Shopping online is becoming a way of life. We like convenience and nothing beats getting things sent to us on demand. However, as I mentioned in my post about chip cards, while efforts are being made to boost security at the point of sale in stores, etc, fraud is booming online. It’s likely we’ll all be affected by online fraud at some point. We may be forced to change cards by an issuer because an online database has been compromised, as has happened with a few giant retailers, or by way of a direct hit by fraudsters.
Good news is there are ways to increase safety online and also ways to recover lost funds.
9 Best Ways to Stay Safe Online
- Use sites with HTTPS only. The s is important. Sites with only HTTP before the url do not have sufficient safeguards to keep your sensitive information secure. Do not share your credit card number or any sensitive information on these sites. Also look for the lock symbol. Both these elements usually indicate a higher level of security on a site.
- Check out site reviews when using new site. Search for reviews before you trust a new site. Online review sites make it easy for you to learn what other persons have experienced.
- Ask friends and people you know for their experience on sites. Also use the resources close to you. Friends and family will likely give you more honest reviews and go in more details about their experience. Learn from others and don’t make the same mistakes.
- Use alternative card number. Ask you issuer/bank about this. Many banks offer alternate card numbers specifically for purchases where your card is not present. In the event of fraud, your main number remains protected and only the limited funds on the alternate number are compromised.
- Log out of online sites when you are finished shopping. Always log out. Don’t make it easier for hackers especially on sites that you have saved your card and personal information.
- Don’t use public computers for online purchases. You have no control over who uses the devices and less control over any anti-fraud mechanisms. If you can’t vouch for it, don’t use it.
- Keep passwords secret. Don’t make them too easy to guess. Change the passwords you use online frequently and make it difficult to guess. It bears repeating that ‘password’ should never be used as a password.
- Check your balance every day. Monitor your card. Online banking is great for this, the earlier you are aware of fraud the quicker you can stop it and reduce potential losses.
- Follow your gut. An unbelievable deal may be a trap to steal your data – a way to get you to input your card number. Ensure you can trust any site before proceeding with a purchase.
However, thieves are smart and sometimes despite our best efforts they get access to card information. If this should happen, your best bet is to report suspicious activity immediately. Don’t wait. It is better to freeze or replace your card than go through the hassle of dealing with fraud.
Also, make sure your bank has your current contact details. This is very important; they need to be able to reach you if they notice suspicious transactions on your account.
Despite the challenges, remember your funds are recoverable. Ensure you report fraud or loss promptly and you stand a good chance of having your funds refunded to you. Exercise caution and be vigilant about monitoring your account and you should be able to enjoy using your card to shop for a long while.
Have a great Mother’s Day Weekend. Treat your mother and the women in your life and, if you are a Mother, have a wonderful day on Sunday!
Spend Wisely. Live Richly.