Using Credit Cards Online

These days you can get almost anything you can imagine without leaving the comfort of your home just by logging on and shopping online. However, with so many new stores popping up all the time and warnings of fraudulent emails how do you make sure your card details don’t end in the wrong hands? Read our suggestions for keeping your credit card details safe.

The Australian Payments Clearing Association has warned of a rising volume of credit card fraud. The amount involved in card fraud reached $233 million in the previous financial year soaring by nearly half from the $157 million reported in the 2006-2007 financial year.

A large part of that huge rise involved card-not-present (CNP) transactions. CNP refers to transactions completed without the physical credit card being actually presented for swiping — and that means those transactions conducted through the phone, the mail, or online shopping.

Fraudsters have found it easy to obtain details on Australian credit cards. The hackers who manage to steal these records often try to sell them on to scam related websites or organised cyber crime groups. You may not know it but your name, home address, email address, phone number, and credit card number (complete with the verification code) could be among a batch of records being peddled to the highest bidder on a website.

Card issuers and banks hasten to assure you that they have credit card security systems in place to ensure that if you fall victim to credit card fraud you will not be made to pay for the fraudulent transactions. Still, it can cause inconvenience. Being careful with card security procedures when using your card for online shopping is still the better way to avoid credit card fraud.

Here are some credit card security steps you can follow:

Making online shopping transactions;

– Make sure the website is a secure site before providing credit card information. The website address should start with “https://” and carry a padlock symbol in the bottom right corner of your computer screen.

– Click your mouse on the padlock to confirm the seller’s identity and registered address.

– Read the page that details the seller’s policies on privacy, security, product returns, and warranties. Look at how the site handles complaints and check for details such as a phone number and importantly a physical contact address.

– Never provide more information than is required to complete the transaction. Sometimes, personal information not really necessary is requested.

– Never follow a link given to you in an unsolicited email. It is best to check the site manually by typing the URL yourself.

– Enroll in secure payment systems — Verified by Visa, for Visa credit cards, and MasterCard SecureCode, for MasterCard. These systems make online shopping safer by allowing you to create a private password to be used every time you pay online to a participating Internet retailer.

– Keep your Verified by Visa or MasterCard SecureCode closely guarded, as well as all passwords to e-commerce websites you frequent. Don’t use the same password for everything, lower your exposure to risk by using a range of passwords for different sites.

Ensuring security in general;

– Never provide sensitive information (financial, personal, credit card details) by email or telephone. There are no security provisions in email and telephones.

– Avoid sharing crucial personal information on websites (including social networking sites).

– Shred documents that contain sensitive information (e.g. bank or credit card statements, receipts, etc.) before tossing them into the rubbish.

– Keep receipts of all credit card transactions and reconcile them with your statements.

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