NOTE: Part of this article originally ran in our January 2015 issue. Because on-line credit card fraud has become so widespread, we are updating this reminder to help you avoid becoming a victim. Shopping on-line using an unprotected computer or unfamiliar Internet links or multiple credit cards can inflict significant financial consequences.
On-line shopping deals can be hard to resist. Unfortunately, some of these unknown e-commerce Websites are run by scammers and the orders you place will never be filled. Instead, these scammers steal and sell the credit card payment information you provide. Criminals immediately make fraudulent purchases on your card before you have time to detect the fraud. The best advice when you are shopping on-line is to use only Websites you know and with which you already have secure purchasing relationships.
It’s best to make your transactions only on trusted networks. Avoid using public Wi-Fi for on-line shopping. 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.
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).
One more tip: Don’t 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.
It pays to know how to protect yourself and your financial accounts from malicious fraudsters. Be extremely careful on-line!
Original information came from an on-line article by Bankrate.com. Read more at: http://www.bankrate.com/financing/retirement/social-security-fraud-alert/#ixzz2cxPzOu2w