I’ll start this article off by saying that using credit rather than debit cards online is far safer. Consumer protection is much more robust with credit cards, and you can even get zero liability policies. You can dispute fraudulent charges more easily if you pay with your credit card rather than a debit card. So, now that we’ve established the method of payment it’s time to get onto how to ramp up the safety when shopping online.
Layers of security
All of the major credit card providers have extra layers of security available, but they may not be automatically enabled on your card, so it’s useful to ring your bank up for information. Whether it’s Mastercard’s SecureCode, Visa’s Verified by Visa or the Zero Liability policy both companies have to offer it’s definitely beneficial to have an extra layer of protection when shopping online.
Virtual Credit Cards
These are once off credit card codes that some banks now offer. These codes are linked to your primary credit card but have the advantage of a fixed spending limit and expiry date. Similarly, Chrome provides a service called Privacy that works. Privacy connects with your bank accounts and makes online shopping safer by paying using burner cards that self-destruct after use. This service also works with subscriptions which makes them easy to cancel if they are not legitimate.
If you’re about to whip out the credit card to buy something online and you notice the above deviance from the common, chances are you’re entering a safe site. Although not a blanket rule, the “s” signifies that your personal information will be scrambled to make it difficult for identity theft to occur.
Better Business Bureau
Consumer’s need to be more aware and proactive in defending themselves against identity theft and other online dangers. A simple, quick way you can check if the site you are browsing is safe is to check out the company’s evaluations on Better Business Bureau. It will take less than a minute to scroll through a few recent reviews, check out their rating and their customer services record. It goes without saying that if the business has low ratings then its best to take your credit card elsewhere.
Match payments to your statement
I have a simple tally on an excel sheet where I key in the date, company and amount I spent online. Once I get my monthly credit card statement, I run through this list and make sure the entries match. There have been a few occasions where the amounts were a lot larger on my statement, and I rang the credit card company to rectify the figure. I wouldn’t have caught that if I wasn’t paying attention. You are probably gathering at this stage that keeping your credit card free from online theft requires just a little precaution in return for peace of mind.
Don’t use public wi-fi
There are many reasons why you shouldn’t shop online using your coffee shop’s wi-fi password. First off, it may be a fake hotspot set up by a scammer. While you are browsing online, they will be collecting passwords, emails and other personal information. To stay safe from these threats, start by forgetting all your public wi-fi hotspots on your mobile device. Whenever you connect from now on, make sure that you first agree to a terms and conditions page. A lack of this step is the first clue to suggest that the access point you are connecting to is illegitimate. If you can begin browsing immediately, take it as a warning that you could be accessing a rogue access point. If you are ever using public wi-fi, make sure you use a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
Saving credit card details
A lot of people think the main danger in storing credit card details on a shopping site is the chance that a hacker gets this data. Others refuse to save this information to prevent themselves from instantly going through the shopping process and makes it too easy for them. However, what you really need to watch out for is someone physically getting their hands on your device, coworker, children, friends, family, They have instant access to your credit card via online stores. A more secure way to save time but maintain privacy is to set up accounts with your frequently used online sites. You can store your information on these accounts and log out each time and so protect yourself from unwanted purchases draining your credit balance.
Sending credit card details
Never, ever send credit card details through social media or unsecured email. This transfer of personal financial information puts this data in a vulnerable position. Once you click “send” on an email with credit card information, the data sits on your email server, your computer, the inbox of your recipient and their computer. Emails can also get intercepted on the way. That’s four points of exposure that can be eavesdropped or hacked. A less risky alternative is to send information through a secure email service. There are many ways around having to send an email, and although some experts suggest that an encrypted email will suffice, I’d recommend going a step forward. An even safer option is to encrypt a PDF file with your credit card information and send this through by secured email. After reading this article, consider going through your sent emails and delete any items that contain bank or credit card details, particularly card number and CVV.
These are the key points in making your credit card details safe online. There are means methods to create ultra-secure payment processes online. However, these are incongruent with everyday life and budgets. Most of the tips I have offered can be gotten for free and take just a little time to implement; they are realistic and manageable. What to take away from this article is to add a layer of precaution and awareness to your online shopping experience. As always, if you have any queries be sure to let us know in the comments below.
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