Whether it is the virtual world or the physical one using your credit card with a few precautions go a long way in keeping it safe. Be cautious and do not become a statistic in the growing credit card fraud!
September 2015, police arrested a student from Vadodara for using credit cards of three American nationals to book air tickets. In March 2013 two top officials of an online shopping portal were arrested after almost 200 complaints were received. The customers paid for various things which they never received.
These are just two examples that highlight a growing trend of frauds and scams related to online transactions that are generally done with the help of credit or debit cards. As per the ASSOCHAM-Mahindra SSG Report, 2015, the number of cyber crimes reported in the year 2011 was 13301, which shot up to 300,000 in the year 2015.
Of the reported cyber crimes, credit and debit card frauds top the list and have seen a 6 times increase in the last three years.
In light of the above facts what should an online shopper do or not do? Can you just stop using your credit card online or pray that it does not happen to you?
Better still follow a few dos and don'ts to keep you safe from falling prey to online shopping frauds.
1. Be careful when using credit card online
Online shopping is very convenient but when we use our credit card online we expose ourselves to potential frauds. While choosing a card it is important that you focus not only on the fees, credit limit, reward structure etc but also on the security features of the card.
Though quite a few rules have been put in place mandatorily by the RBI, it is important to be sure that your credit card issuer is also committed to customer's safety.
Often hackers hack into a bank's website and steal customer's card details which are then used to make fraudulent transactions. If the card company does not have proper security systems in place it makes you vulnerable to frauds. A few ways that can help you stay safe when using your credit card for online shopping.
2. Never store your credit card number on a website
Storing the card number on a website exposes it to a lot of potential threats. The information is available to the website, hackers trying to commit fraud and to anybody else who may use the laptop/computer/mobile apart from you.
You may feel entering the same information again and again is tedious especially for a website which you use regularly and that your device is used by you only so it is safe.
Think again the effort is worth it as you are making things for those trying to commit a fraud.
3. Use secure websites
There are numerous websites available for shopping. Before getting lured by special discounts, trendy designs and fast delivery promises check for the security features of the website especially when making a transaction on a new website.
Check the website URL, it should begin with "https" and there should be some indication on the website to ensure that it a secure one like the sign of a lock or a Verisign website.
Generally all websites mention the recommended security guidelines, mode of payment to be used etc for the safety of the users. Read these carefully before using.
4. Be careful with the names
Do not follow a link that is sent to you in a promotional email to transact. Often those looking to commit frauds may create websites that have similar names with similar web design and lay out to trick buyers.
The difference in name might be too subtle for you to notice and you may end up buying stuff from a dummy website. Type the name of the website yourself.
5. Avoid public terminals
Using public terminals or transacting over a Wi-Fi network makes the user more vulnerable to credit card misuse. You can never be sure about the safety of a public terminal, if they have required safety features (spyware or malware) and who will use it after you. The information you enter can be hacked into and may also be available to other people using the terminal.
Few more tips: Here are a few more tips that can help you being safe...
- Have the requisite safety guards on your computer/phone to prevent hacking
- Extra caution is required when using phones for online shopping; phones are easier to lose
- Never enter your PIN for online shopping. Online shopping requires CVV number and the transaction password that is sent to your phone
- Be vary of sites that ask your PIN number
- Apply for alerts so that you get a message immediately after usage and can take necessary action in case of misuse
Photograph: GotCredit/Creative Commons
The author is Co-founder and Director Credit Vidya.