Monthly bills, loan repayments and shopping purchases – We used to run around to numerous places to do just that. With so many other things to manage in our life, it is a challenge to find time for these errands. Now, with the Internet, it is so much easier. We can pay bills without leaving our house, saving time and travel expenses at the same time. We can even shop online for our favourite things like the evening dress for a party or the tuxedo for a fine dinner. The best part is all our shopping can be delivered right to our doorstep!
In enjoying the convenience of online shopping and payment, you will be required to provide personal information such as identification and financial details to complete a transaction. These data are private and vital, if stolen, could be used for the wrong reasons such as fraud and theft. How can you be sure that the information you share are protected and reaching the right party? Here are top five tips to protect your online transaction so that you can shop online at ease.
1.) Know The Website
Before you share any personal information, ensure that you know and trust the website which will be receiving your data. For example, you would like to make a transaction from your bank account. Ensure that you log in to the official bank website with the right domain address provided by your bank. If you are unsure, call the bank to double check the details. Upon confirmation, you may proceed with your online transaction.
2.) Check SSL Encryption
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption works to protect your online transaction and helps improve the trust level of the website. Websites that are SSL certificed are secured for transfering of any information as the data will be encrypted throughout the whole transfering process, from the sender to the recepient. Only the right recepient will be able to interpret the data sent. If you are logging into a website for online transaction or even simple membership, the website should be SSL certificed to protect your information from falling into the wrong hands.
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How do I know if the website is SSL encrypted?
(i) Firefox browser will indicate SSL with a blue color on the website address.
(ii) Internet Explorer browser will indicate SSL with a ‘lock’ icon.
3.) Be Password Smart
When you sign up for a program or anything at all online, you are always required to include a password for authentication purposes. Many people think that as long as they do not tell anyone about their password, others will have no access to their personal information. But what happens when you use passwords that can be easily guessed like your birth date or name? Be password smart. Use alphanumeric password as it decreases the risk of someone guessing it right. Your password should always be a secret code that only you can unlock.
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Alphanumeric refers to a combination of number and alphabets in a word.
4.) Leave No Trace
Always log out from the website after completing any transactions, whether you are at a public place or at home. This is very important, especially if you share a computer with others. Unethical people may use your account to conduct transactions without your knowledge. So log out each time.
5.) Keep Watch
If you find that your account on any website is compromised, call or inform the bank or website owner/administrator to suspend or terminate the account immediately. It is advisable to monitor your bank accounts or credit card activity on a weekly basis. This helps you to spot any unusual transactions quickly and you can take immediate action.
Although convenient, online transaction presents hidden risks that we often overlook. Thus, it is important to ensure that we take precaution steps so that we can both accomplish what is required online while protecting ourselves from potential threats.