Online Shopping: What to Know to Keep your Credit Card Safe

There's no doubt in anyone's mind that the internet can be a scary, tempting place. Unfortunately, like the real world, the internet is filled with malice, scams, and people looking to trick you to make quick money. However, unlike our world, criminals online can operate from the safety of their home. Just like people over the phone trying to get personal information out of you, online scammers are always trying to get credit card information, social security numbers, addresses, and more. However, it's important that you don't fall victim to these scams and illegal schemes.

Fortunately, it's pretty easy to protect yourself from online scam attempts and hacks in hopes of gaining personal information. However, when you take advantage of a few precautions, you can put up a digital wall between you and dangerous scammers. To help you get started on shopping safer online and avoid potential scams, here are a few tips to consider.

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. How Can I Tell If a Website is Safe?

A: When shopping online, always make sure the site you're shopping on starts with https, rather than just http. This extra 's' means that the site uses encryption to scramble your personal information and prevent it from being leaked to hackers. Although the extra 's' doesn't guarantee that you are 100 percent safe, it does give you a little more confidence when shopping online.

2. How Do I Know if a Business is Trustworthy?

A: You should do two things to see if a business is trustworthy: check for a seal and trust your instincts. First, you should check for a seal to determine how safe the system is. Most businesses use seals of approval from security organizations, like the Better Businesses Bureau, TRUSTe, and McAfee. This seal shows verification that the vendor is trustworthy enough to do business with. Unfortunately, these kinds of seals can be fakes, but if there is no seal, you shouldn't consider entering in your personal information.

Next, you should trust your instincts to determine if a business is trustworthy. Simply put, if you don't think the website is trustworthy, don't use it. Usually, larger companies like BestBuy and Amazon are trustworthy, but shouldn't trust every big-named brand. Especially with smaller brands, you should carefully use them and avoid entering sensitive information. Especially if you a suspicious email from a smaller-known brand, don't click on it and send it to spam.

3.Which is Safer, Credit or Debit?

 A: One of the easiest ways to keep your online payments safe is to use a credit card. This is because they come with more advanced consumer and liability protections. Debit cards, on the other hand, don't offer as much security and usually require you to pay $50 of liability, compared to nothing on your credit card. Plus, spending your credit can help improve your credit score. However, if you're feeling uneasy about a transaction, use a one-time credit card number generator to make it harder for scammers to steal your information.

4. How Can I Protect my Computer?

A: To keep your computer safe from cyber-attack and your credit card information safe from hackers, install anti-virus software on your computer. Without it, your device is left unprotected against security breaches and attacks. In addition to choosing a great anti-virus software, you should also keep it updated regularly. Make sure your web browser and operating system are up-to-date with security patches as well. Usually, these patches will be installed automatically, though you should double check to make sure.

5. What Makes a Good Password?

A: Having a strong password for your online accounts is essential to keeping your credit card information safe. Select a password that is easy for you to remember but hard for someone else to guess. This is easier said than done. Don't use the same password for everything and definitely do not use "password" as your password. Instead, use a combination of lower case letters, upper case letters, numbers, and symbols to make your passwords. Also, opt-in for two-factor authentication when it is offered.

6. Is There a Safe Way to Online Shop in Public?

A: Unfortunately, no. There is not a way to securely shop online when you are in a public space. There are a few dangers in doing so. People may be able to access your personal data either in person or over the public Wi-Fi network. If you are using a public computer, make sure the websites do not save your passwords or login information. Be sure to log out of every account before the next person goes on the computer, too. To be safe, it is best not to go to websites that require personal information if you are on a shared computer. You never know who may be looking over your shoulder. Even if you are using your personal device, hackers can still access your information through an unsecured Wi-Fi network. Though free Wi-Fi may seem like a godsend, it can open your information up to all sorts of threats. Wait to make your purchase until you are at home, on your own device and secured Wi-Fi network.

7. How Will I Know if Someone Has Gained My Private Information?

A: One way you can find out if someone has gained access to your credit or debit card information is by reviewing your recent transactions. What until you are in a location with secure Wi-Fi like your home before looking at your banking information. Look for any transactions that you do not recognize or anything that is out of the ordinary. The sooner you catch any fraudulent transactions, the better off you will be. Consider checking your purchase history at least once a day so you will notice anything 

Other Articles