Fraud Prevention Tips: Better Safe Than Sorry

Almost everything that we do is connected to the internet. Every time you swipe your card in the store, and especially when you purchase something through a website, you are using the internet to complete your transaction. As the capabilities of the internet have grown, so have the number and skill of computer hackers. They infiltrate our homes and bank accounts through simple methods, and wreak havoc on our lives. To keep yourself protected, be sure to stick to this list.

  1. Protect your card number:
    1. Never email your card number and other information via email or any other unsecure online source. Yes; emails are private, but they aren’t encrypted. This means that a skilled hacker can intercept an email and read your information.
    2. Don’t submit your card information if you aren’t buying anything. Online games and gambling sources can scam you. Tricksters will put up a front that they are a legitimate business, but they are only out to get your money. Once you put in your information, they have you.
    3. Don’t save your card information on a site. Reputable companies have a tight security for their customers, but there are cyber criminals who love to try to pass their firewalls. Once a breach has happened, you’re left vulnerable to have your information used on the black market.
  2. Buy online from trusted sites. If you buy from a personal seller, look for reviews and ratings on that seller to check their authenticity. Amazon and ebay are excellent sites, but at the end of the day, goods are sold through people. Research every seller and business to make sure that they are a trusted source. You can see reviews, look up google information on the business, and review the ratings on the seller.
  3. Only use sites that are verified with full authentication, such as Mastercard Secure Code. Many companies have a secure encryption method for sensitive information like the transfer of money. Paypal, Venmo, and other online companies are credible sources. If the website that you are buying from isn’t protected by one of these encryption methods, do not make the purchase online. Call the business and make the transaction over the phone.
  4. Use credit cards when purchasing online. Most credit card companies have a strong security protocol, and will refund you if any fraud occurs. Plus, it won’t hit your bank account immediately like a debit card. A criminal can wipe out your entire account within minutes and you’d be left with nothing until the bank can settle the matter.
  5. Save all of your documents. Save the receipts and all of the small print for any purchase. This can be useful if you ever need to dispute a fraudulent charge made by that company, or if the product that you purchased never comes to your door. You can always reserve the right to have the item shipped to you before you submit a payment.

Preventing fraud can be done by taking a few extra precautions here and there. Cash may be old school, but it is one of the only ways that you can guarantee that hackers won’t touch your money. Whenever you can, use cash or check, and whenever you must use a card, be wise about how you go about purchasing what you need. It’s better to be safe than to be sorry.

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