Nervous about shopping online because of concerns about credit card fraud? Here are a few tips to help you shop wisely and protect yourself:
1. Talk to your bank or credit card company and arrange for a separate, low limit credit card to use exclusively for online purchases. This will give you some peace of mind in case your card information is compromised as the fraudulent amount would only total a few hundred dollars rather than thousands of dollars. Remember though, you are not financially responsible for fraudulent charges in most cases (check your credit card terms).
2. Review your credit card terms. Most companies do not hold you financially accountable for fraudulent charges. If you do notice fraud charges, contact your credit card company immediately. They will freeze your account from further purchases as well as remove the charges from your account. You will have to sign affidavits that the charges were not yours and are indeed criminally charged on your account.
3. Use your credit card online rather than a debit card that is attached to your bank account. Although the money in your bank account is normally protected against fraudulent charges as well, it can take a few weeks for your bank to reimburse your account. There is paper work involved and you'll need to sign affidavits.
Since your living expenses still need to be paid while you're waiting for your money to be returned, having an empty banking account only adds stress to an already stressful situation.
4. Consider using an online financial service such as PayPal.com. When you use PayPal, online merchants don't have access to your credit card information. Since PayPal transactions require you to login and confirm each purchase, this can reduce the risk of fraudulent charges. PayPal also has a Buyer Protection policy in place.
5. Before entering any confidential information online (such as your credit card information), make sure the connection is secure by looking at your browser's address bar. The url should start with https:// rather than just http:// (notice there is an 'S' with the secure connection). Also look for a small yellow padlock symbol in the browser's status bar at the bottom. This yellow padlock symbolizes a secure connection.
Shopping online can provide you with a much greater selection of goods and save you money with all the price cuts and deals one finds online. By shopping smart on the internet, you can help keep the shopping experience a pleasant one.