Online shopping is becoming a very common way for people to find things that they can’t find in a big box store close to them or don’t have the time or patience to travel to somewhere farther away to buy it. The Internet offers convenience and selection that most other places simply aren’t able to offer. However, it is important to keep your financial information safe when you are shopping online. There are many ways you can do this and they can include security from your computer or from the credit card issuer as well.
Your computer — Nearly all new computers come with software installed that is meant to protect you from threats that could come to your computer and the important personal information that it holds through the Internet. There are con artists that are very good at getting other people’s information off of a computer that is not protected. If you take the right precautions you can protect yourself and your information safe while you are shopping online. Make sure that you have Internet firewalls, anti-spyware and antivirus software installed and active on your computer when you shop online. These are simple things you can do that don’t require much effort and when they are done properly can protect you a great deal from the fraud of your credit card.
Your card – There are also many things that are put into place by credit card companies to protect your accounts from fraudulent charges. It is important as a credit consumer to understand what features and benefits are offered to you and what the creditor’s expectations of you are as a responsible customer. The Big Four credit card companies are American Express, MasterCard, Visa and Discover. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a policy in place that a consumer is only liable for the first $50 of fraudulent charges on their credit cards. But the Big four take it even further, and each company has their own Fraud Protection policies, but each of them has in place a $0 liability policy in place for fraudulent charges. This means for all of their customers that you can shop online with confidence. However it is important to note that they enforce this policy only when it is really fraud and not just an excuse for making a foolish purchase and when you have taken reasonable measures to protect your account from theft.
Even though the Big Four offer this no-liability protection for you in case of fraud, it is also important to understand what other securities are in place for your particular card. You can find this out by reading the literature that came with your card or by calling the number on the back of the card. They should be willing to tell you what security features you have on your card and what ones are available for you to use or purchase. Another thing that will really help with keeping your account protected from fraud while shopping online is to have electronic billing and the ability to monitor your account online as well. This will help you to see when there might be potential fraud much sooner than with a monthly paper statement. Some cards even offer incentives for having your statements online. Many cards also allow for you to sign up for alerts when there is something abnormal that happens with your account so that you are aware.
Attentiveness is the most important thing to keep in mind when you choose to shop online. There are many measures in place to keep your information and your money safe, but you should also be helping by keeping a sharp eye and paying attention to what is going on with your credit.