How to Stay Safe Online in 2023: Staying Clear of the Scammers

We now conduct a considerable portion of our purchasing online, and the move towards doing so has been as swift as it has been comprehensive. 

This has led to a massive increase in the types of goods and services that can be acquired via the web, which has given customers a great deal of power in terms of the choices they make as well as, on the whole, proving a more cost-effective way to pay for the activities and transactions that take place.

Gone are the days of us queuing in brick-and-mortar stores, mindlessly searching aisles for goods and products. The shift in our shopping habits has been quick and almost total. If you stop to think about how much of your purchasing is done via your phone or desktop PC, you may well be surprised at just how much your routine has changed. 

You could argue that it’s impossible to be 100% safe when shopping online, and to some extent, that is true, but if you adopt at least some of the practices outlined below, you should significantly reduce the chances of being scammed.

How to Stay Safe Online in 2023: Staying Clear of the Scammers 1

Do Your Research

This should be a given, but you’d be surprised at how naive some online shoppers can be, but you really should not visit or complete payments on sites that you are unsure of, and to that end, you should do the requisite amount of research before signing up for such services.

This is less relevant for well-known household names in the specific sphere you are shopping in, but an excellent place to start is with comparison sites such as, where informed, genuine unbiased opinions and reviews of brands and providers can be invaluable to your overall shopping experience.

Always Be Cautious

The biggest mistake many online shoppers make is not taking enough care and attention before purchasing. This is mainly because we have got so used to shopping online that we don’t consider all the potential ramifications of the transaction we are about to take part in.

After all, when we visit a physical store, we don’t consider the possibility that the cashier is going to steal our key information as she scans the items we have bought. We don’t think twice before we open a physical door to an outlet; we simply walk in and look for what we came to buy. 

Unfortunately, the idiosyncrasies related to online shopping are many, and whatever you do online, and we don’t just mean shopping, should be conducted with the utmost caution from the moment you open your browser window to the moment you turn off your desktop or put your mobile device back in your pocket. 

Use Smart Payment Methods

When you pay at an online store, this is very much the moment of truth. If you use a debit card, then you may find that your bank account is severely compromised. It’s, therefore, best to consider using safer payment methods; that way, if anything untoward does occur, you’ll be covered.

If you use a credit card, you should be able to claim back on nefarious charges, depending on your provider. If you want to take it up a notch, you could look to use e-wallets like PayPal. 

That way, if your payment goes south, there is very little chance that scammers can access your funds, and you can almost certainly get some recourse from PayPal, and other e-wallets, if there are any issues. These services also use multiple layers of authentication, which means you should be safe from any additional hacks.

Shop At Secure Sites and Make Sure Your Security Software is Up to Date

These are two simple rules to follow but are often ignored by users who have become complacent about their online activity. One day this will come back to haunt them, and it’s something that can so easily be adopted.

Firstly, only shop at sites that start with an HTTPS prefix, i.e., avoid HTTP sites like the proverbial plague. Secondly, look for the padlock sign in the URL bar. 

As for your security software, often we forget to check that this is on or that it’s up to date. Regularly check this before you go online, and make it a weekly or monthly routine that you adopt. You’ll thank us later.

Never Click On Unsolicited Links

Whether these come in the form of messages to your phone or emails, try not to open unsolicited requests and NEVER click on the links contained with them. Fortunately, this is a golden rule that most of us now adhere to.

Even if the offer or service that is purported to be available from the mail or message is out of this world, don’t fall for it. Close and delete. It’s that simple.

Use a Password Manager

We all now have more accounts than we can even keep track of. A recent report suggests that over 35% of us have more than 20 passwords that we need to remember. This may lead you to repeat some or all of them just so you can find it easier to recall them. This is a major issue and something you absolutely need to avoid.

To make life easier, set up an account with a password manager (obviously after checking that it is a reputable provider), and that way, you won’t have to pull off some form of David Blaine-like feat of memory to remember them all.

Stay Ahead of the Crooks

These are just a handful of basic ways to stay safe online, and the overriding message we have to those who shop online, i.e., all of known humanity, is don’t make things easier for crooks and scammers to rip you off. Try, at the very least, to make life hard for them or, ideally, put in the types of practices that make it next to impossible for fraudulent entities or individuals to scam you.

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