The ability to make online purchases is one huge benefit of internet-based shopping. You can make online transactions from your home at 3 AM in your ratty pajamas without anyone being the wiser. The convenience is unmatched. That said, protecting your sensitive information, such as credit card and bank account numbers, is essential. There are many things that you can do to ensure that your online transactions are private and protected.
Confirm Website Safety
Reputable shopping websites typically have something called a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate. You may be wondering what is SSL certificate and why you should only use sites that have it. The SSL certificate is there to ensure that the connection between your browser and the website is private so that your online transactions are secure. With this, your information cannot be intercepted. The SSL certificate can be identified by looking at the address bar for the website and searching for a padlock appearing before the website address. Without the SSL, your privacy is compromised, potentially increasing the chances of identity theft, fraudulent charges and the illegal sale of your information. Caller ID spoofing is an issue that is often the result of hackers sharing the personal information that they have acquired via an unsecured website.
Shop With Credit Cards
While it’s incredibly easy to make online purchases with debit cards, credit card companies typically provide much better fraud protection. Major credit card companies provide the account holder complete safety from being held responsible for fraudulent purchases, which is something that is not guaranteed when using bank debit cards.
Use a Protected Internet Connection
It’s always better to keep your online transactions relegated to your internet connection at home. Public WiFi may lack the security measures that you should have at home, and that leaves your information vulnerable to hackers. If you are a frequent user of public WiFi, it’s a good idea to install something called a virtual private network (VPN). VPNs take advantage of something called encryption, making it difficult for hackers to decipher your information.
Check Your Statement Regularly
Checking your credit card statement for fraudulent charges is essential. If your information has been compromised without your knowledge, the credit card statement is the only resource you have to verify whether all purchases made using your information were completed by you.
Focus on Passwords
Each of us probably has dozens of websites where we have created an account and set a password. Because of this, it’s very tempting to use the same or similar passwords for everything to make remembering passwords easier, but this puts your information at risk. Ensure that your passwords are all different from one another to keep your data secure. Additionally, try not to create passwords containing predictable content such as your birthdate, children’s names, mother’s maiden name, birthplace or phone numbers. Decreasing the chances that your password can be compromised is an important step in protecting your online transactions.
Update Your OS
Keeping your computer’s operating system updated is a tip that many people don’t think about, but it’s another important step in ensuring privacy. Check for updates or new versions of your operating system regularly, as these updates often include patches to protect your machine from viruses and malware that can compromise your private information.
Install Antivirus Software
Installing reputable antivirus software is another important step for internet safety. Doing this ensures that your computer recognizes viruses or malware before any harm comes to your machine. Viruses and malware make your computer vulnerable to hackers in several different ways including giving hackers the ability to obtain your information, from social security numbers to credit card specifics. Antivirus software also requires regular updating to ensure that you are getting the most current level of protection.
Maintaining the privacy of those that make online transactions is essential for decreasing issues such as fraud and identity theft, which are both common in today’s world. Taking the steps listed will help give you peace of mind when making online transactions.