parties. It also mitigates the dangers of browsing using public Wi-Fi.
3. Avoid shopping in public
When swiping, scrolling, and tapping away on our smartphones, we don’t always remember to check if someone is looking, but often we believe our activities wouldn’t interest a third party. That isn’t the case when you’re using your mobile phone to shop online. Even the best security strategy can’t help you if you enter your credit card number while someone is looking.
4. Use mobile applications
Most established online stores can be accessed from both websites and mobile applications. Websites offer more flexibility, as you can access them from any device that has a browser, but applications are safer to use. This is because many eCommerce stores offer the 2-factor authentication option on their mobile apps, but not their browsers. What’s more, websites have more channels for cybercriminals to attack than apps.
5. Don’t save your authentication credentials
Each time you enter a new username, the browser asks whether you would like to save the information. Allowing it can offer convenience, expedite subsequent log-in attempts, and even save you the hassle of memorizing your password, but it can jeopardize your safety. Data breaches are more prevalent than you think, and if someone hacks into your mobile phone, they can easily access your account if the authentication information is saved.
The convenience of online smartphone shopping comes with an increased risk for cybercrime. Use the above tips to increase your online privacy and safety without giving up your preferred shopping method.