Time and time again I have had the conversation. It usually starts with “I don’t shop online because it is unsafe”. The Truth is Internet shopping and the practice of purchasing stuff online via credit card is safer than purchasing from a store in my opinion.

The thing is credit card companies are greedy, store purchases cost a lot in equipment and upkeep, web purchases have a much more inexpensive upkeep, which translates into more profits for credit card companies. Most credit card companies have a taken a position to make refunding bad/questionable purchases online quickly in an effort not to “rock the internet boat”.

I also chuckle when you think about who people with the no internet mindset will trust with your credit card. They will think nothing of making a purchase in a small out of the way store from people they don’t know, yet a company like Amazon is unsafe? Small credit card scanners are inexpensive and if an identity theft/CC stealing organization wants your credit card – they’ll target these small out of the way stores with disgruntled minimum wage employees. They aren’t going to try to hack your number out of some big corporations system – that’s a lot more difficult and time consuming when a single cashier at a store can likely scan a few hundred cards in a pretty short time with nearly no way to track the perpetrator after they have the numbers.

Now, there are risks to online shopping – mostly surrounding not being able to see the goods first so people end up getting shipped low quality goods, or even no goods at all (in which case most credit cards cover the loss easily). This simple problem can be overcome by a few simple safety tips for online shopping.

Tips for safe online shopping

Shop with large online retailers and make sure you are buying from them.
Amazon.com, most big box stores, and alot of chain stores have very nice online presences. Big box stores tend to offer better pricing and even home delivery for online purchases. Amazon doesn’t sell just books – they sell EVERYTHING. A few key things are to make sure the website URL is spelled right (some people make money off misdirected misspelled websites). If unsure just type the name into Google, the proper website name should be top of the list and there shouldn’t be a “did you mean….” dialogue. On-line retailers are also almost exclusively .com addresses, be aware of .net or any other extension.

Look for the lock and the https
Most domain names are http://www.something.com. A secure website has a https://www.something.com web address, notice te difference? This as well as a small locked padlock item on the browser task bar will indicate you are on a secure website at least so any information won’t be intercepted.

Never, Never, Never, if they ask for this – run away as they are 100% trying to scam you.

Don’t fill out huge questionnaires
Filling out information on a credit card purchase online should consist of card number, good until date, name, address (for shipping), phone number and email. If it starts asking things like your dogs name, social insurance number, your birthday, etc…

Make sure your computer has an active virus scanner
Some virus’s (rare) will actually recognize and store credit card info as you enter it online. Simple as a virus scanner/malware scanner. If your internet safe this risk however is very low.

Check your statements
As in any credit card purchase – keep an eye on your purchases. Financially important as well as for security reasons.


Article supplied by GH Computer Services – Nipigon