It’s natural to have some apprehension when you use your credit card to purchase or shop online. You’re practically giving people you can’t see access to your money with the blind trust that they don’t run away with it. To put you at ease and to keep your online shopping as stress- and scam-free as possible, here are some tips.
1. Make sure it’s a legit website Practice good judgment here. If the price of a product or a deal is too good to be true, then it probably is, online security experts at Kaspersky Lab told Smart Parenting.
Make sure the website you’re on is legit by checking if the url is correct and not a misspelling of a big brand site – a lot of people get tricked this way. See if any of the links on the site work – fake and replica websites usually have links that don’t work or lead to a blank page. Look for contact details like a valid address, a telephone number or any other way you can contact the people running the site or online shop. Don’t hesitate to give them a call if you’re feeling uneasy.
2. Be careful with what you click and give away. “When you need to visit an online bank, a retailer, or a payment website, you should manually type in the URL, instead of clicking on a link,” says Kaspersky Lab. Don’t assume that links in emails, on social networking sites (including links in comment sections), in chat rooms, suspicious banner ads and websites, and those sent to you by people you don't know are genuine.
An insider tip: according to Kaspersky Lab, most financial organizations will never send emails asking you to email them back with your personal data. They also won't ask you to visit their site for authorization.
Check the url every time you have to enter confidential data too. If the url looks suspicious, don’t enter any info.
3. Setup a safe connection. It’s not just the online shop you have to watch out for. There might be someone peeking into your connection, ready to steal your credit card details. That's why you should avoid using public Wi-Fi and public computers when you need to access online banking services or online retailers, advised Kaspersky Lab. On a public Wi-Fi, you risk the possibility of being intercepted by lurking cybercriminals. Public computers may have a variety of spyware programs and viruses on them. These malicious programs could record everything you type including passwords.
Also, does the url of the website you’re on start with “https”? This ensures that you’re on an encrypted and secure connection, adds Kaspersky Lab. A safe connection would show a small lock icon beside or somewhere near the address bar.
4. Don’t use your main credit card. As a safety precaution, don’t use credit cards with big credit limits when shopping online. Use a separate credit card with a smaller or restricted credit limit. Some banks like BPI provide an e-credit card to use exclusively for online purchases.
5. Check the customer reviews. Reading customer reviews can reveal a lot about your online retailer. It’s good to know that previous customer transactions were fulfilled. If you can’t find any way for customers to comment or reach out to the seller, be wary.
6. Have protection. It pays to have a layer of protection whenever you’re online. Scammers and malicious software are everywhere and it’s good to be prepared. Instead of having the standard firewall up, consider getting a software-based or application ran one too.
And, to protect you from viruses and worms, install an anti-virus product on your computer. “Some anti-malware products also include special technologies that provide additional layers of security when you’re using online shopping and banking websites,” said Kaspersky Lab.