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    Safety Tips: How to use credit cards for online shopping safely?

    Credit cards today have become an intrinsic part of our lives. You can spend as much as you want and on anything you wish to choose with your card, be it online or offline, as long as it is within your credit limit.

    The ease and convenience with which you can purchase goods and services with credit cards have led to the cards becoming very popular. However, this growth in credit card usage has also resulted in the rise of card fraud both online and offline. With the recent surge in the popularity of online shopping, people are purchasing goods online without any geographical restrictions.

    If you are not cautious while using your card for online shopping, fraudsters can steal your data and make an illegal transaction for which you may have to pay. Although banks have their own advanced security features that detect fraudulent techniques, it is always better to be on the safer side.

    Here we will look at the various steps in detail that you must take when you are using your card to shop online:

    Only use payment services you trust

    When you are shopping online, the online merchant may or may not have tight security measures in place to securely store your card details. So, it is safer to use a trusted payment service provider such as PayPal.

    Avoid making online transactions on public Wi-fi and on shared devices

    Public Wi-Fi is likely to be unsecured and are prone to attack from cyber criminals as they can easily access data passing through the network, including your card details. Shared devices can actually be carrying malware. This may allow others to capture your card details.

    Go through the online merchant’s privacy policy

    You must know what the merchant wishes to do with your card and personal details and for how long they are planning to keep them before sharing it with them. Confirm that they include Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) in their policy.

    Avoid saving your card details on your devices

    Whenever you make an online transaction using your card, all the details are collected in the cache of the browser. If the device gets infected with malicious software, cyber criminals can get access to your card details easily. Also, if your device gets into the wrong hands, all your personal and credit card data will be exposed. So, you must always avoid saving your card information on the device or you must clean your browser’s cache immediately after making an online transaction.

    Do not share your personal and card information over email

    Trustworthy and reliable merchants will always have in place a safe online transaction system. It is not safe to send sensitive information over email as it can possibly be read by outsiders, so avoid it completely.

    Ensure that the site where you are making online transaction uses https

    On the website’s address bar, you must make sure that the address starts with https and not http. Whatever data is shared on https websites are in an encrypted format and cannot be read by any hackers. It is easy to verify the reliability of websites that use https through digital certificates. Another way to verify whether the site is secured or not is to check if there is a padlock symbol on the address bar.

    Many instances of online fraud can be prevented from taking place if you are aware of rogue websites or if you can identify one. Let us now take a look at the various steps that you can take to identify a rogue website.

    • If you want to know the real-time data on the level of reliability of the website, you can use the website advisory software.
    • If the seller’s information is not mentioned, it is likely to be a rouge website, so always contact the seller before making a transaction.
    • If you are unsure about the trustworthiness of the website, do not rely on it. It is better to be on the safer side.
    • If there is a rouge seller, someone who had an unhappy encounter with that particular seller may have gone out there and shared his/her experience. So, always note if there are any negative reviews or criticisms about the website.

    Security Protocols for online shopping

    Apart from the issue of safety, you should also be aware of the following while using credit cards for online shopping:

    • Many online merchants these days have introduced another layer of security known as 3D Secure when you make an online transaction. With 3D Secure, you will be asked to enter a One-Time Password (OTP) sent to your registered mobile number which you will have to enter to complete the transaction.
    • If you want, you can request your bank to send you a transaction alert on your registered mobile device every time a transaction is carried out using your card. This will keep you posted if any unauthorised transaction takes place on your card.
    • Once a transaction carried out with your card is approved, you are required to make the payment of the amount incurred to the card issuer. However, if a transaction takes place without your authorization, you can inform about it to the card issuer and ask for remedial steps to be taken.
    • Online transactions charged in a foreign currency and transactions done overseas will be first converted to Singapore dollars. The exchange rates considered to convert these amounts into local currency will differ from day-to-day and from one bank to another.

    If you are the victim of an online credit card fraud, contact the cyber police and report the entire episode and seek advice from them on your next step. Also get in touch with your card issuer straightaway and block the credit card.

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