Online security: credit card safety
Privacy and identity theft concerns are the reason some people are still reluctant to shop online using a credit card. But according to Spinweb, it may actually be safer than handing your credit card over to a waiter or store clerk in person. They say that is, in part, because when you use your credit card online at a safe, trusted site, your credit card information is likely never even seen by human eyes. Also, you’re entering your information onto a page that is encrypted, which means it is encoded in a way that can’t be easily deciphered by unauthorized people, hackers or thieves.
But that doesn’t mean that all online shopping sites are safe. It’s important for you to do a little due diligence to make sure that your online experience is as safe as possible.
- Make sure the site is a reputable company that you know and trust. Large companies with proven reputations like Amazon, Apple and Sears, for example, are probably very trustworthy. Small, unknown companies with dodgy, unprofessional looking websites may not be. Do your research.
- When you’re in the online store part of a website, check the URL address bar to make sure that you see the letter “s” in the URL. It should read: https://, not just http://. The “s” means you are on a secure, encrypted site. Secure sites will also have a small lock icon in the lower right corner of the screen.
- Shop online from your home computer, not on a public computer at work, the library or a cyber café. You don’t have control over who else has access to a public computer and you don’t know if it has been protected against or infected with spyware or malware.
- Many online stores will give you the option of storing your credit card information on their sites in order to make it easier and faster for you to shop there in the future. While reputable sites will always do everything possible to protect your personal information, it’s still possible for them to be hacked. If your information is stored with them and they experience a security breach, it could be compromised.
- Always check your credit card statements thoroughly when you receive them. If you see anything that doesn’t seem right, contact your credit card issuer right away.
- You should never reveal your PIN number when shopping online, and no reputable company will ask you for it.
- Some companies require you to input the 3-digit security code on the back of your credit card. This means they want to make sure that the cardholder actually has the card in their hands when shopping—they’re looking out for you!
Online shopping can be a convenient way to buy just about anything from the comfort of your own home. Exercising a little caution and common sense can help keep you safe and secure online.
410222 CAN/US (04/15)