Online Shopping: Tips for Spotting Fraudulent Charges
Online shopping is quickly becoming the preferred norm for many types of purchases. Unfortunately, online shopping also comes with some inherent risk. In fact, sometimes all it takes is one unsecured transaction for your credit card information to fall into the wrong hands, and end up being maxed out on a shopping spree that will most likely end with the items purchased being returned for cash or resold elsewhere online.
If you have your credit card set to autopay, or you do not bother to read your statement each month, then you may be paying fraudulent charges that you do not even know about. Internet scam artists often test the water, and start off by making small transactions many people do not notice, for as little as one cent or one dollar.
Once they realize that they can get away with using your credit card, they are off to the races. With that in mind, here are some more online shopping safety tips to help you protect yourself from fraudulent charges, and identify bad charges before they add up.
HTTPS Means Secure Transactions
HTTP in a URL stands for hypertext transfer protocol, and denotes (basically speaking) the method by which computers transfer information over the Internet. The extra “S” in HTTPS stands for added security, using encryption via transport layer security to make the information exchanged between computers secure.
In a nutshell, this is a good way to tell if a website is secure. Make sure any site that you purchase from has HTTPS in the URL when you are shopping online. Otherwise, any moderately talented hacker can gain access to your credit card number and billing information.
Watch for the Signs of Fake Sites
We have all made mistakes when typing in the address of a website we want to visit. Sometimes these mistakes can lead you to sites that mimic legitimate businesses but are actually up temporarily to act as a front for scammers looking to collect fraudulent payments and obtain credit card and identity information for other nefarious purposes.
Watch for the presence of trust badges, typically located at the bottom of the site, from Internet security providers like McAfee or Verisign. They are another great way to tell if a website is secure.
Review Your Monthly Statements
Get in the habit of thoroughly reading your credit card statement each month. You typically will only be responsible for the first $50A?of fraudulent charges made on your credit card, and you have the ability to dispute any charges you did not make.
Be on the lookout for any vendors whose names you do not recognize, and watch for those small charges mentioned above. Always keep in mind that credit cards are more secure than debit cards. If you get in the habit of practicing these online shopping safety tips, you should easily stay out of harm’s way.
Check out the LivSecure blog for more online shopping safety tips.