Opinion

What to look for to ensure you’re shopping online safely.

Start shopping online safely with our website security tips!

Do you know what to look for to ensure you’re SAFE when shopping online?

Shopping online can be a fast, convenient and cheaper option than traditional methods. However, when going online there are a lot of risks when it comes to security that many are unaware of. Internet security is a growing concern, in fact, 75% of Canadians are worried about Cyber-attacks, and legitimately so. If you are concerned about the security of any of the sites you use, or may use, we’ve compiled a list of guidelines to help ensure your favourite shopping sites are secure.

1. Look for the “S” in HTTPS

This is an indication that a site is safe because it is encrypted. The security is provided by an SSL Certificate and it protects sensitive data from site to server and against hackers. It is a good sign that the website cares about its users when it has HTTPS. Many browsers now will provide a warning when this is missing, so it’s a quick and easy way to spot a secure website when shopping online.

Spot the S in a HTTPS

2. Check to see if the website has a Privacy Policy

This is another important sign of a secure website. The Privacy Policy should clearly outline how your data is stored, used, protected and collected by the website. In Canada, it is required by law for a website to have a Privacy Policy. Be sure the site you are on has one to determine if the website is safe. To view GiftGator’s Privacy Policy click here.

The sites privacy policy is key for shopping online

3. Contact Information

A recent survey found that 44% of people will leave a website that doesn’t show their contact information, which is smart! Safe websites will openly display their contact phone number, email, social media and even address. Now, this doesn’t necessarily make it more secure, but it’s a good sign the company is legitimate, and that there is someone who will help you if needed. You can always contact GiftGator if you need help.

Contact information will help you if you need assistance

4. Find a Trust Seal

If you see “verified” or “secure” on the site then its likely a trust seal as it’s an indication that the website has a security partner. It shows they have HTTPS security as well as additional safety features, such as malware scans. You should also be able to click on the Trust Seal to show you the status of the security. 

Look for a trust symbol

5. Look for signs of Malware

Even secure sites can become a victim of malware, so it’s important to know the signs of malware when you see it.

Here are some of the more common signs:

  1. Defacement – This can be may obvious, for example when cyber attackers replace company logos and pictures with their own, click-bait, or idealistic images.
  2. Suspicious pop-ups – Beware the enticing or strange-looking popups that are trying to get you to click something as you could be download malware.
  3. Malvertising – This would be a malicious ad which typically appears unprofessional, for example it may have some sort of spelling error. Usually, they promote a celebrity scandal or miracle cures that are not legitimate and inject malware when clicking.
  4. Search Engine Warnings – Many popular search engines will warn you upon clicking on a site that it is not safe or infected with malware. Regard this warning and do not use the site.
  5. SEO Spam – If there are a lot of unusual links, usually in the comment section, it is a sign of malware and SEO spamming to a site.

 

It’s unfortunate that not every site online is secure; however you shouldn’t let it stop you from shopping online. Just adhere to the pointers above so you can do so safely! You can also shop on GiftGator with peace of mind knowing that we take every precaution we can to ensure a safe shopping and gifting experience for all of our users.

Start shopping online safely with our website security tips!

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