October 17, 2017
5 Main Rules of Secure Payments on The Web
Making use of online payments is something available to everyone. However, not every website or alleged service you come across will be legitimate. A number of phishing websites and fake payment operatives are set up throughout the internet, praying on the unfamiliar and elderly.
Payment security issues are a constant threat on the internet, one that will never go away due to the number of active hackers. What are some of the ground rules you need to be aware of when paying for something online?
1. Use of trusted platforms
Whenever you are buying something online, make sure that you only do so through trusted platforms. Websites such as Amazon, eBay or Walmart or reliable writing companies are trusted when it comes to using your payment information.
These sites are only supposed to take as much money from your cards as the receipt tells them to, drawing an exact amount from your account (with the added transfer charge). If a website takes more than it was supposed to or if you notice additional charges several days later, you should contact your card provider immediately and block this service from your card. A good and reliable way to distinguish reliable site from dishonest is check the protocol of it, whether it is http or https. Sites that operate with personal and financial information are prohibited to use the http: protocol.
Even if you are using specialized websites for books, clothing or accessories, make sure that you always know what you are getting into by carefully examining the site beforehand. If you are unsure about a website, ask a friend to help you out or find another service that matches your needs.
2. Always check your hyperlink
Depending on how tech-savvy you are, you might know about hyperlinks and how they work. In short, the internet is a repository of hyperlinks, which you access every time you click on a link and go to a different web page. Some of these pages are deliberately designed to look like payment verification pages that ask for your personal information.
Detecting these sites takes a bit of getting used to. They are often masked so well that the only thing differentiating them from real sites is a single letter in the hyperlink.
If you can’t see a padlock icon in your hyperlink bar, you should think twice about entering any personal information that the website is asking of you. While it may be a legitimate site for payment verification, it is more than likely a phishing site designed to take your card information and use it without consent.
3. Stay away from banner ads
Accessing any website through an ad that you saw online might not be a good idea. These advertisement materials show up on a huge number of sites that rely on ad revenue for their income.
However, many of these advertisements are not what they seem, often deliberately masking malicious links as harmless shopping sites, discounts and rewards. This is the traditional tactic of click bait, commonly used amongst scammers.
If you see an interesting ad pop up, ignore it and do a Google search on whatever it is you are interested in. Using Google to access your desired search results is the safest way to avoid malicious content on the web and keep your payment methods secure.
4. Avoid open public networks
Using open Wi-Fi networks is a sure way of getting your information caught by someone you don’t trust. If you find yourself in a park, a coffee shop or a mall and decide to do some online shopping, steer clear of public Wi-Fi networks. It’s far too easy to gain access to devices that connect to these networks and you can have severe consequences for doing so. Use your mobile data for any online shopping you want to do while in public and make sure to do it as fast as possible and keep it to a minimum.
Using your home network and desktop computer is the safest way to shop online while maintaining a relatively high level of security. Not only are desktop computers harder to crack but they are also equipped with antivirus software and better malware detection methods that can help you out tremendously.
5. Check for reviews beforehand
Lastly, it might be a good idea to check for reviews on particular services that you plan on using. If you want to subscribe to a particular unknown service or just use their online features one time, make sure to talk to someone beforehand.
Google searching for user experiences and reviews on particular websites is a good way to verify someone’s credibility. It can also be good practice to check the site yourself, contact it directly, state your intentions and ask for any sort of proof about their legitimacy. Don’t rush into entering your payment information with websites that seem fishy. It might just be personal paranoia, but paranoia can keep your wallet safe when it comes to internet payments.
Web payments have made shopping easier both locally and overseas. You can easily order items from different continents and have them delivered to your doorstep in a matter of days. This sort of technological development has made it easier than ever before to become victim to malpractice, hacking attempts and even identity theft.
Check your favorite websites twice before thinking about trusting them with your personal information. While it may seem like a chore to go through the hoops of checking their background, you would be surprised as to how many fake websites there are on the internet that stalk for unsuspecting buyers and their credit cards.