Today, Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Top Things You Can do to Avoid Online Fraud

While we never like to believe that fraud could happen to us, the truth of the matter is that the rate of identity theft and fraud online is on the rise. As the popularity of the Internet continues to rise, the importance of personal information protection becomes more crucial for the consumer. Technology has advanced our ability to shop globally, while at the same time offering more exposure to a consumer’s personal information to online predators. With education and awareness, online fraud can be prevented.

Use Common Sense
The most important and possibly less obvious tip to avoid online fraud is to use common sense. If a website does not appear reputable or secure, it probably is not. Review the site’s payment options, payment information collection system and use your best judgement. If there is an option for a secure payment through an online payment system or virtual credit card, consider these as they offer additional personal protection from online fraud.

Shop On Secure Sites
Shopping online does not by default mean that consumers are at higher risk for identity theft. Look for the locked icon at the bottom of the website’s browser that you are shopping on, as this is a sign that the site is secure. Secure sites make it more challenging for online predators to steal personal and financial information from shoppers.

Use Paypal
While Paypal is not the only online electronic payment system, it is one of the most widely used and most widely accepted payment options for businesses online. Paypal offers protection for the consumer against online businesses that are collecting personal information as well as payment information. Instead, the payment for products or services will be made via Paypal, with the online merchant never having access to the particular financial information used to pay for the transaction.

Use Log In’s
Many merchant sites require log in information to be able to establish an account and to use credit card information repetitively. These sites often offer an added layer of protection for consumers who shop regularly, as an online predator would have to not only have your personal payment information, but also your merchant log in information.

Use Credit Instead of Cash
Credit cards often offer added protection for consumers against identity theft. If you use a debit card for a transaction, the funds are immediately withdrawn from your personal account, forcing you to dispute the charges and wait for a response from your financial institution. If you select to use a credit card instead for the transaction, in many cases the credit card company will hold or remove the charge until they resolve the dispute, sparing you from having to fund the theft while they perform their research.

While no method is foolproof, by taking these precautions when shopping online, you will be decreasing the opportunity for online predators to obtain your personal and financial information. Always use your best judgement and be aware of any websites of busi

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