Online shopping and personal data


    By Niño Valmonte

    Last of two parts

    While these may be difficult to guarantee, the easiest way to ensure your privacy in their care is to find the link to the online store’s privacy policy, which is often found at the bottom of every webpage. Such privacy statements provide useful information on what personal information they gather, how and when it is used, and the assurance of its protection. This page also provides information on how you can address them should you have any questions or concerns.

    Still, the first and most essential step in achieving data security is finding a legitimate online store. Ensure that the site you’re making transactions with was recommended to you or is widely recognized as a credible retail store. Online merchants of such reputation are aware of the potential cyber risks that may jeopardize their business and are therefore already going to extreme lengths to strengthen their security to protect your personal records. They acknowledge that their business is founded on consumer trust, thus make it their obligation to nurture this trust and protect consumer data.

    This, of course, goes without saying that user discretion on which personal details to give plays an important role in the security of data. Sensitive information such as credit card numbers, one-time passwords (OTP), financial information, online passwords, and PINs should remain confidential and must never be shared online. Do note that credible retail stores do not need to collect all that information before you can shop. When checking out with your online shopping cart, make sure that you read the fine print (e.g. terms and conditions) before you accept. At the end of the day, as long as you’re browsing through a legitimate online store, the security of your personal data should be the last of your concerns.

    With the long list of Christmas shopping items you have to strike off, whether you wish to physically examine the products prior to purchase or prefer the convenience of waiting by your doorsteps, bear in mind that both physical and online stores have their own advantages, but nonetheless may similarly propose threats other than security.

    These include scams, hidden charges, unforeseen product defects, and overpricing, which, in most cases, might be bigger concerns than data security. (Author is IPC Director for Marketing & Digital Innovations)