When making payments online, many people are correctly worried about the risk of losing control of their financial data, exposing them to fraud and identity theft. In particular, it is important to use safe practices when preparing to make transactions online. Here are a few tips to make sure that you properly secure your payment information when making online transactions.

  1. Use credit, not debit. While most websites accept both credit and debit transactions, using a credit card is a great way to help yourself avoid some of the risk associated with online purchases. When you put your credit card number into the computer, there are multiple ways by which it could be stolen. If your PC has a virus, if the machine handling the financial data has been compromised, or even if the website is actually a fake site meant to phish you, there is always a risk that your number will be stolen. Using a credit card is helpful for a variety of reasons. First, credit cards have greater protections for fraud and theft, and you are less likely to be liable if a purchase goes bad. Second, credit cards don’t take money directly out of your account. This means that if worst comes to worst, you still have access to your savings while you are fighting it out with the fraud department. In other words, the money which is stolen belongs to the credit card company, not you.
  2. Ensure that you are carrying out your transaction on a trusted website. One of the most common ways in which scammers hijack financial info is they create fake websites which appear similar to a legitimate counterpart. Pay careful attention to the URL of the website you are on, and check to make sure that your connection is secured. Legitimate websites will properly encrypt financial data to ensure that it is not intercepted.
  3. Make sure that your computer is virus free. You can only control your end of the transaction. Make sure that any computer used to hold sensitive information or to make purchases is clean of any malware. Make sure to scan your system regularly, and if you suspect that it could be infected, take it in so that a pro can look at it. Even if you get your money back eventually, you don’t want to be dealing with the headache of filing fraud reports and worrying about cash flow.