Credit card fraud and identity theft are legitimate and widespread threats in the world today, with credit fraud costing the U.S. over $8 billion annually. In a world that is becoming increasingly digital, it's important to know how fraud can happen and how to avoid it.
Preventing fraud isn't always as simple as avoiding online shopping. Global e-commerce sales generate $931,490 every 30 seconds through desktop sales, which means stopping the flow of online shopping is near impossible. So if you love to shop online, but you're concerned about identity theft, here are five tips to help make your online experience a safer one.
Shop Familiar Brands
Rather than using a search engine to shop, start by going to a trusted retailer. Search results can be rigged to lead you astray, especially when you drift past the first few pages of links. If you're familiar with the site, chances are it's less likely to be a scam or a rip-off.
Use Credit, Not Debit
While your debit card may be the one you always have at the ready, shopping with it online isn't always the smartest decision. Credit cards offer consumers additional protection when shopping online. The main advantage here is that a credit account is in no way linked to whatever funds you actually own.
Look for the Lock
If a website doesn't have SSL encryption, you should avoid purchasing any products there. SSL encryption can be spotted in the URL if it uses HTTPS instead of just HTTP. An icon of a locked padlock will appear, typically in the status bar at the bottom of your web browser, or right next to the URL in the address bar.
Use Your Mobile Network
Approximately 50% of digital consumers are expected to start making payments with mobile devices in the near future. While mobile devices can pick up Wifi, it may be smarter and safer to use your mobile network, which is always protected where Wifi may not be.
Keep Personal Information Personal
A retail website will never need your date of birth or your social security number in order for you to complete a purchase. If any retail website asks you for a social security number during a card not present transaction, do not go through with the purchase.
Shopping safe in a store is one thing, but the internet is a vast sea of potential dangers that you need to be aware of. Protect your bank account and your identity whenever you're online.