Take a few very simple steps and you will never become a victim to theft. If you’re aware of the tricks that fraudsters use – and most depend on the user giving away details unwittingly and voluntarily – it’s possible to reduce the risk down to virtually nothing.
The problem – of course – is that using your credit card for online transactions has become virtually second nature. We’re so used to imputing our details into a web form that we don’t think twice about it, and it’s that part of human nature that the scammers aim to exploit. According to police figures, at least two thirds of credit card fraud is what they term “card not present” – when the thieves have used dishonestly obtained card details.
Fraudsters use a number of methods to get card numbers. We’ve spoken before how cards can be physically skimmed at points of sale by dishonest staff members, and these details are then sold on to criminal gangs. They’ll either clone your card and use it repeatedly at ATMs anywhere in the world, or use it to dishonestly buy goods, which are then sold on through the “grey market”.
When you’re shopping online, it pays to check out the site you are using. If you’re buying through one of the world’s big names, such as Amazon or other major stores, you can reasonably assume that your transaction is safe. However, it’s often the case that when shoppers are on the lookout for bargains, they’ll look at the big-name stores first before plumping for the same item on a store front that looks real but has an unfamiliar name.
Sure, it might be genuine, but check them out. Is the checkout secure? Do other people you know shop with them? A site that looks like it might save you a few dollars might instead cause no end of financial agony. The spoofed website is a one-way street to theft.
Simple things to look out for might be a give-away: You should never be asked for your online banking password, secret number or other bank account details. No sales site will ever ask for your PIN.
However, it’s down to you to ensure that your card details are kept secret. Card criminals aren’t usually enthusiastic amateurs, and make up one of the world’s growing industries. Keep your guard up.
Article by Jason Taylor – [email protected]