There is no time like the present to educate yourself about the potential dangers of financial and credit card security. The convenience of making online purchases is becoming increasingly more popular, but many people are not fully aware of the risks they could be taking when making these purchases. Continue reading to learn about how you can protect yourself from becoming a victim of a cyber-attack or identity theft.
Avoid Public Wi-Fi
It is important to never use public Wi-Fi when making purchases or when dealing with your protected information. Doing so makes it easy for hackers to access your information as public devices are more apt to hackers looking to swipe credit card numbers or passwords. However, if you have no other option but to use a shared device to make a purchase, you should put the computer in privacy mode and clear your browsing history after you are done.
Use a Credit Card Instead of a Debit Card
When making an online purchase, experts recommend using a credit card instead of a debit card. Credit cards provide more protection against fraudulent activity and there is much less liability if it gets stolen or compromised. According to a study conducted by the global computer security software company, McAfee, 95% of consumers have security concerns about providing personal information like their credit card when shopping at websites they have not heard of before. If you have any doubt regarding a transaction, many banks will offer a one-time use credit card that will generate a random card number linked to your account.
Set Banking Alerts
Another way to protect yourself is to set banking alerts. Many banks and credit unions are beginning to offer email or text alerts when suspicious activity is detected on your account or if certain circumstances occur, such as overdraft or when transactions are made over a certain dollar amount. Setting these alerts can protect you and your accounts from unauthorized or fraudulent transactions.
Use Encrypted Websites
It’s important to only use encrypted websites. There are several ways you can tell whether or not a website is secure. One way to identify an encrypted website is to look for https:// at the beginning of a web address instead of just http://. The “s” signifies that the form is encrypted and the site is protected. It is also important to shop using trusted online stores that use trustworthy payment processors. You can check for a padlock icon to the left of your web address in the browser before shopping with any online retailer, this indicates the site is safe to use and minimizes any risk.
Be Cautious of Phishing
A common scam is for someone to call pretending that they are a bank representative and want you to verify your credit card number. If this occurs, it is important to recognize that it is a scam and that a bank or credit card company is never likely to ask for this information over the phone. “Phishing” is also common online. This occurs when criminals send emails pretending to be your bank and ask for your personal information. You can check if it is legitimate by calling your bank or the organization.
Using encrypted websites, using a credit card to make online purchases, and setting bank alerts are all preventive measures one could take to avoid a cyber-attack or identity theft. Although there are many dangers of the internet, that should not stop you from making online purchases. Just be aware and vigilant.