The convenience of online shopping offers is hard to resist. In fact Filipinos tops the list of online shoppers in a recent survey conducted by Nielsen in 2012. But when closing a deal online, the number says otherwise, pointing security as the main concern.
With just a few clicks your shopping is done and you just need to wait for a couple of days to receive your merchandise. There is no need to go to department stores and spend time going through the items on sale. Marketing websites also offer discounts not available when you purchase them directly from the store.
To pay for what you shop online, you could either pay using your credit card directly or could use online payment platforms. You need to sign up and link your credit card to automatically pay. As this payment option gets popular, it becomes the target of fraudsters. Though some banks offer insurance to make you not liable for any fraudulent charges other people make on your account, going through the process of filing for claims can be a hassle. It may take for at least more than a week for them to take off those fraudulent charges. And while the charges are still in your account while the claim is being processed, they accrue interest. Bankers may suggest to pay for those to avoid interest to accrue and will just refund you once the process is completed. Not a very customer-satisfying idea, but that is how it works.
To save you from these inconveniences, here are some practical tips on how to protect yourself from fraudulent charges on your online payment account.
GET A PREPAID CARD
Some banks offer prepaid card that can be used to pay for your online shopping. This can be linked to your online payment platform as well. The following are the advantages of getting one:
- It has a totally different number from your credit card or debit card
- You may load only the amount you need before you can make the purchase
- You can enroll it to your online banking account which makes your card easier to reload
- No maintaining balance
- You will not be charged on interest or annual fees
- 100% approved when you apply one, it will only take one week after your application to get yours
- It can be used where master cards are accepted
- You can still enjoy discounts and freebies
AVOID SOCIAL ENGINEERING
Part of the modus operandi of fraudsters is to trick people to disclose personal information like username and passwords. Never disclose any of your personal information to anyone. Do not send username and passwords even to your family and friend’s email. Emails can easily be intercepted by third parties. And do not give them over the phone unless you are sure who you are speaking with. Always keep your PIN, banks and other legitimate financial institutions never ask for PIN.
BEWARE OF PHISHING EMAILS
Phishing emails are sent by fraudsters pretending to come from a legitimate company. It will lead you to a fake website and will ask you to log in using your username and password. Your personal information will then be captured and become a victim of identity theft. These emails are sent even to non-customers of the company. If you receive one or suspects that you got one, call the company directly to verify if they sent an email like that. Report immediately to the company if you had unknowingly provided your personal information so they could help you protect your account.
SECURE YOUR COMPUTER
Never save your password or username on any of your online accounts. Anyone who gets access to your computer can trace the browsing history, and if your personal information is saved they could then access your accounts. The same is true if you are using public computers on an Internet cafe, check if there is anyone watching over your shoulder trying to spy on your username and password. You can never be too lax if the fraudsters are doing everything they can to get into your account.
INSTALL PROTECTIVE SOFTWARE
Have you tried to visit a website when a message suddenly popped out and asked you to download an application? That could be a Trojan or other malicious software you could download so please beware. Malware can be installed on your computer without your knowledge. It is capable of recording the keystrokes that may capture your username and password. It could also send screenshots of the websites you visit directly to the fraudsters; they could monitor your online activity. Make sure to keep your Firewall on and you have anti-malware software installed on your PC.
E-commerce payment system aids e-commerce payments and follows strict security protocol to protect their customers. They make use of the card verification number or the CVN which should match exactly with the records of the issuing bank to avoid fraud. These payment systems also need to secure a certificate of authority to secure credit card and debit card payments. No matter how scared or stringent their protocols are, we need to do our part to safeguard our interests.
This article is exclusively written for SecurityMatters Magazine by iMoney Philippines.