In today’s world, you can manage almost every aspect of your credit cards online. While it is convenient to shop and pay bills over the Internet, you may be concerned about the security risks involved. The good news is that you can reduce your risks by taking preventative action. Follow these tips to make sure your online credit card management is safe.
Many websites allow you to apply online for a credit card. If you’re concerned about sending personal information into cyberspace, chances are you need not worry. In most cases, online applications are just as safe, if not safer, than sending forms through the regular mail system. When you drop an application in the mailbox, your personal information is exposed to numerous potential scammers. The process may take four to six weeks to complete, thereby creating more possibilities for others to see your data. If you send an application through an online connection, however, it will arrive in less than a second to the secured source. When applying online, first check that the site is secure and legitimate; then fill out the application.
Before purchasing an item online, take a few measures to check for security. First, make sure that the company is legitimate. If you are in doubt, you can check with the Better Business Bureau. Next, look for security features on the site. If the payment page has the letter “s” after its “http” code (https:), it is protected with SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer. This applies encryption between your computer system and the company’s Internet server. When your data is transmitted over the Internet, it is encrypted, or scrambled, when it is sent. It is then unscrambled when it reaches its destination. Another safety feature to look for is a small padlock on the screen. Finally, make sure you feel comfortable providing your information. If something on the site concerns you, check into it before paying with your credit card.
Online Statements and Billing
Almost all credit card companies allow you to sign up for online access to your credit card account. When you do, make sure that the site has secure features. Be careful not to use a login name or password that contains obvious personal information, such as your name or date of birth. Check your card activity and online statements regularly for signs of transactions that you did not authorize.
By far, phishing is one of the most dangerous fraudulent activities online. In phishing, scammers send e-mails that appear to be from legitimate companies. They often ask you to respond with personal information to confirm an account or win a prize. Be sure to check your e-mail carefully. A credit card company will never ask you to send personal information, such as your social security number, to them via e-mail. If you receive a questionable e-mail, do not respond to it or open any attachments it contains. Rather, report it to the credit card company or a credit bureau for inspection.
Like other security issues, online credit card management can be safe if proper measures are taken. Check sites for security features, look into online companies before making purchases, and avoid responding to questionable e-mails. By following these steps, you can enjoy the ease of online credit card management without the headache of credit card fraud.