People today seem to prefer to do their shopping online because it has become more convenient. Online shops have removed the need for people to line up at the cashier to pay for their items, and they don’t have to go to the store to pick up their orders. They can have the items delivered to their doorsteps. More merchants have also made their products and services available online, so with just a click of the mouse, shoppers can buy everything they want including essentials like grocery items, jewelry, clothes, shoes and furniture.
However, the convenience of shopping online also comes with the risk of online shopping fraud. When shopping over the Internet, people have to give out their credit card details to finalize their purchases. These details include the credit card name, card number and the expiration date. If hackers and swindlers get their hands on these details, they can easily commit fraud and rack up debt under one’s name without him knowing.
Despite stories of online shopping fraud, it’s easy enough to prevent credit card fraud. Here are some tips to protect yourself from credit card fraud:
Log off. As simple as it sounds, logging off one’s account after making a purchase with a credit card will help in preventing fraud. This is especially important if one is using a public computer – the next user can easily hit the Back button to reveal one’s credit card information. In order to be safe, one should first clear the cache and then close the browser he used after logging off his account. This helps secure credit card information.
Avoid using mobile devices when shopping online. The Internet has become even more accessible now that mobile devices like smartphones and tablets are readily available. Mobile devices are more convenient to use but are more prone to fraud. Unlike laptops and home computers, most mobile devices do not run anti-virus and anti-spyware programs – a fact which innovative fraudsters tend to exploit. Games and software downloaded from app stores can contain “spyware or viruses that can take control of the mobile device and leak personal information”
Beware of unsolicited emails. Trustworthy merchants do not send out unsolicited emails, especially emails that ask for one’s credit card details and personal information. When making an online purchase, one would normally be required to provide his credit card details such as credit card name, number and expiration date. (Before shoppers fill out these details, they need to check if they are using a secure connection with an HTTPS/SHTTP URL.) Merchants rarely send out emails asking for these details.
Never click on unverified links. Shoppers should be wary of links that lead them to external sites. Some of these links might automatically install spyware in one’s computer and periodically transmit one’s financial information to hackers and fraudsters. Shoppers should also learn how to spot fraudulent websites before viewing them because there might be malicious code on the site which can creep into one’s computer and steal personal information.
Create strong passwords. This is a simple yet very effective way to thwart fraud when shopping online. Using alphanumeric characters for account passwords makes it harder for swindlers and fraudsters to gain access to accounts which one uses to shop online. It’s also unwise to use one-click shopping especially when one is using a public computer. Moreover, people should consider using different passwords for different online accounts.
Check credit card and bank statements regularly. People should make it a habit to check their credit card bills and statements regularly to spot irregularities. If there are unauthorized purchases, it’s best to report these issues to their respective banks immediately.
These are just simple tips to ensure that consumers have secure credit card transactions each time they shop online. If you know any other tips that can help prevent credit card fraud, then please share it with us by posting in the comments section below.
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