Despite Filipinos’ love for going to the malls, more people are leaning towards online retail. According to PayPal’s survey, Filipino's love for online shopping increased by 37% in 2018 from 2017.

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 fast delivery, getting the best deals, and the endless catalog of purchasable items from multiple online shopping platforms like Lazada, Shopee, and Carousell.

Most e-retailers and online stores allow different payment methods; among the most common is through the use of credit card.

Before you embark on an online shopping spree with your credit card, make sure you’re not leaving yourself at risk.

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.

You may not have to worry about losing your money, but cybercriminals sometimes hack the computer networks of retail stores to get millions of credit card accounts.

Risks of online shopping

While the era of the internet has revolutionized how we shop, criminal minds have also developed their ways these days to trick buyers into getting their personal and credit card information for financial gain through cyber attacks.

Cyber attacks come in a wide range of tactics which use malicious software and vulnerabilities almost present in most programs, websites, and apps to gain access to your device.

 

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Understanding and knowing today’s threats can help you protect yourself. Every time you make a purchase online, you potentially open the door to the following risks: 

·Phishing Scam

·Fake Websites

·Malware

·Theft of Data

·Counterfeit Items

Phishing Scam

Phishing is the most common method of getting personal information. Fraudsters send emails, pretending to be from known companies, to encourage online shoppers to give their valuable and personal information – such as passwords and credit card numbers.

These emails may seem to come from a legit source, convincing you to click malicious links and access a website that looks official but it’s actually used by them (fraudsters). If you’re not paying attention, you might have given your login credentials and other personal information.

Another similar scam is “Spear Phishing.” Spear Phishing emails are disguised as someone trustworthy to their specific target typically through email or online messaging. The emails may look like they came from your family or friends.

Fake Websites

While many online retails stores are legitimate, there are many websites online that pretend to look like official online retail stores – these are usually fake websites. The purpose is to lure and rip off unsuspecting online shoppers.

The website may have sophisticated designs and layouts; you purchase a discounted item and the next thing you know, you don’t get it.

From timeshare sales to discounted travel tickets, these websites offer anything popular at enormous prices.

Online shopping fraud can be frustrating; there are few signs to help you spot a fake website: 

·URL Address. Check if the URL address is “HTTPS” and not “HTTP.” The “S” is critical as it stands for the word “secure”. This means that all communications and transactions between your browser and the website are secured and protect your information. 

·The deal seems too good to be true. If the price of that Nike shoes is significantly lower than what you’ve seen from the official Nike store, it may be a sign that it’s fake. Anything too good to be true should be considered carefully. 

·Limited information. The website contains minimal information on delivery, terms and conditions, privacy, contact details, or other policies.

·Payment Method. If the seller or the site does not accept secure payment services such as credit card transaction, PayMaya, GCash or DragonPay. 

Malware

Malicious software – or most commonly known as Malware is a software designed by cyber attackers to gain access to your computer or network. While it is usually associated with computers, Malware can also infect websites.

With Malware, cybercriminals can gain access to a website allowing them to get their hands into sensitive information – logins and passwords, system information, banking details and more.

For instance, if you receive an unfamiliar email with a suspicious attachment or link will activate a malware to get your details if you click it.

Identity Theft

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When you sign up for a new account at an unsecured online shopping site, cybercriminals gain access to your information and steal your identity.

Identity theft happens when your financial information is breached and use it for the sole purpose of using your identity to make transactions or purchases.

Counterfeit Items

As a consumer, you should be vigilant on your purchases. Counterfeit goods are low-quality imitations of original products sold at an affordable price. Earphones with poor sound quality is an example of a knock-off good.

One way to gauge the authenticity of the product is to check the reviews. It pays to be skeptical when it comes to reading reviews. Some online reviews can be fake. If the review is too positive or lacking in details, check the validity of the person commenting: If it doesn’t seem right, chances are the product being sold is fake or scam.

As more people are going into online shopping these days, staying secure online has become more essential now than ever before.

Fortunately, credit cards have additional security features and fraud protection to ensure safe online shopping.

Credit card features that keep you safe and secure

One of the best thing about using virtual credit cards for online shopping in the Philippines is the complement of security features it comes with.

Credit card providers have stepped up in providing a more secure credit card to Filipinos to deter identity theft. There are two security features that credit cards in the Philippines have started to offer.

1. EMV Chip Technology

In 2017, BSP ordered banks to issue EMV chip-equipped cards in the Philippines. Banks have then started sending out debit and credit card replacement from magnetic strips to with a chip on the front.

EMV stands for Europay, Mastercard and Visa. Banks have migrated to this new technology to protect consumers and reduce the risk of fraud.

The chip is designed to protect your credit card information by creating a unique code for every time you use the card. This chip hides your personal information by turning it into a code.

 

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With the EMV technology, the Philippines will be at par with the global standards and ATM and credit card frauds will be lessened as well.

2. Visa PayWave System

The PayWave System is a quick and safe payment method launched by Visa. Just like with EMV technology, the card is equipped with a chip card that features both EMV and contactless technology.

This technology uses a short-range wireless technology called near-filled communication (NFC). The radio waves send your credit information to authenticate and complete the transaction.

Simply put, it allows you to make easy and convenient purchases by just tapping the credit card to a payment machine. You don’t have to give your credit card to the person at the counter and spend time entering your pin.

Merchants in the Philippines, such as SM, has started offering contactless payments in various SM Stores and SM Supermalls.

This system is making waves in the Philippines are more Filipinos show interest in using virtual cards. If your card has a wave symbol, then you can make contactless payments.

