E-commerce is booming and is fast becoming the preferred means for most shoppers across the globe due to the convenience it offers and the unlimited access it provides to millions of products for shoppers. But with this boom has come a somehow intractable problem that threatens to roll back the gains being chalked in deploying technology for trade – insecurity. Though e-commerce is in a burgeoning stage in Ghana, we have had occasional incidents of online fraud and theft. People are sometimes hesitant of shopping online because of the fear of being defrauded or having their credit/debit card details stolen. Jumia, a leader in e-commerce in Ghana, proposes these five smart steps to help you stay safe whilst shopping online:
Do Not Shop on Public Networks
If you want to shop and not worry about the possibility of having your credit card or debit card details stolen, STAY OFF free public Wi-Fi. Whilst the opportunity to surf the internet for free presents a good enough attraction to do everything online including shopping, do not get carried away by the two or three hours of free time you get to use the internet. Fact is, you and your cyber criminals all have the same access to the same network, and they are better at phishing or hacking into your system to steal your information.
Use Your Own Laptop/Computer
Good thing is – most people in Ghana, these days, have their own laptops and computers and thus internet cafés are gradually fading out from the system. But if you do not have the fortune of owning your own laptop/computer and you have to shop online, try doing it on your phone. You cannot trust a computer that does not belong to you. You will be leaving a trail of all your transactions on that system and cyber criminals can have a field day with your information.
Choose Trusted Places to Shop
This might seem simplistic but the truth is, most online shoppers are carried away by the promise of good prices and huge discounts. There are millions of online platforms promising good discounts and quality products. But do not let such mouthwatering offers fool you; a good number of these platforms are not operated by trusted people, thus jeopardizing your own security if you do business with them. Shop on recognized and trusted platforms. Platforms such as Jumia has in place mechanisms to vet their vendors and ensure that you are buying from genuine and trusted sources.
Change Your Passwords Regularly
David B. Lartey, Head of IT at Jumia Ghana suggests changing your password every 3 to 6 months whilst also ensuring that you use different passwords for all your online accounts. A good password includes numbers, symbols, uppercase and lowercase letters, and should be at least twelve characters long. This way, you are always a step ahead of those who will be on your tracks trying to steal your information, be it credit/debit card details or even passwords.
Ignore Unsolicited Messages
These days, one of the ways of online fraudsters involve calling or sending mails or messages to unsuspecting people to make payment to certain accounts or mobile money numbers in order to redeem prizes or even purchases (purchases they might not have made anyway). For instance, an unknown number can call purportedly from Jumia asking you to send money via mobile money in order to receive an item. Do not let your greed have a better part of you. Simply ignore such messages and report them to Jumia or the network service provider, if you have the means.
These tips should help you stay safe whilst shopping online for your favourite items. Never compromise on your security when shopping online because cyber criminals can wreak havoc on your life.