Here we are – the holiday season is upon us once again! That fun andenchanting time of year that both adults and children await impatiently.
And nowadays, holiday shopping starts online.
A recent survey* reveals that a massive 86% of respondents intend to do at least some of their holiday shopping online – from gifts (69%) to Christmas music and games (13%) to travel tickets to visit family and friends (14%).
And maybe you’re one of those who will do some or all of your holiday shopping online, from any one of the thousands of e-commerce websites located in your own country or abroad. And why not? It makes perfect sense! It’s so much more convenient than having to queue up in stores and carry heavy shopping bags home with you.
But let’s be careful! Take a moment to think about your online security when shopping this holiday season.
For example, security experts advise using a different password for every shopping website you visit. However, this is not easy in practice. Because there are so many online stores, it’s often difficult or even impossible to remember a different password for every website. That’s why most people simply use the same easy-to-remember password for every shopping, music and travel site they frequent, according to an April 2013 survey, 61% of online shoppers always or often use the same password for multiple accounts and applications.
But don’t worry – there’s a solution! This is where password managers come in. You can not only store a different password for every website you visit, but most password managers come with strong password generators so the passwords you use will be super-tough and virtually unhackable. And most importantly, this will bring you a little extra peace of mind during this stressful shopping period!
Another thing to keep in mind is that not all the e-commerce websites are equally secure when it comes to payment. Before you shop, check some “trust indicators” to get an idea of how secure the website is, such as a contact page in case there’s a problem with the delivery or billing, a specific delivery and returns policy, “https” at the beginning of the URL (the ‘s’ indicates that the site is secure) or a “secure area” message when you proceed to payment.
And, once the payment is done, make sure you’ve received a confirmation by email and don’t forget to check your credit card statement to be sure there aren’t any fraudulent charges.
Having said all this, however, we should emphasize that online shopping is generally safe and often considerably safer than shopping over the phone or even in person, as you never hand your card details over to another human being. So just follow these simple“trust indicators” and don’t stress about it too much!
The only thing you really need to worry about is deciding what to buy! Another pair of socks for Great Uncle Clarence? Really? 😉
Happy shopping! And enjoy the holiday season!
* According to a Rackspace study (25 november 2013)