Ten Tips on using credit cards online


Tip 1: Only purchase goods and services from reputed companies when purchasing online always look for reputed known companies.

Companies such as Amazone are well known for online trade. You should not deal with a company which you have never heard of before or if their web site looks unprofessional and hastily designed.

If you are a first time buyer from an online merchant do some research on the organization. See if the contact details are available in the web site. Any reputed organization should have their contact details such as hot lines, fax, and email address listed. If you want to make sure that the merchant’s company really exists you may call them to find out. You can also do a Google search for the company name and see if there are any adverse comments against them. Another possibility is to check in an online business directory or yellow pages for information about the organization.

Tip 2: Enter your credit card details only in secure web sites. Before you enter you CC details on a web site check if the site is really secure. Remember that Internet is a public network. Whenever you enter your CC details only the online merchant and you should be able to read that information. This is achieved by encryption(Scrambling) of information exchanged between you and the merchant. If the address of the we page starts with https://(Notice the additional s at the end of http) that site uses encryption to make information you send unreadable to outsiders. Another sign to look for is a closed padlock icon at the bottom of the browser or next to the address bar. The closed padlock also indicates that the site is using encryption. Furthermore, if you click on the closed padlock your browser will reveal you the real identity of the web site.

Never enter your CC details in a website whose address does not starts with https://. If it does not display a closed padlock or if the padlock is open.

Tip 3: Read the web site privacy policy. Privacy policy is one aspect that many people overlook during online purchases. Any organization collecting your sensitive information such as the CC number should be obliged to protect that information.

Browse through the privacy policy of your merchant and see if they are sharing your information with third parties and what type of security controls are in place to protect your sensitive information.

Tip 4: Print and keep a receipt of your payment All online merchants issue a confirmation page with the purchase details once the payment is accepted. You should print a copy of this page and keep it for future reference. This may will be the only evidence you have regarding your online purchase.

Tip 5: Keep your computer secure. Many criminals obtain your CC details straight from your computer. Internet is full of varies type of malicious software(Malware). Your computer can get infected with these malware when you visit certain web sites or by opening suspicious email attachments. Some of these malware will hide in your system and record your keystrokes(such malware are called keyloggers) and send them to a criminal. The keystroke recorded will also include your CC number and personal details.

In order to avoid such malware you need to have anti-virus and anti-spyware installed. Also you need to update those regularly so that you are protected against the latest threats. Installing or enabling a personal firewall will also help to keep away the intruders.

Tip 6: Don’t become a victim of phishing Have you ever received emails pretending to be from a financial institute asking your personal information such as CC number or Internet banking password? These emails are scams called phishing aimed at obtaining your CC or other personal information. Never trust such emails and never click on links in such emails.

Your bank will never ask for your confidential information through emails. If you need to log on to a particular web site always type the web site address in the address bar by yourself. Also, check and see if the site is secure as mentioned in Tip 2.

Tip 7: Check the web site address if you ever click on a link to visit a web site of a merchant or a financial organization such a s bank always check the web address in the address bar. Don’t be lazy! Take your time to type the correct web address by yourself rather than clicking on links.

Tip 8: Subscribe to alert services provided by banks. Many banks provide SMS or telephone alert services which will inform you once an online payment is made using your CC. Subscribe to these services so that any unauthorized use will not go unnoticed.

Tip 9: Don’t store your CC information on computer or paper. Never write down your CC information on pieces of paper or store them in your computer. There is always a chance that this information may fall in to wrong hands! Destroy any receipts or statements once you don’t need them. Don’t throw these to garbage bins.

Tip 10: Be careful when using public computers. Never use computers in cybercafes or Internet kiosks to purchase goods online. You never know if these computers are secure or not. Public computers may be infected with malware(Tip 5) or someone might be simply watching your actions through the network. Especially, be careful when you travel overseas since you might be compelled to use public computers. It is always a good idea to inform your bank about your travel in advance.

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