While it’s our goal here at ACH-Payments.com to provide merchants with secure and reliable payment solutions, from choosing an ACH payment processing service to choosing a reliable payment gateway, we’re also dedicated to helping consumers make informed decisions when it comes to making payments online.
According to data from the U.S. Department of Justice, 10% of Americans have been victims of credit card fraud and 7% of Americans have been victims of debit card fraud. That’s approximately 2 in every 10 Americans falling victim to card fraud. In other words, if you’re a credit or debit card user, you’re 17% likely to be a victim of card fraud.
Also, data from the FBI has revealed that 26% of online credit card transactions in the US can be classified as fraud; obviously, the internet contributes a significant portion of credit card fraud that happens in the US today.
With that said, whether you’re making credit card payments, mobile payments or ACH payments online, there are steps you can take to be more secure. This article will be sharing a few tips with you to help you be more secure when you make payments online.
Tip #1: Use a Virtual Card
Credit card fraud happens in a lot of ways; most companies don’t use a reliable payment processor and so your credit card could be stored in a way that makes it extremely easy for your details to be compromised.
Also, it isn’t uncommon to read reports about employees stealing customers’ credit cards and using them for their own personal purposes, especially when the organization in question doesn’t use a secure payment processing system.
In other to ensure you aren’t a victim, the best measure is to use virtual cards instead of your real credit card; in other words, you have a virtual card that has a limited pre-loaded amount and that you only use for internet purchases.
In most cases, you can decide to only have a few hundred dollars on it; should your virtual card be compromised, the loss to you will be very minimal.
You can check with your bank or financial institution to see if they offer virtual cards.
Tip #2: Double-check a Website before You Make a Payment
This will only take a second or two but it’ll save you a lot of future potential trouble.
This is one of the most important steps you can take to prevent yourself from being a victim of credit card fraud; whenever you plan to pay for something online, make sure you double check the website you want to pay on to ensure it’s in SSL.
When you make payments on a website that uses SSL, your details are transferred over a secure layer and your data will be secure from anyone “eavesdropping” on your connection; in other words, even if you’re using the Wireless network in the airport, your details will be secure from an hacker listening in.
A website that uses SSL will often start with https://
You can confirm if a website uses SSL by checking if it starts with https:// – while most websites will look like http://www.websitename.com, a secure website will look like https://www.websitename.com
Also, if you’re using a reliable browser you’ll be automatically warned if a website tries to use an invalid SSL certificate.
Tip #3: Ensure Your Computer is up to Date
Make sure you constantly have the latest version of your computer OS and that you have the necessary antivirus software installed and up to date.
In most cases, whether you use a credit card or a virtual card, you will have to personally type your card details into your browser. If your antivirus software is not up to date, an hacker could potentially install a key-logger on your computer that tracks your keystrokes; with this, even your credit card details that won’t be available to someone who has a physical copy of your card would instantly be available to the hacker who has the key-logger installed.
In other words, no matter what, if your computer isn’t up to date or you don’t have an anti-virus suite installed, don’t use your credit card online.
Tip #4: Avoid Paying Through a Link You Got from a Junk Email
You’ll occasionally get that email from “Paypal” that wasn’t really from Paypal or the email from a major online vendor you use that isn’t really from that vendor; in other words, you’ll get what is called “Phishing” emails.
Essentially, a phishing email is an email with a link to a fake site that imitates a real site with hopes of tricking you to enter details you would have entered on that site. You could be tricked to enter usernames, passwords and even credit cards. In a lot of cases, it will be very difficult to distinguish these emails or sites from the real thing unless you carefully scrutinize them.
Most websites won’t send you a payment link via email as a part of their policy and all major email systems will automatically file these emails as junk or spam email; no matter what, avoid paying through a link you got from a junk email.
Tip #5: Don’t Ever Send Your Credit Card Details via Email
When you try to make a payment online to no avail and the webmaster of the site you’re trying to make a payment on offers to help by asking you to send your credit card details so he can handle things manually, don’t!
Even if the webmaster in question is trusted, emails get hacked a lot of times and even if all your details are not in one place, a smart hacker can piece it all together and start using your credit card.
Bonus Tip: Check Your Statements Regularly
Check for unauthorized transactions or for strange charges on your card; sometimes, you’ll do your best to avoid being a victim and still be a victim, so the next best thing is to take action as soon as you notice strange activities on your account.
If possible, get your bank to email or SMS you transactions happening on your credit card.