Online shopping is here to stay. Every day, scores of new websites are popping up offering new products and services. For shopping, the online version has some clear benefits. The higher competition gives way to reduced prices, attractive sales and a variety of choice. The convenience factor cannot be overlooked either. Not only do we save ourselves a trip to the mall fighting traffic and crowds but also can return the products just as easily if we are not satisfied with it. But all these benefits do come at a cost. One that is often overlooked until something goes wrong. Security is a big issue when it comes to online transactions. Integrity of websites and electronic wallets that process payments can lead to theft of valuable credit card data that can be used to carry out fraudulent transactions.
The below points will serve as a ‘do’s and don’ts’ when it comes to online shopping so that your credit card information stays safe and that you have a pleasurable shopping experience.
- Check for secure websites. This is often displayed on the top corner of the address bar. Sites that show a green padlock when it comes to making payments are generally secure websites whose information cannot be hacked into. Other signs of secure websites are that the address will start with https. Certain vendors display their own versions of secure websites such as ‘Verified by visa’ and ‘MasterCard SecureCode’.
- Use credit cards that offer additional layers of security such as the need to input an OTP or one time password in order to complete a purchase.
- Always use an antivirus software on the laptop or computer. Such software should be kept up to date and active in order to protect the laptop against harmful malware and spyware.
- Don’t shop on public computers. Computers at local browsing centres or libraries can be used only to view but are very unsafe to complete or carry put a purchase. Always carry out online purchases from personal laptops or computers.
- Don’t use the same password. The number of people who use the same password for multiple login gateways be it email IDs or Online banking IDs or even certain websites is alarmingly high. When a fraudster gains access to a password, it unwillingly opens up all other avenues as well leading to a very substantial loss for the victim.
- Don’t click on suspicious emails. Most emails that are considered to be malicious or considered to be outright advertisements or promotions get moved to the spam folder. But there are times when they manage to get through to the inbox. Clicking on such links takes you away from your inbox into a false site designed to look like the victim’s bank website and will prompt them to input credit card details on the pretext of winning an offer. This technique is called phishing and is also carried out over the phone. When in doubt, never enter any details. A bank will never proactively ask you to disclose any credit card details.