Wisdom of Life

Security tips for Online Shopping

With holidays around the corner and most eCommerce sites throwing away huge offers and discounts, we have to be extra careful against online scams and frauds. In this post today, we have listed down some helpful tips that you can use for safe credit card usage on the Internet.

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A few days back Flipkart announced its “Big App Shopping Days” offer for users who use the Flipkart App. Amazon is another site that has been hosting ”Deals of the Day” offers. Now, while all such offers are popular amongst online shoppers, their fame is misused by scammers to trick users. For instance, a fake email might lure you with an unbelievable discount to visit a fake website that looks like Flipkart and steal all your information.

So, if you usually shop online with your credit card, here are some safety tips you must consider.

Choose Credit Cards Over Debit Cards
If you use your credit card most of the time for online shopping, then you are already following an important security tip. If any fraudulent charges occur on your credit card, you will still have time to report it to your bank and avoid paying for the transaction made on the card. On the other hand, for a debit card, ‘real money’ gets debited instantly, and it may take days before you can reclaim the money. Also, most banks offer zero liability on lost credit cards. If we take HDFC bank into consideration, it states, “If you lose your card, report it immediately to our 24-hour call centre. After reporting the loss, you have a zero liability on any fraudulent transactions made on your card.

Go a step further – Use a Virtual Credit Card
Another credit card security tip that works effectively, is using a virtual credit card. As the name suggests, this is not a ‘physical card’ and not issued physically. The following are the benefits of using a virtual credit card:

  1. A virtual credit card is mostly valid for 21 – 48 hours only, depending on the bank that has issued it.
  2. The card can be used for making one payment only.
  3. Any unused amount left in the card gets credited back to the customer’s account.
  4. A virtual credit card cannot be stolen or cloned, as it is an intangible property.

Know your Online Shoppe
Always go for trusted, well-known, reputable, online shopping sites. This is more important when you are purchasing expensive items. It is also wise to go through the privacy and security policy of the site that you are shopping from. You might come across a site that offers unbelievable deals; but odds are, the deals are fake or not what they appear to be.

Understand What Information Your Online Shoppe Needs
A standard checkout/payment page of most online shopping sites require you to give the following details:

  • Full name as printed on the card
  • Credit card number
  • Expiration date
  • CVV number
  • Shipping/Billing address

But, if the payment page asks for your ATM pin, net banking login ID and password, mother’s maiden name, etc., then you have enough reasons to treat this as a phishing attack. Immediately close the browser, and report the website to the right authority such as Google.

Avoid Public and Free Wi-Fi Networks
This credit card security tip also applies to all kinds of financial transactions that you do online. Avoid using your credit card over public computer network such as cyber cafes and free Wi-Fi. These networks are less secured or have no security against hackers who can spy on your information and misuses it for illegal purpose.

Look for “HTTPS” and pad lock symbol
Before giving away your credit/debit information on the checkout page of any site, always ensure that the URL in browser’s address bar begins with “https://” and is accompanied by a “locked padlock” symbol. If it is otherwise, then do not proceed with the purchase. Go for a safer option such as cash-on-delivery.

Don’t Follow Links in Emails
If you receive an email from your online shopping site about a great offer, and asks you to follow a link to view it, then here’s what you should do. Go to the website by typing its URL in the browser or Google, and verify if it is really hosting any such offers. Never click such links in emails even if they seem to have come from your favorite or a popular retailer.

Have Anti-phishing Protection on Your Computer
Nowadays, it is impossible for normal users to differentiate a fake, phishing website from a real one. Even a professional, neatly done website that seems innocuous, can be a compromised site waiting for you to fall into its trap. Hence, having an anti-phishing protection on your computer can be extremely beneficial. This feature, as the name suggests, automatically restricts user from landing on a fraudulent or phishing website.

If you think you have some more credit card security tips to add to this post, please feel free to leave them in the comment box below.

Stay safe!

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