5 Safety Tips for Using Your Credit Card Online

  • If there is a special offer where you must click the link, double check the sender to make sure it is legitimately from the actual company, and not a faker.
  • You can of course look for the SSL or TLS next to the URL to see if the site is encrypted, but sometimes even that isn't enough.
  • If you're thinking about using your credit card to make a purchase online using a public computer at a library or net cafe, don't, that's a bad idea.

Using your credit card online to make purchases can be a fast and easy way to make shopping a breeze. However, there are many things that could go wrong, and lead to you having your credit card data stolen. This is a worst case scenario so you want to make sure that you know how to avoid putting yourself into risky situations. Let’s take a look at five tips you should know for using your credit card online safely.

Use apps to detect unsafe websites, and only use your credit card over a connection that you know for a fact is secure.

1. Beware of Email Scams

One of the most common ways for a person to have their credit card info stolen is getting tricked by an email phishing scam. A phishing scam is when someone tricks you into entering your information into a form and submitting it, usually by pretending that it’s a legitimate offer. Instead, it gets recorded by the scammer.

To avoid this, you should visit a website by using it’s URL rather than by clicking links in emails. If there is a special offer where you must click the link, double check the sender to make sure it is legitimately from the actual company, and not a faker. Then when you get to their site via email, make sure that you double check the URL to make sure it is the actual real site, not a fake site.

2. Use Security Apps and Programs

It can be hard to tell if a website is legit, or if it is a fake that just wants to take your credit card info. You can of course look for the SSL or TLS next to the URL to see if the site is encrypted, but sometimes even that isn’t enough. (And if you’re wondering what is TLS, it’s basically just a more secure version of SSL).

To deal with this problem, you can use online security apps and programs like McAfee Web Advisor that can tell if a site has been marked as dangerous. Apps like these will prevent you from even clicking on a dangerous site that could steal your info, making them a great asset.

3. Don’t Use Your Credit Card on Unsecured Computers

If you’re thinking about using your credit card to make a purchase online using a public computer at a library or net cafe, don’t, that’s a bad idea. Not only can other people who use the computer possibly find your information, people can leave bad programs like keyloggers and other things that can collect data from the computer. While most places that offer public Internet access are careful to keep their computers secure, it still isn’t worth the risk in many cases especially if you have other options.

A phishing scam is when someone tricks you into entering your information into a form and submitting it, usually by pretending that it’s a legitimate offer.

4. Beware of Using Your Credit Card on Unsecured WiFi

A similar security risk is when you use your credit card online while connected to a public WiFi source, such as at the airport or at a somewhere like McDonald’s. While these places also do their best to keep their connection secure, they are hot spots for criminals who want to steal information like credit card numbers because so many people are using the WiFi. If you can, wait until you know for a fact that you’re on a secure WiFi connection before using your credit card, such as waiting until you get home, and using your own connection.

Stay Smart and Stay Safe

Using your credit card online is a must in many situations but before you use it, take the time to be doubly sure that you’re not falling for a phishing scam, or using your card in an unsafe location. Use apps to detect unsafe websites, and only use your credit card over a connection that you know for a fact is secure. If you stay smart about keeping your information secure, you can stay safe from the scammers and criminals who want to take it, and that’s a fact.

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Kevin Gardner

Kevin Gardner graduated with a BS in Computer Science and an MBA from UCLA. He works as a business consultant for InnovateBTS.

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