Online, we don’t get to see the person we’re paying, so often it can be hard to tell whether or not your information is safe from fraud. However, sometimes it’s just easier to pay online or it may be the only option available.To help ensure that you’re staying safe with electronic payments, there are things you need to know and keep in mind.
1. Use Credit, Not Debit
Credit cards come with better consumer protection against fraud, and your liability is usually capped at about $50, as long as you catch the extra charges in time. Debit cards on the other hand, don’t have much of a liability. Depending on when you report your card as missing, you could be held liable for the entire amount.
So, stick to credit cards. If you ever have any doubts, you can use a one-time credit card to generate a random card number to be linked to your bank account. All of this will make it harder for criminals to get hold of your money and information.
2. Check the URL
When you go onto a website that requires your private information, make sure the page's address starts with “https” and not “http”. That extra “s” means that the website uses an encryption code that scrambles your information, preventing people from getting your information. The “s” doesn’t always mean that the transaction is 100% safe, but it is a quick check that might be able to give you a sense of security.
3. Don’t Shop in Public
Public Wi-Fi is never secure from scammers, so buying things online with that Wi-Fi is almost begging people to take your information. Whenever you feel the need to buy things online, use private Wi-Fi and your own computer. You’ll then find that your information will be safer from lurking criminals.
4. Never Give Out Your Social Security Number
There isn’t a single reason why someone would need your social security number in order for you to buy something. If a website is asking way too many questions, leave the website and don’t make any purchases from them.
5. Use a Safe Password
Things like “12345”, your social security number, or you birthday are not strong passwords. Hackers will easily get into your private information and potentially ruin your life. If you can’t think of a secure password, use a password generator.
Do not write your passwords down anywhere. The wrong people could get their hands on that paper, so try remembering them instead. To keep your private information as safe as possible, you can also try changing your password every couple of months. This will make it that much harder for people to gain control of your information.
Your information is your information, so stay safe when shopping online because scammers are always lurking. Keep your eyes open for little clues on whether or not you’re about to be scammed. Clues will usually be hidden; you just have to know how to look for them. And if you don’t notice any clues, just trust your instincts.
If you’re on a website and you’re getting a bad feeling about what it's asking or how it looks, get off the page. It’ll be safer for you and your information.