Most of us conduct business online. Whether it’s purchasing gifts, paying bills, registering for events, or ordering supplies, making payments online is more convenient. However, each time we enter our credit card or bank account information, we are risking it being stolen and maliciously used. Here are some other dangers you may not think about when it comes to E-commerce and some tips on how to be safer.
Danger: Storing payment information online.
When you are prompted to enter your credit card and bank account information to pay for something, be mindful that this information can be captured and stored in this program. While most large online companies have proper security in place so your actual credit card numbers, expiration date, and address isn’t visible (by using asterisks “**** **** **** **12”), criminals can make purchases from that site if they gain access to your login and password.
How to avoid it: Slow down upon checkout (I know you’re in a hurry to shop!) Before you click “Submit,” be on the lookout for a checkbox that asks if you want to store this payment information. If there isn’t a checkbox, there may be a prompt that appears asking if you want to save your credit card for future purchases. To avoid the possibility of people logging in to your account, do not store payment information. It may be less convenient, especially if you shop here frequently, but it is more secure.
Danger: Shopping for better deals.
There are so many good deals to be had on the web. There are also a lot of unreliable businesses that make money on inauthentic items – i.e. fake designer clothes or shoes, pirated licenses of software/music/movies/video games.
How to avoid it: The best way to shop for the best deals AND help ensure that you are getting authentic quality, is to shop on a trusted site that you or someone you know has shopped before. Also, shop where you can read reviews from other shoppers. When a deal is too good to be true, it usually is. Make sure that any high end purchases, such as technology, have warranties, return policies, and have someone you can actually talk to for support or service issues.
Danger: Purchasing from a fake website.
Believe it or not, it is relatively easy and cheap to create a fake website. It’s especially easy if it’s a simple imitation of another website. While you are shopping for better deals (see above), make sure you check out a few things to avoid being fooled.
How to avoid it: Make sure the site you are shopping on has a SSL certificate. What does that mean? It means the site is secure. Look at the entire web address. If the address starts with a “https“- paying careful attention to the “s” – it is an SSL-certified site. That means the site had to go through security measures to confirm its security. Also, pay attention to the spelling of the domain. For example, “www.bankofamerica.com” is real, while “www.bankofameric.com” is not. Legitimate businesses will have a way to contact them usually via a Contact page. There should be a form, live chat, phone, and/or email. Pay attention to the quality of photos. If there are any lo-resolution photos or logos, you should question it’s validity.
Here are other ways to identify a fake site.
Be safe this holiday season and all year long.
If you are shopping for loved ones this holiday season or for birthdays, you may have to create new accounts. You may need to input a lot of other people’s personal information, such as mailing address, phone number, and email address, when sending gifts to family and friends. There are many tools out there to help you store your information securely. LastPass is a great tool that not only saves information, but also protects it from criminals. Save logins, credit cards, and addresses in their “vault.” Another benefit to using LastPass, is when you are logged in you can easily auto-fill payment and shipping information from your LastPass account’s “vault.” Don’t worry, LastPass also has two-factor authentication (2FA) which we always recommend when available.
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