In these days, you can buy almost anything online with your credit or debit card. These methods of payment have made purchasing items and services easier since inception. It provides convenient electronic transaction with just few clicks. In as much as it provides convenient payment methods online, it is also important to understand the security risks involved and how to understand the precautions you should take to safely make payments online. In this post am going to give you tips on how to safely make payments online.
Check https on the web address
Before entering your card details on an online form check to see whether the payment page address starts with https:// instead of http:// the ‘S’ stands for ‘secure’, it provides a layer of security and encryption. The https protocol scrambles your information. The ‘s’ doesn’t necessarily guarantee the transaction is 100% safe, but it’s a fast and easy check that can give you another layer of confidence.
Use PayPal for shopping
Using PayPal will provide another level of security to your online purchase. You will most likely see the PayPal option on most online stores. PayPal will be an intermediary between the buyer and the seller, when you choose the PayPal option during checkout, PayPal will handle the rest of the transaction. All you need is to create a PayPal account at PayPal.com and add your card details, now whenever you want to make payments you don’t need to enter your card number, expiry date and security code; all you do is to enter your PayPal email and password and PayPal will handle the rest of the transaction.
Don’t conduct online transactions in public places using a public computer. You may mistakenly forget to logout of your account. Even if you logout, it is possible for hackers to install keylogger information to record your keystrokes. That will give them your username, password, credit card number and personal information.
Never give out SSN
Never give out Social Security Number to make payments. If a website is asking too much information that you think is irrelevant, stop right there and don’t look back.
Check the seal
Another thing you’ve to check is the seal at the left side of the site address that has a padlock, this isn’t a perfect guarantee of security, but it can help you feel better about your purchase. Most legitimate websites will have some sort of seal of approval from an organisation like McAfee, VeriSign or TRUSTe. This could verify the trustworthy of the vendor. Of course, these seals can be faked, but if there’s no seal at all, don’t enter your information.
Have a strong password
Make sure you set a strong password for your accounts. Always make sure you mix upper and lower case letters, include numbers, symbols and spaces to make your password stronger. And try not to use the same password for all your accounts, because if they get hold of one account they could get hold of your other accounts. To learn more about passwords check out this post.
Type the url of the website instead of searching
Try not to use search engines to search for an online store, make sure you type the address directly on the address bar if you know the URL of the website. There could be fake websites online that could trick you to enter your card information.
Keep your anti-virus up-to-date
Try to install a trusted anti-virus software and keep updating it regularly to avoid attacks and security breaches. It is always important to keep updating your web browser and operating system for new security patches. Most of these updates are done automatically.
Trust your instincts
If you go to a website and you don’t feel comfortable putting your card details, then stop right there!
All these security measures mentioned in this post could help you shop safely online with your credit or debit card. But what you have to take note of is that, nothing can guarantee you 100% safety online, so if you think that shopping online is a bad idea or something you don’t feel comfortable doing or you feel like you’re putting your money at risk, then don’t do it. Or better still, if you can’t actually avoid making payments online, try to have a separate account for your card which won’t be the same as your main account.
Ousman Faal [Digital Vigilante] is a Tech Entrepreneur & Digital Skills Trainer who teaches both in the classroom and online. He has experience in various technologies and likes sharing it with others. Ousman has published 144 articles on this blog. He is the CEO of Faalen Technologies and Skills.gm.