Transacting online is becoming increasingly popular as it gives people the chance to make and receive payments without having to go to the bank. However, there has also been an increase in the cases of online fraud where people lose their funds and have their identities stolen. With the e-commerce space growing, there is need to ensure people can transact online safely. Here is a guide to safe online transactions.
- Use passwords
You need to use strong passwords as they are your first line of defense when it comes to accessing your information. Change your passwords often and do not use the same password for several online accounts since it makes it easier for hackers to access your information. Also, do not share your password with anyone even if they appear legitimate, keeping yourself anonymous is crucial. If you receive an email that asks for your identification information, do not send it but instead, you should call and make a report.
- Tips when shopping online
After completing your transactions, you should always log out of merchant sites. Do not store passwords for merchant sites on your device. When setting up security questions, ensure you use false information that does not relate to you. Using information related to you can put you at a higher risk of having your information stolen.
Do not transact online if you are using public Wi-Fi. Instead, transact using secured internet connections like your phone’s hotspot, Mi-Fi or your home internet.Avoid using one-click ordering options or easy payment options. Also, ensure your internet browser is upgraded to the latest version. Before you start shopping, ensure you verify the website is authentic.
When using credit cards, use only one so you can reduce the chances of being a victim of identity theft. Avoid using debit cards since they are directly linked to your bank account and can have a bigger impact if cyber criminals have access to it. Credit cards cannot be misused as such and have spending limits. It is also easier to dispute transactions on a credit card compared to a debit card.
- Use secure e-commerce websites
When transacting online, use third-party pay services that have a good reputation as much as possible. They will provide an avenue for secure transactions and also have dispute resolution services. Before you transact online, ensure the site is secure. Secure sites have ‘https’ in their URLs which means that the website is encrypted ensuring no one can access your information while you are on the site. Exercise caution when using sites with ‘http’ on them as the sites are not secure.
- Use firewalls and anti-virus programs
Anti-virus and firewall programs can also be used to protect you while you are browsing. You need to ensure they are upgraded to the latest versions. Regularly run virus scans and check for malware as well. Ensure you get spyware detection programs to notify you when someone is trying to access the information on your device.
- Keep records of your transactions
Keep records of each time you transact online. Compare your online records with your credit card statement. In case there are any issues, you need to report them to your credit card provider. Also learn the fraud and liability protection offered by your credit card provider to see the monetary limit of the protection. If you have questions concerning online banking or anything to do with your account, it is better to call the bank or credit card company.
- Email security
Do not open any suspicious emails. E-commerce stores do not send links asking you to ‘click here’ to update your payment information. In case you get such an email, contact the store through a phone call and air your concern.
In case an email appears that looks suspicious, you need to immediately close your browser and switch off your computer for a while. When you finally restart it, run a virus and malware scan before browsing again.
What happens if you are a victim of fraud?
If you suspect your credit card information was used without your consent, you need to report it to the relevant authorities. Remember to notify the credit card provider immediately since it affects your liability for the charges. Reporting also enables you to be under their fraud liability protection.