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Once you experience the convenience of online shopping, there is no going back. With everything going digital, entering your credit card details online is a regular occurrence, and while it is generally safe, risks such as spyware, phishing sites, and fraud are always a possibility.
However, it should not keep you away from shopping online. Being vigilant and aware of these five things before you share your credit card details online should keep you safe.
Device and Network
Being aware of the device and network you are signed up on is critical to the safety of your credit card information. Using a private mobile phone or computer, instead of a communal device at a library or college, and private Wi-Fi networks instead of the public Wi-Fi at your local coffee shop are things to look out for.
Public networks leave you vulnerable to hackers on the same connection looking to intercept your information. If your needs are urgent, options such as a VPN (virtual private network) or connecting to a hotspot on your phone are preferable.
Similarly, a public computer could be infected with spyware, or it might save your login information, which is not a concern in personal devices with updated operating systems and installed security software.
Online Store's Credibility
Careful consideration of where you are shopping should be a priority. While large and reputed online stores are almost always safe, some research on the merchant’s website and customer reviews will not harm. Besides reviews, there are other red flags to look out for.
Secure online stores process your payments through an encrypted channel, and a padlock before the merchant’s URL or the letter ‘s’ after ‘http’ in it are proofs of that encryption. The absence of either of them, besides websites that frequently crash or flood you with popups, are clear signs to stay away.
Virtual Credit Cards
Credit card issuers such as Bank of America, Capital One, Venmo, and Citi, as well as third-party digital wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, offer the use of virtual credit card numbers. While these transactions are linked to your account, a one-time-use virtual number (a process called tokenization) is passed onto the online store, instead of your actual number.
Even if this credit card number is compromised, it would be of no use to the perpetrator as it is expired. Using PayPal checkout (if the online store allows) is another option to consider before entering your credit card details at an online store.
Additional Security Layers
Even if the online store and your settings are all secure, you need to be aware of the possibility of a data breach at their end. Two-factor authentication and account alerts are resources that will protect you in case your credit card details are compromised.
All credit card issuers, as well as third-party apps like Google Authenticator, offer the service of text or email with an OTP (one-time password) before a transaction is completed. Moreover, setting up alerts for ‘card not present’ (online) transactions, those that exceed a pre-set amount, or any transactions at all are additional safety measures.
Regardless of how cautious you are, you need to be aware of the responsibility that comes with sharing your credit card details on the internet. You should update your applications and anti-malware regularly while ensuring that all browsers and devices that contain sensitive credit card details are protected with strong passwords.
Moreover, you should always monitor your credit card statements to look out for any suspicious activity. If you notice something that doesn’t check out, all it will take is one phone call to reverse that.
The world of online stores is huge and can be confusing, so you need to be careful at all times. Simple measures such as being aware of the merchant, the device, and the network, and adding additional layers of security will go a long way towards keeping your sensitive information safe!
If you are having trouble placing your next order from your favorite online store in Korea, or are in doubt about sharing your credit card details, we can help you with our unique order placement and shipping services. Check out our ‘We Buy and Ship‘ service to shop anything you want from anywhere in the world!
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