Security Considerations for Online Shopping
18 Dec 2008
Christmas is just around the corner. Have you made your list of presents to get for all your loved ones?
During the holiday season, shopping at the malls might be less enjoyable because of the crowd. If you are considering shopping online, there are a myriad of options available. What’s more, the online shops are accessible seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
But, you may ask, is it safe? There are so many news articles about credit card thefts happening to people who shopped online, or even having their identities stolen. In fact, there was an estimated loss of US$3.6 billion in online revenues due to online fraud in 2007.
To prevent credit card fraud and ensure safer online purchases, here are some simple tips to follow:
- Always make sure the merchant is reliable.
Reliable merchants are typically certified with trust labels. Some of the more common ones are TrustSG, Truste or Verisign. It is also a good practice to scan through reviews of merchants to determine their reliability and authenticity before submitting your personal information.
- Ensure the website protects your information.
Before entering any personal or financial information, make sure the website is encrypted. This means the information that will be sent to the merchant is scrambled. In this way, it prevents a hacker from obtaining the information en route.
One simple way is to ensure the website starts with https:// as this indicates the channel is protected by Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).
The other indicator is the symbol of a lock either at the top or bottom of the webpage, which also indicates SSL protection.
Both are depicted in the picture below:
- Use one credit card just for online shopping.
Using a separate card for online shopping makes it easier to monitor if suspicious transactions are performed. You can also limit any damage that you may incur by pre-determining a lower credit limit on that card.
- Don’t email your personal or financial information.
Email is typically not a secure medium for transmitting information like personal or financial details such as credit card information or your bank account information. It would be more prudent to submit such information via the merchant website after ensuring that protection mechanisms such as SSL are activated.
Do have fun shopping but please stay alert. And if you find any website suspicious, don’t make purchases from there. You can probably find a similar item on other websites.