We are now just a few weeks away from the gift-giving season. And for busy individuals like you, there’s no better way to tick many items off your list than through online shopping.
Shopping online makes it possible for you to hop from one store to another without leaving the comforts of your home or workplace. It also gives you the convenience of shopping even without cash on hand. Most e-retailers and online stores allow different payment methods; among the most common is through the use of credit card. However, with thousands of identity thieves lurking all over the Internet these days, this mode of payment is now as risky as much as it is convenient. These criminals sometimes hack the computer networks of retail stores to get millions of credit card accounts.
Tips against identity theft when online shopping
While it can be difficult even for authorities to track down and put all these cyber criminals behind bars, there are various ways to spot a cyber trap and avoid it. Here are some tips on how you can secure your identity when using your credit card for online shopping:
1. Purchase only from trusted sites
When visiting an e-commerce site, enter its URL in the address bar instead of clicking a link from your e-mail and hoping you’ll be redirected to the right site. Do not key in your credit card details unless you’re sure that the site is secure—its URL must start with “https://” rather http. This means that the site transfers data via a secure connection. It’s also wise to look for a lock icon in the address bar before the URL or at the bottom of the page and for the seal of approval of reliable online security firms like McAfee, TRUSTe, or VeriSign.
2. Do not save your credit card details
While the convenience of one-click checkout during online shopping seems tempting, allowing sites to save your credit card information in their database make it more prone to getting stolen. If you can’t let go of such convenience, make sure to use a very strong password for the site you entrust your credit card details to. Also, when your computer asks if you want it to “remember” your site password, click “no”.
3. Use your credit card company’s protection services
Most banks nowadays have credit card protection programs that provide their clients with secure and safe online shopping experience. Some credit card companies offer additional layer of protection by requiring you to enter a unique password or PIN (it will be issued to you by the credit card company) proving your identity before the transaction will be processed. There are also companies that allow you to make an online purchase using temporary credit card number, so your real card number will never be revealed and put at risk.
4. Regularly scrutinize your credit card statements
Most of the time, you’ll only find out that you’ve been a victim of identity theft if you notice an unfamiliar charge on your credit card statement. This is why it is necessary to check your credit card statement at least every week. If you discover any unusual charge in your statement, contact your bank or card provider right away to thwart any activity made by the thief using your card. Most credit card companies give clients a period of 30 to 60 days to dispute a charge. They also have some kind of automatic protection, provided that the scam is reported quickly.
5. Avoid using open WiFi networks
Do online shopping only over secured networks. Using public WiFi hotspots bring extra risks. So no matter how strong the internet connection is on the coffee shop, library, restaurant, or any place you’re in, avoid making online purchase using your credit card or accessing your bank or credit card account via that public hot spot.
Peace of mind can never be bought, so if you don’t want to have sleepless nights thinking about that big amount charged on you due to credit card scams, take these precautions every time you’re doing some online shopping spree.
It pays to go for credit card companies that offer good protection services not only for online shopping but also when you’re filing for a dispute. Find the best credit card for you by comparing various options at GoBear Philippines.