In the internet age, using your credit card to make purchases online has never been more convenient. Today, you can now shop halfway around the world without leaving your room. However, this ease comes at a terrible price: exposure to credit card fraud. To protect yourself from credit card fraud, here are several tips on how to safely use your credit card online.
Tip #1: Secure your computer
Before you even consider using your credit card for some online shopping, you first need to make sure your computer is cleaned and protected from viruses and other malicious software by installing an antivirus/anti-malware program. And see to it that your antivirus is always updated.
You don’t even have to spend extra for your antivirus. There are several notable free antiviruses like Microsoft Security Essentials and Avira, which should be enough to keep your home PC reasonably secured.
Tip #2: Shop only at websites you trust
It’s simple enough: do your online shopping only in sites that you trust. If you stumble into an unfamiliar website of what seems to be an online retailer, don’t use your credit card there—at least until you’re sure it’s a safe.
Furthermore, you should never click e-mail links, especially from spam or spoof e-mail; these are attempts to steal your information. To ensure that you visit exact the website you’re supposed to visit, input the URL in the browser.
Tip #3: Pay attention to the URL
Always look at the website’s URL when shopping online. There are two good reasons for this:
- Hoax websites look identical to the websites they’re ripping off, so the best way to tell they’re bogus is by looking at the URL.
- To find out if the website is secure, see if its URL starts with “https://” instead of “http://”. This means the website uses the Secure Socket Layer encryption protocol.
Tip #4: Use your own computer for shopping
Never make online purchases on a public computer like those in internet cafés or libraries. They could have malicious software like keyloggers that capture information like usernames, passwords and credit card numbers. Use only your own computer when purchasing online.
As an added precaution, refrain from online shopping when connected to a public wireless network. Your data can be stolen here as well.
Tip #5: Ask the ACCC first
Tip #6: Don’t use a debit card
Here’s an excellent good reason why you should use a credit card instead of a debit card when shopping online: if you get scammed with your credit card, you don’t lose any money. It may have fraud liability, but you can contest the charges. If this happens to your debit card, don’t expect to see any money left in your account.
Tip #7: Print receipts of online purchases
Whenever you make an online purchase, make sure you print its receipt then compare the amount with your credit card’s billing statement to see if they add up.
Tip #8: Try virtual credit card numbers
Virtual credit card numbers are becoming a viable option in online shopping. It’s a type of temporary payment number issued by your card provider every time you make a purchase online. Instead of using your real account number, you use the virtual one.
Virtual credit card numbers are more secure useful, especially if you plan on shopping in unfamiliar sites. Take note, however, that some companies have yet to fully iron out the kinks in their system so choose your virtual credit card number carefully.
Tip #9: Don’t share your card details
You should never share your card details with anyone, especially through social networks or e-mail. Sharing it through social networks could result in your card number being searchable online. Unencrypted e-mail, on the other hand, can be intercepted by hackers.
Tip #10: Report card fraud right away
If you think you’re a victim of card fraud, you should inform your card provider immediately. To find out if you’ve been victimised, regularly check your credit card statement for any dubious-looking transactions that you don’t recall making.
About the Author:
This guest post was written by Michael. Michael is a personal finance expert and has written many articles explaining credit card features, personal loans and savings accounts.