When it comes to shopping, considering the safety and security of a credit card is essential. With an EMV and PayWave-enabled card, the additional security and protection that comes with these new technologies keep your transactions and personal information safe.

Additional tips you can do to stay safe when online shopping

While your credit card provider gives you the best in security, there are still risks of stolen information. Individual responsibility to maintain the most security when it comes to an online transaction is important.

Here are additional proactive steps you can do to keep your personal information safe when shopping online.

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 likeMcAfee,TRUSTe, orVeriSign.

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 robust 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 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 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 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 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. Skip using a debit card

Instead of using your debit card, it’s better to pay with secure payment methods like using your credit card, PayPal, PayMaya or mobile payments.

Your debit card is linked to your bank account. Hence, you put yourself at much risk if someone can hack your information. Credit card and other payment means offer additional security in case of fraudulent activities.

7. Create a strong password

You’ve probably heard this advice a lot of times – it’s vital. Having a strong and secure password can help you protect your information private.

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Your password should be different for every account. If you use the same passwords for multiple websites, take the time to change your passwords.

If you want to keep your information secure, do so by making it roughly 16 characters long with a combination of random letters, symbols and numbers that are not worth a hacker’s time to crack.

You can use a password manager to help you devise and keep track of long passwords that you have. 

8. Update Your Software

While most people skip updating their software, it’s one of the easiest ways to protect your information. The software is constantly updated for a reason. This is to help improve security and protect your computer from new attacks that are continuously developed.

It can be daunting to wait for your computer to go through a system update, but the improved security and protection are worthwhile. So next time an alert pops up your screen, be sure to click it.

What to do if you are at risk

Sometimes, no matter how careful you are, you may find yourself caught in a bad situation. Luckily, there are countermeasures you can do to protect yourself from online shopping scams.

·Contact your credit card company as soon as possible. If you have been inaccurately charged, call your bank or credit card company immediately. Let them know what happened so they can close the account with any unauthorized activities and take necessary actions to protect your future finances.

·Change your passwords and PINS immediately. In your personal information has been breached, change your passwords and PINS immediately to prevent further damage.

·Monitor your account activity. If you notice any unauthorized activity or other signs of fraud, notify your bank immediately. Regularly check your bank or credit card statement as well.

·The item is a counterfeit good, or you did not receive the item. Most shoppers lose hope that they will not get a refund if they receive a fake product or did not receive the item at all.

 

Everything You Need To Know About Credit Cards in the Philippines

Know how credit cards work and what you need to qualify

 

While it can be challenging to get your money back after you’ve been ripped off online, there are still some situations where you can get a refund.

For example, if you ordered a product from Shopee and your order hasn’t been delivered, you can choose to cancel the order, and your money will automatically be refunded to your Shopee wallet.

If the item you received is different from what you ordered, you’re covered under protection if you ordered from Shopee. You can still return or refund your item if it’s within the Shopee Guarantee period.

To ensure safe and secure shopping from your chosen online merchant, be sure to check their support center or FAQ section for return and refund policies.

·Update Your Anti-malware Software. If you happen to open a scam-related email, make sure your anti-malware software is up-to-date and do a full scan of your computer.

Best credit cards to safely shop online with

Citibank Citi Rewards Card

Citibank designed a great shopping credit card that offers more rewards with the Citibank Citi Rewards Card. Earn as many points as you want with no cap. For every PHP30 spend, you earn 1 Citi point which you can use to purchase at select merchants.

This card comes with the ultimate security of contactless card technology – Visa payWave. It also includes a Citi Mobile App which offers additional security wherein you can secure your transaction by entering a code for every purchase you make and lock your credit card to avoid fraudulent transactions in case you misplaced or lost your card.

What we love about it

  • Earn points fast. Earn 1 point for every PHP30 spend.
  • Unlimited points earned. Get 3x points when you shop and dine.
  • Use points to redeem free flights, hotel stays or merchandise.

Bank of Commerce Classic Card

Bank of Commerce is offering an all-around credit card for every shopper. The Bank of Commerce Classic card includes high rewards for every spend in dining, shopping, groceries, travel and even gas.

Enjoy earning 5x rewards points using the card at any select shopping and dining establishments. You can also earn 1 point for every 25 PHP spend on groceries, travel, and gas.

 

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It also comes with 0% installment offers at all participating merchants, which is one of the best features of this card. You can choose between 3 months up to 36 months of the installment plan.

With the Bank of Commerce Classic, you can shop confidently on different categories knowing that it’s EMV chip-enabled.

What we love about it

  • Earn high rewards points up to 5x
  • Enjoy shopping with 0% installment plan

Citibank Citi Cash Back Card

If you want to save as you spend, the Citibank Citi Cash Back Card is for you! Get rebates on all your purchases and enjoy the flexibility to earn more cashback for special events or an unplanned payment.

Experience secured shopping with Visa Paywave just by tapping your Citi Cash Back Card on the terminal. You can also enjoy easy and convenient payment terms from 3 to 24 months at 0% Citi Paylite or low monthly add-on rates.

What we love about it

  • Earn up to 6% cash back on supermarket purchases
  • Get up to 2% cashback on Meralco bill payments through Citibank Online or Citi One Bill
  • Earn 0.20 cashback on all other purchases

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, consider getting a credit card with these security features.

However, this doesn’t mean that you can ensure safe transactions online. Making sure that your information is protected is still your responsibility. By taking the additional steps into consideration, you can prevent most fraud situations. 

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.