The Lunar New Year is just around the corner. It’s that time of the year when many Singaporeans refresh their wardrobes, stock up on new year goodies, and pick out new furniture in preparation for the house visits to come. So it’s hardly a surprise that a survey has showed that nearly 2 out of 3 Singaporeans head online to prepare for this 15-day celebration.
While shopping online is convenient, it carries a certain degree of risk if we don’t stay vigilant. With Safer Internet Day falling on the same day as the first day of the Lunar New Year on 5 February, here are some tips from Google on how you can stay safe online and keep your data protected online:
#1 Protect your online shopping accounts
Most of us create multiple accounts when accessing e-commerce platforms to purchase items, and these accounts often contain sensitive information, like your contact details and credit card information. Make sure you choose a strong, unique password that’s at least eight characters long, and use a different password for every account, so that if one account is hacked, your other accounts aren’t compromised. And should you ever get logged out of your account and need to quickly regain access, adding recovery information like a phone number or email address will definitely be helpful!
#2 Download secure apps
The festive season brings brisk business for e-commerce sites who might prompt you to download their dedicated shopping app for a better shopping experience. Just be aware of any fake shopping apps that set out to steal your personal information. To prevent that, make sure you’re downloading apps from trusted sources like the Google Play Store which scans all apps for malware before and after you install them.
#3 Beware of phishing when surfing online
Phishing cases are on the rise and spotting them can be a challenge, even for savvy web users. It is important to learn how to spot suspicious emails and websites, preventing yourself from revealing critical personal information such as your password.
To avoid being a victim of phishing attacks:
- Never click on questionable links
- Always double-check the URL to make sure the browser shows a lock symbol to ensure that you’re entering your data into a legitimate website
- Before submitting any information, make sure that the site’s URL begins with ‘https‘ (versus “http”), meaning it’s secure
Use web browsers which have security steps in place to keep users away from phishing sites. For example, if you visit a site with malware or attempts to phish you, you’ll be warned by Chrome and taken back to safety. Or if you type your Google account password into a suspected phishing site, Chrome will surface a warning and add protections to ensure your account isn’t compromised.
Take this quiz to test your phishing-detection skills!
#4 Beware of offers that sound too good to be true
Online marketplaces are a great place to get the best bargains for the festive season. But do think twice about that great bargain you’ve spotted, especially if it sounds too good to be true. To prevent yourself from falling victim to an e-commerce scam, here are some easy steps to follow:
- Always check the seller’s score and track record, and only purchase from reputable sellers
- Use shopping platforms that release payments to the seller after you have received the goods
- With millions of buyers online selling products, you can look to secure sites such as Google Shopping to surface merchants who meet a minimum review score so you’ll know they’re safe.
#5 Use Google Pay for more secure payment
Stolen credit card information is a common concern during the holidays, whether you are shopping at a store or online. Google Pay technology is much safer than using your credit card; here’s why:
- When you add a credit card to Google Pay, your bank creates a random sequence of numbers that corresponds to your card.
- This is called a ‘token’. It is stored, encrypted, on your phone.
- When you pay for stuff with Google Pay, the app uses this token instead of the credit card number itself.
- Even if a bad person is ever able to access the token, it will just appear as a random number string and will be useless to them.
- Additionally, critical transaction information associated with the token expires after a brief period of time.
- And even if you lose your phone, you can remotely lock or erase all information from your device using “Find My Device”