The more you buy online, the more you open yourself up to possible theft of your credit card information.
Let’s face it: buying and selling things online makes life easier, but every transaction that we make leaves us with a voice in the back of our head saying, “Are you sure that website is safe?” or “What would happen if someone got my card information and used it for malicious purposes?”
If you find that you are constantly asking yourself these questions, and all you know is that “https” should be present in your URL bar to prevent credit card fraud, then read on for 4 tips for increasing your e-commerce peace of mind.
1. Virtual or Disposable Credit Cards: They Do Exist
Virtual or disposable credit cards add another layer of protection to your day-to-day buying of products online. Essentially, these virtual card providers let you create “fake” credit cards to use when purchasing items. It’s a real credit card number and merchants can charge it like normal, but they never get your real credit card information. This keeps your personal information away from online merchants that may be untrustworthy and limits your financial risk if your virtual card is ever stolen. Most virtual cards let you create a prepaid card (i.e., a card with only a fixed amount of money), so that even if the virtual card is compromised, it would only be for the amount the user put onto the card. How’s that for helping curtail credit card fraud?
2. Use Your Credit Card or Debit Card as Liability Protection
Federal law states that liability for credit card purchases will only allow consumers to be liable for at most $50 for fraudulent purchases. Sadly, there are different laws regarding credit cards and debit cards, and banks may take a very long time to process fraud claims related to debit card use, which could leave a consumer with an empty bank account and no timely recourse. The FTC has created an excellent chart to display your liability for credit and debit card purchases. For more information, visit the FTC’s Website and especially look at the “How to Limit Your Losses” section of the website.
3. Don’t Store Your Credit Card Information on Websites
Not only does storing your credit card number on a website expose it to that site and any hackers trying to commit credit card fraud, but also to anyone else who might use your device, like kids, co-workers, or spouses. If your login information is saved and your card is stored, it’s easy for someone with access to your device to log in as you and buy whatever they want. In a recent survey of web users, we found that over half of them hated having to enter and reenter payment information. We know it’s tedious, but if you don’t want to use virtual credit cards that can auto-fill this information for you, then manually filling it in ensures that no other users of your computer/device have easy access to your credit card information.
4. Check Your Monthly Statement
It may be old fashioned, but it can make a huge impact on finding and assessing fraudulent charges. Checking your monthly statement could alert you to even minor, seemingly insignificant charges that are being made by an unauthorized user of your financial information. Online banking and bank apps make it easy to check your statement from wherever you are. This can help you keep tabs on potential credit card fraud. Many fraudsters will start by testing a small charge–a dollar or less–just to see if your card works. Keep an eye out for any charges you don’t recognize, no matter how small. If you see anything strange, contact your credit card company immediately.