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 cards. 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.
While it can be difficult even for authorities to track down and put all these cybercriminals 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
Lazada, Shopee, OXL, Carousell, Zalora, Dress.ph, Cheapflights.ph, MetroDeal, and other shopping websites all have their secured payment scheme. Trusted sites ensure that your credit card details are not compromised.
Here are a few things you should check to know whether the site is trusted or not:
* Contact information – Phone number, corporate address and email address are three essential things to look out for when validating a website. A physical address is necessary when securing government permits for the business so a business without one might not have processed its permits and clearances.
* Common attacks – A reliable website should not have suspicious pop-ups, download requirements, phishing kits and malvertising. For instance, some sites pose as banks to get your information. They would seem legitimate, but they have grammar errors and unwanted redirects.
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 location. 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 makes it more prone to getting stolen. If you can’t let go of such convenience, make sure to use a powerful password for the site you entrust your credit card details. 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 a secure and safe online shopping experience. Some credit card companies offer an 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 a 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 cost in your account, 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 brings extra risks. So no matter how strong the internet connection is in the coffee shop, library, restaurant, or any place you’re in, avoid making an online purchase using your credit card or accessing your bank or credit card account via that public hot spot.
6. Use strong passwords
Passwords should be changed regularly, but this doesn’t happen especially if you have a lot of online accounts to manage. If you think you are falling into a lazy trap of updates, make sure you have a very strong one, in the first place. Remember, an easy log on for you is also a convenient log on for hackers.
Strong passwords do not follow a pattern and should include characters, upper case, lower case, and information that should not be directly related to you like a surname, middle name, or birthdays.
7. Secure your OTP
OTP is otherwise known as a one-time-password or one-time pin that is sent to your registered mobile number to verify that the online transaction is legit. Scammers sometimes pretend to be representative of your credit card provider and are calling for updates like an increase in credit limits. And to facilitate the update, you may need to provide the OTP sent to your device. Never share the OTP with strangers because bank representatives will never ask for such.
8. Check for last-minute fees
Your final purchase cost should match the amount deducted from your credit card. Check all details including delivery address, date of purchase and tracking number to make sure that y that the purchase is not compromised.
9. Choose the right card
It may be difficult to know which among your credit cards can be best for online shopping. Aside from promos and discounts as a basis, you may also want to choose the card that sends OTPs and even call you when purchases seem unusual. Whether you have BDO credit card, BPI, Citibank, Metrobank, HSBC, PSBank, or any other credit cards, the best one extends security measures to ensure your account is not compromised.
10. Monitor your online account
Log on to your mobile app after every purchase and check whether the transactions are legit or not. If you think something is wrong, call your bank immediately and ask for information about the transaction.
11. Report lost or stolen card
Stolen credit cards can be easily copied, and you might not know one day you have purchased in different parts of the world. Report any card that is not in your possession so the provider can block it at once and prevent unwanted transactions. If you have misplaced the card and found it, have it replaced instead.
Peace of mind can never be bought, so if you don’t want to have sleepless nights thinking about that significant 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 excellent 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.
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