Online Shopping: Keeping Yourself Safe From Fraud

by Barbara J. Feldman on November 24, 2007

When it comes to online shopping, everyone has their theories about what is safe and what is not safe to do. Some people believe that once you put your credit card number online to make a purchase, your financial safety will forever be compromised. Others don’t even think twice about putting their credit card numbers somewhere out there in cyberspace and have been shopping online for years without a single incident. Of course there are going to be extreme cases of any type of activity. But when it comes to online shopping, everyone wants to stay safe and protected from fraud.

You may be one of the more Internet savvy computer users out there who knows everything that there is to know about Internet security and safety while shopping online. But then again, you may be looking for ways to improve your security or you may feel more comfortable shopping online if only you know what more you should do to protect yourself from the scam artists and thieves who you have heard so much about. Here is a rough look at some of the easiest and yet highly effective steps that you can be taking to drastically reduce your chances of being the target of a thief.

1.Protect your computer — You cannot always guarantee that the person on the other side of your Internet connection is going to have taken precautionary measures to ensure security, but you can control the security level of your own computer. Installing and then regularly updating anti-virus and firewall software on your computer will ensure that you have the most up-to-date protection available. Hackers are constantly finding their way around firewalls. Updates create new boundaries that they must then figure out how to overcome. An out-of-date firewall is like figuratively securing your information not with a wall, but with a piece of Swiss cheese.

2.Guard your information — Remember that no one can get your information unless you offer it to them. Until you actually type in your credit card number or other personal finance information, there is nothing that a scammer can do to commit credit card fraud. The key is to be protective of your information. Do not recklessly give it to anyone who asks for it. Investigate small companies who are still building a reputation of security. Look for customer reviews, see if the business is registered with the Better Business Bureau Online, call contact numbers and verify that there is an actual physical location where the company is headquartered. Researching a company may take some time, but the effort will be worth it when your identity and credit card security are still strongly intact.

3.A credit card is your safest method of payment — Sometimes it seems as if you are putting yourself in the most danger when you decide to “charge it” online because you may have a high credit limit and a low account balance. In reality it is far safer to use your credit card than to send money or a check or even use your debit card when making a purchase online. If you use cash or check there is no way to recover that money if a deal turns sour. Likewise, unless your bank has specific fraud protection along with their debit card accounts, you will get no help recuperating fraudulent funds. A credit card on the other hand carries with it the resources of the credit card company and the FTC. According to the FTC, if you report fraudulent use of your card, you are only responsible for a maximum of $50 of the fraudulent purchase.

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Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "Online Shopping: Keeping Yourself Safe From Fraud." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 24 Nov. 2007. Web. 17 Jul. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/tech/1232/online-shopping-keeping-yourself-safe-from-fraud/ >.