5 ways to protect your credit cards when shopping online

Whether you use them to shop online or in stores, credit cards have become a routine part of life for many people. Unfortunately, using credit cards online can leave you vulnerable to data theft by cybercriminals. It is important to try to keep cybercriminals away from your personal financial data to avoid having funds stolen.

Here are 5 ways to keep your cards safe and avoid fraud:

1. Keep a record of all your credit cards

Keep a log of your credit cards and keep them in a safe place. It is important to keep an account of all your credit card numbers, login details, expiration dates, and phone numbers where you can report fraud. There’s some software called 1Password which can safely store all of this information for you – better still it’s encrypted!

2. Don’t lose track of your spendings

Make sure you review your credit card account weekly, in order to detect potential fraudulent transactions. Most credit card companies have free phone numbers where you can report fraud or credit card loss 24/7 and have your credit card blocked. In order not to lose track of your spendings, it’s a good idea to use only one credit card when shopping online. Never use a debit card to pay online, since debit cards are not protected against fraudulent transactions.

3. Make sure you only shop on safe websites

Larger companies use a lot of safety measures to protect your data when you shop online, but smaller websites can be riskier to use. Always make sure that the website you pay on uses a secure connection over which your data is transmitted. This means that your credit card data will be encrypted at all times and you won’t run the risk of having it stolen.

4. Don’t use free WiFi to pay online

Never use a free WiFi connection to shop online, such as those available in airports, coffee shops and hotels. You are running the risk of cybercriminals seeing your personal credit card information. If you have to connect to a public WiFi, make sure you use a VPN (virtual private network), which will ensure your data gets encrypted.

5. Watch out for phishing

Be suspicious of emails that ask you for your credit card details, such as emails from supposed shipping companies which claim that they have not received your payment and you need to insert your details again online. Never click on such links, since cybercriminals are able to create websites that look identical to the original ones. No legitimate company will ask for your credit card details in an email.

Using credit cards to shop online is both easy and convenient, however, there is always a risk of cybercriminals stealing your credit card data and using it for fraudulent transactions. In order to protect yourself make sure you always use a safe internet connection when paying, never answer suspicious emails, and check your credit cards weekly for fraudulent transactions which should be reported immediately.

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