With the holiday shopping season well underway, we are reminded that the Internet is indeed a strange and magical place. Thanks to this virtual wonderland, the items on your wish list are but a few clicks away.
Unfortunately, the Internet also has its fair share of Grinches who would like nothing more than to hack your hard-earned funds and use them for their own selfish schemes. Follow these four tips to make your online holiday shopping a little more secure.
Use PayPal whenever you can.
As one of the Internet’s oldest and most trusted names in secure payments, PayPal's whole business model is built on making online transactions secure. They allow for the addition of multiple payment methods, so choosing a different source of funds each time you checkout somewhere isn’t going to be a problem.
Use credit cards, not debit cards.
Most major credit card providers offer some level of fraud protection, so in the event that your account is compromised they may be able to offer some degree of limited liability. You’ll want to check with your credit card provider for their actual policy. If you pay with your debit card, that money is coming straight from your bank account. Consequently, having it compromised can be a lot more troublesome.
Invest in a prepaid credit/gift card.
If you don’t have a credit card, consider purchasing multiple prepaid gift cards that carry a VISA, AMEX, or MC logo and using those for your online purchases. If one of them is compromised, you’ve limited the amount of money you can lose.
Don’t allow websites you don’t know/trust to store your credit card info.
Many times when we hear about payment data being hacked, the data in question contains the names and payment information that people have allowed websites to “remember” for use in future purchases. Although this feature can be convenient, it does create more opportunities for your information to be compromised.