With over 80 million individuals falling victim to Identity Theft annually and the growing important of online trades in our daily life, the important to improve online payment security is not only a necessity but a vital step one must take to ensure your credit cards stay away from the bad guys. A lot can be done to your discredit if your credit card information is stolen in bits and pieces or in whole. However, it remains of great importance to ensure greater online payment security using the following tips explained below:
Beware of Phishing Scams
Phishing is a term used to describe the luring of an internet user to reveal his personal details especially credit card details on a fake web page or email form pretending to come from a legitimate company. Internet users lured by emails requesting the reader click on a fictitious URL are lured to reveal their credit card information. The most common victims of phishing scams are financial companies, health contractors and insurance firms, mirroring sites in existence; websites the user is probably already familiar with. Although a few internet browsers like Internet Explorer are being programmed to identify phishing websites, the majority of internet browsers do not have this feature and in other cases an internet browsers anti-phishing feature is a reliable point to safety.
Improving ones chances of not falling to internet phishing scams requires a high level of concentration and suspicion on your part. For one be aware that a financial institution would never send you an email notifying you of winning a lottery or something to do with providing your credit card details on the website (however secure they may present it to be.) Whenever such suspicions emails arrive you must contact a bank representative and confirm your need to provide such details. If allowed you should prefer to provide such information over the phone. Again, do not call any numbers provided in the suspected emails for confirmation, as they too may be fictitious.
When reading the email take a close look at the URL and take note of any irregularities with the bank name or web address itself. Obviously if you are required to provide personal detail be sure to take note of [web security].
This is probably the easiest thing you can do for yourself. Whenever you find yourself browsing e-commerce sites you must be careful to notice the presence or absence of SSL encryption on the web page where you’d be required to submit your credit card information. Many internet browsers will display a green icon somewhere on the address bar to indicate a secure page. In other cases, you might have to search directly on the page itself for some form of reinsurance such as an SSL logo, McAfee logo, Better Business Bureau (BBB) logo or other logos from an authoritative source. Another way to identify a secure page is to locate the presence of “https:” rather than the usual “http:” on the URL.
Masked Credit Card Numbers & Card Security Features
A growing number of financial companies have introduced a feature to provide cardholders a masked credit card number representing the real one. A masked credit card number is mostly valid for one or more transactions as chosen by the cardholder. If stolen these credit card numbers cannot be used once they have already been used by the cardholder. Some card companies let cardholders choose a period of hours or days in which the masked number remains valid. Other card security features gaining prominence include blocking the use of your credit card outside your country of residence.
Online Account Access
With online account access cardholders stay up to date with payment transactions, card charges, and financial information relating to the card. This feature is useful for noticing fraudulent transactions in good time. It might not help prevent identity theft but a good way to ensure you do not get too deep in authorized charges is to remain vigilant over your card statements and the online account center.
As is seen above, taking these steps to promote greater online payment security is one more thing you need to avoid identity theft and reduce fraud.