While the internet keeps us connected with the world and allows us to access new opportunities, products, and experiences, the internet has its fair share of dangers. Just like in the physical world, the virtual world is home to crooks and scammers looking for as much personal information as they can trick you into giving them.
Some people are ultra-cautious when paying for things over the internet, while other people flash their credit cards around without a care. No matter who you are, you’ll benefit from learning how cautious you need to be with your money on the internet.
Don’t Avoid Using Your Credit Card Online
Many people actually do avoid using their cards online no matter what website for fear that the place they are purchasing from is going to steal their information from them. Let me tell you, I’ve purchased from dozens of online stores and have never once gotten my card information stolen because respected online stores are more interested in gaining repeat customers then going on frivolous spending sprees with your credit limit.
While it might not be incredibly smart to syphon off your credit card information to some random guy you met on Craigslist, buying from a respected online retailer is designed to be safe and easy. If a business has a good reputation or you can trust it in-store, then chances are it’s completely safe online as well.
Do Vet the Places You’re Purchasing From
Sometimes the harm isn’t always in a company stealing your credit card information, but simply stealing money from you and never sending you a product or sending you a product that doesn’t resemble what you ordered. A lot of companies do this and get away with it big time. So how do you check to make sure that you’re not getting scammed?
Reviews! Companies like the Better Business Bureau and other business review sites collect user ratings and determine the reliability of companies so you can decide whether they’re worth your time. By reading reviews you can see why certain companies preform the way they do. If a lot of people are saying that they scam their customers in one way or another, then it’s not even worth trying to make a purchase.
Do Make a PayPal Account
PayPal is a free online account that keeps your money secure. Whether people are paying you online or whether you’re paying others, PayPal is incredibly useful for making safe transfers without having to offer your credit card information to the other party. You can therefore store money in PayPal like any other account and, if you want, you can store your credit card information so that you can pay by card securely online. Moreover, PayPal has what they call Purchase Protection. So, if you end up purchasing a jaunty hat, but when it gets to you, you realize that the company scammed you and sent you a miniature hat fit for a doll, PayPal will help you get your money back.
Don’t Stray from the Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi keeps you secure, so wait until you’re at your own home, protected under your own secure Wi-Fi to make an online purchase. Making a purchase on a data plan or in a personal hotspot can make you vulnerable to other people on the network, simply because, if you can imagine, you’re browsing and doing business on what you could consider a public channel of the internet.
Furthermore, making purchases on your laptop is also probably a smarter way to go. Using cellphones to do personal things like make purchases can open you up to similar problems with security. So, in the future, wait until you get home to your computer to do your online shopping.
The online marketplace is a wonderful way for us to buy new products, work, and hire others. Unfortunately, the growing online market opens us up to all kinds or virtual thieves and scammers so it’s important to keep our credit card information safe and private. Next time you go online shopping, remember these tips and tricks to keep you and your money in good hands.