Our generation didn’t grow up using computers, but as seniors, many of us have embraced the convenience of the digital world through online shopping. There are no crowded malls, no fighting for a parking place, no heavy packages to carry, and a huge selection of just about anything you can imagine. There’s no doubt that online shopping has made the world more convenient, especially for those of us with limited mobility. However, staying safe online has become increasingly important for your privacy and financial security, so we’ve put together a few easy tips to help keep you safe while shopping online.
Stick with familiar brands. With so many websites selling goods, how can you be sure you’re using a reputable merchant? A safe rule-of-thumb is to only use websites for stores you know and trust, where you can walk into one of their stores nearby if you have a problem and you have shopped there before. Recommendations from trusted friends and family are also helpful. If you’ve never heard of the store, opt for a similar item from a store you know and trust.
Watch out for extreme deals. Most stores offer discounts, especially on holidays. But if the item’s low price seems too good to be true, it probably is. If the price is ridiculously low, it could be an imitation product, defective, or a used item from another customer. Again, shopping only at familiar merchant websites can alleviate some uncertainty.
Shop on secure webpages. Your internet browser will tell you if you’re on a secure site. In the upper search box that displays the website address, you’ll see a closed padlock icon and/or the letters “https” rather than “http.” The “s” indicates a secure page for your transaction.
Shop from a secure location. Never use a public Wi-Fi connection to make a purchase. In shared public networks, your personal and financial information is not secure. Only use personal, password-protected Wi-Fi connections when you enter your personal information.
Use secure passwords. Many people use passwords that have meaning to them so they won’t forget them, but simple passwords can mean that others might access your personal and credit card or banking information. While you need secure passwords for shopping sites, don’t forget to protect your email with a unique password – most sites allow users to change their passwords with an email. That means if someone gets into your email account, they can potentially access all sites you frequent. Keep it all safe by always using passwords that:
- Are long – at least 8 characters
- use special characters such as !&%, etc.
- mix capital and lowercase letters
- are unique, something only you would know about
If you have trouble remembering passwords, try using a long acronym for a phrase that’s familiar to you, or use a password manager program to help.
Use a safe payment method. Disputes are easier for credit cards than debit cards or e-checks, so use a credit card when you can or a method like PayPal that keeps your bank information secure. You can also dedicate one credit card specifically for shopping online so you can cancel it quickly if there’s a problem, and your other cards won’t be affected.
Shopping online can be convenient and enjoyable by using these easy tips to stay safe online. And when it’s time to consider transitioning to senior assisted living, contact us at Ashbridge Manor Senior Living. Our dedicated professionals make the transition easy, and our staff and facilities emphasize wellness, fun daily activities, and a welcoming sense of community. Find us at 971 E. Lancaster Avenue in Downingtown, PA, call 610.269.8800, or contact us online for more information.