More people are shopping online today than ever before, and people in general are more relaxed about Internet security issues and online credit card payments. Making online purchases has become so common today that many people are not vigilant enough about protecting themselves and their money. There are a number of simple things that you can do before making that online credit card purchase that will make your financial life safer and more worry free. I will go over 10 easy things that you can check before giving away your credit card details; simple information that can really keep you out of trouble.
Buying things online is not necessarily a dangerous activity, in fact it is probably the safest way to shop if it is done right, as no people are involved in the transaction.
1. The first thing to check before giving away your important card details is that the site you are purchasing from has an address that starts with ‘https://’, the ‘s’ is the all important letter as it stands for secure and means exactly that.
2. The second thing to look for is a yellow lock in the bottom right hand corner of your browser window, meaning that the site is being encrypted or scrambled.
3. Another more general tip is to check out the reputation of the vendor you want to use; is there any negative feedback about them online?
4. The fourth tip is to find some independent reviews of the company by searching authority review sites or reputable forums. Word of mouth travels fast if a business is truly dodgy.
5. Another important thing to do is to check that the company you wish to purchase from is actually who they say they are; there have been some recent cases of fake emails circulating and directing people to fake shopping sites of a well known online business. Check that the URL address is the same address that you normally use and that the company logos and designs are not replicas.
There are many things that you can do as an online shopper to enhance the security of your transactions.
6. Make sure that you are running an up to date version of some well respected anti virus software, this will stop viruses and worms from installing themselves and tracking your key strokes. This is especially important as credit card data can be stolen in this way.
7. Check that an appropriate firewall is also installed to make it much harder for malicious software to get on to your hard drive.
8. You can be even more careful by running your computer through a startup monitor prior to a purchase to make sure that you have no such software trying to register itself as a start up program in your machine. The final two checks have more to do with common sense than security, but are still important.
9&10. Before giving away your credit card make sure that the company offers a guarantee on the goods and that they ship them to your area, as it is no use having bought a product that you can’t even get a hold of.