How to Protect Your Credit Card when You Shop Online

shopping cart of ornaments

NOTE: ‘Tis the season for gift giving and because on-line credit card fraud has become so widespread, we are updating our very best online shopping tips for protecting your credit card and avoiding scams during the holiday season. Shopping on-line using an unprotected computer or unfamiliar Internet links or multiple credit cards can inflict significant financial consequences.

Protect Yourself from Online Fraud & Scams

Credit card fraud is rampant and your credit union wants to help you avoid becoming a victim. Fraudsters and scammers are always on the prowl and they are looking for ways to take advantage of you to steal your identity and run up charges on your credit card and bank accounts. Follow these tips to help protect yourself from fraud.

Never Use Your Debit Card to Make On-line Holiday Purchases

Be especially careful when you are using your credit card to shop on-line (and never use a debit card on-line). Surfing the Web or shopping on-line using an unprotected computer or unfamiliar Internet links can inflict significant financial consequences.

On-line shopping deals can be hard to resist, especially during the holidays. Unfortunately, some of these unknown e-commerce Websites are run by scammers and the orders you place will never be delivered. Instead, these scammers will steal and sell your credit card payment information you provide. Criminals are also likely to immediately make fraudulent purchases on your card before you have time to detect the fraud.

Ask yourself: Is this legit? Only Shop On Websites You Trust

Be aware of online scams when making internet purchases or even donating to charities. Does the deal look too good to be true? Is the website asking for irrelevant personal information? Ensure you are purchasing from legitimate and secure sites, and make sure you have the most updated anti-virus software just in case. Important advice when you are shopping on-line is to use only Websites you know and with which you already have secure purchasing relationships.

Avoid using Public Wi-Fi for On-line Holiday Shopping

It’s best to make your transactions only on trusted networks. Hackers are known to troll unsecured Wi-Fi networks for passwords and logins to financial accounts, including your payment card information. Use extreme caution when using unsecured networks and refrain from giving credit card information during those on-line sessions. Wait until you are on your own secured computer to make purchases, and even then, only on known e-commerce Websites.

Use One Low-Limit Card for All Your On-line Purchases

Another prudent protective strategy is to use only one, separate, low-limit credit card for all your on-line purchases. Isolate your on-line exposure to this one card and watch its activity carefully (on your monthly statements and by frequently checking your account).

Good to Know: Resist the temptation to click on strange links, take surveys or participate in polls when you are not familiar with the organizations promoting them. Hackers and scammers use these click-bait tactics to fish for data to use for identity theft, and to download malware onto your computer to find logins, passwords and credit card account numbers.

Monitor Your Transaction History

It’s always important to keep a close eye on your transaction history and to review your account information regularly. In the event of unauthorized transactions or discrepancies in your account, continuously monitoring your account will help you to flag suspicious activity to your bank or credit union.

It pays to know how to protect yourself and your financial accounts from malicious fraudsters. Be extremely careful on-line!