Why do hackers create cybersecurity threats, viruses and phishing emails? Recent research suggests that 60% of hacks are committed to gain access to payment information so, credit and debit card details. When you consider how we use payment cards online, it stands to reason that online retail outlets are the most compromised industry, followed closely by hospitality.
With this in mind, it is becoming increasingly important to protect financial information, such as card information and online banking logins. One of the most frequent methods used by cybercriminals to access banking information is to ask for a password for a completely different account. The thinking behind this is that people don’t like to remember multiple passwords. So we’re likely to use the same password for our Facebook page as our online banking. In fact, a quick search through a social media account, combined with a phishing email, can provide access to many of our online banking accounts (think about how many times you mention your pets, kids and partners, wedding anniversaries etc. on social media)!
In a similar vein, accessing online shopping accounts will give away all the card information that you have saved on them. An innocuous-looking email from Amazon or PayPal, for example, can give full access to all of your financial information. There are ways that you can still protect yourself and your finances online, however.
Use credit cards more than debit cards?
Choosing whether to use a debit card or credit card online make very little difference to your liability over fraudulent purchases.
While credit cards give you increased protection if the item you purchased is faulty or the company you bought from folds, if you lose money through fraudulent activity you will be treated in the same way as if you had used a debit card.
This comes down to whether you are liable for the fraudulent activity. Banks and credit card companies create a raft of terms and conditions that discuss how to identify if a victim of fraud is liable for the cost themselves.
The main clause which regularly flags up is whether they handed over the details of their card to the fraudsters or didn’t look after their PIN number adequately. In a world of phishing emails, this means that in some cases, as few as 10% of online fraud victims get their money back.
One bonus of using a credit card for all online purchases is that you aren’t providing access to your bank account and are using a card with a limit so that any losses can be managed.
We recommend regularly checking your bank and credit card statements to check for fraudulent activity on your accounts.
Vet online sites before a purchase.
It stands to reason that you wouldn’t use your card in a face to face transaction that you didn’t trust, so you shouldn’t do it online either. We recommend shopping on sites that you trust and know well. Also, avoid clicking through from emails, instead finding sites through a search engine.
Also, always look for sites that are secured and encrypted. The easiest way to check is to look for HTTPS or the lock icon in their web address. Please take a look at ours as an example of what to look for.
Consider a self-destructing credit card.
You could consider using a self-destructing or virtual credit card from a company such as https://privacy.com/.
This service generates virtual credit card numbers which you can use for online shopping, meaning that theoretically, you would never have to hand over your card information.
Linked to your bank account, these services can create repeat use numbers, for online subscription services, and one-off numbers for everyday purchases. In some cases, you can even create a fake billing address to add an extra level of security.
For anyone who is profoundly concerned about online fraud or who may have been a victim, it looks like a self-destructing card could be the perfect answer.