How to protect yourself when using online payment services
Credit card companies and banks offer customers the ability to make purchases on the Internet. Online payment services provide customers with a secure, convenient way to shop online for goods and services in a lot of ways. But, there are risks with using this option. Here’s how you can protect yourself.
1. Never use a debit card to shop online
The protections for unauthorized or fraudulent transactions are not the same as they are with credit cards. If you use a debit card, someone can gain access to your checking account and clean out the entire amount. Using e-money safeguarding requirements on your computer will help you avoid viruses that are designed to capture personal information. Online payment services aren’t the only way to shop online. Some companies offer products through their websites, but also have toll-free customer support numbers for customers who are concerned about using the Internet. These are alternatives you can consider.
2. Provide as little personal information as possible when making an online purchase
Avoid using your social security number, bank account number, or other personal information that can be used to access your accounts. You should also avoid providing the same information on another website. If you are purchasing on eBay, for example, make sure you log out of their site before browsing any other websites. Avoid using online payment services with sites you don’t know and trust, or sites that have unclear privacy policies. You might even consider paying by check instead of a credit card. That way, it will take longer for your order to be processed and shipped, but it provides the protection you need while shopping online.
3. Use antivirus software to protect yourself when shopping online
It’s important to go beyond standard malware protection to stay safe when shopping online. Most threat detection software is at least 50% effective in protecting customer computers. To increase the likelihood of finding threats before they are downloaded, you should search with both on-demand scanners and real-time scanners running simultaneously. You should also have an active firewall protecting your network connection at all times while browsing the Internet. If you are making a purchase through an online payment service, make sure your security software has access to that portion of your hard drive, so it can scan for threats before any information is transmitted or downloaded.
4. Make purchases from trusted merchants on reputable websites
Before making a purchase with an unknown site, do some research about them on review sites. Use search engines to find reviews and complaints about the company that you’re interested in. You should also check out their address and phone number on Google Maps. Be wary of sites that don’t provide full contact information or have only a P.O box listed for an address. Sites with poor web design are more likely to be risky, too. You might consider doing business with websites that have SSL certificates installed, which means they encrypt your data during transit, so it can’t be intercepted by third parties.
Why do you need to protect yourself when using online payment services?
Are cybercrime rates going up?
In recent years, there have been a number of highly publicized reports about the security of online payment services. However, despite these negative news stories and cybercrime rates going up, a large portion of consumer spending still takes place during the holiday shopping season. Cybercriminals are hoping you’ll be careless when making purchases with less reputable websites or using an easily guessable password. By making a few simple changes to your habits, you can reduce the likelihood that you will become one of their victims.
By making a few simple changes to your online habits and installing the latest security software, you can keep yourself safe when shopping online. Paying with credit is convenient, but it does come with added risks. When possible, use alternative methods that won’t affect your finances in such a dire way if things go wrong.