Today, online shopping is gradually becoming the norm. The majority of the world’s population is using the internet to make purchases. This is the result not only of the broadened options that online stores have to offer; but also of the maximum convenience that virtual shopping can deliver.
However, there are certain risks that come with sending payments online, and among these threats are scammers and hackers who can phish or steal sensitive information of customers. If an online transaction is not carried out carefully, customer accounts can be used fraudulently.
There are effective countermeasures that can be practiced to ensure safe online purchasing and reduce the potential risks of being robbed by fraudsters.
Here are some countermeasures to help keep accounts and personal information safe from security breach attempts and scams:
1. Be Mindful of the Different Types of Scams
At first glance, it is impossible to identify scams from legitimate online transactions. Scammers are becoming smarter and their methods come in different forms such as fake promotions, free trials, phishing, credit card scams, charity scams and even malware disguised as cryptocurrency.
How can a scam be identified?
Scams can usually be spotted when they are least expected. Scams can look and sound like the real thing. But, what makes it stand out as a scam is that it is often too good to be true.
Cautiousness is the best way to avoid scams. Avoid clicking on links sent via email or even via private messages. Take note of email promotions and newsletters recently subscribed to and always track purchasing activity (what items were purchased in the last few months, what payment methods or credit cards were used during the transactions, what subscriptions were signed up to using which email, etc.) By keeping a close eye on one’s purchasing and subscribing activities online, it will be faster to determine suspicious emails and promos from genuine ones.
Scammers could be phishing links. Phishing links are fraudulent, online attempts to steal every personal detail found in the victim’s account. Upon clicking on the link, unsuspecting customers or users will be automatically sent to a website identical to the original site. The website tends to require personal account and it leads the victim to download malicious software the moment they click the link.
Consider installing an updated security software for computers and mobile devices. Using multi-factor authentication is also a great way to counteract attempts of scammers and hackers. It works by providing other methods aside from the usual password and PIN-creation to secure the user’s account. These methods can include more personalized identity authentication such as fingerprint scanning and retinal scanner.
Customers should also trust their gut. If they feel that something is not right or something smells fishy, they can either choose to ignore the message or report it to the proper authorities.
2. Data Encryption
Every customer’s account details are, to a certain extent, vulnerable to all fraudsters. Aside from determining the different scams executed by swindlers, using a data-encryption software is another way to make safe online payment possible. A data encryption software executes a method wherein the financial information provided by the user or customer is rearranged or scrambled into a hard-to-read format. This secures that the transaction is unviewable to unauthorized personnel.
A lock icon signifies that the website is safe and that any transaction that will take place in that website is secure. Checking on the lock icon on every website is a simple and basic step that every internet user needs to do before sending any personal details through the web.
3. Mobile Bank Alerts
Mobile bank alerts have helped customers take better control of their security with just a touch of their fingertips. Mobile bank alerts, made possible by tailor-made applications for different banks, enable customers to get updates on their payment’s dues, credit limits, and other relevant concerns involving their bank account. Updates are usually sent either via the app/software designed for the bank or it can also be sent through SMS.
This is one of the best ways to ensure customers that no one else can have access to their account but themselves. It also helps them identify if there had been suspicious activities involving their bank account and if this could be linked to a potential form of scam.
Now that technology is constantly changing, hackers are consequently devising more modern ways to decode passwords and PIN codes. As such, it is not entirely impossible for them to easily breach account security.
It is important to set up a strong password to ensure that no one else can get easy access to the account. Make it complex but still easy to remember. It can be a combination of letters and other suitable keyboard elements. Avoid using personal information (e.g. birth dates, address, anniversaries, etc.) as password. Make it a habit to modify passwords as often as possible.
Make it complex but still easy to remember. It can be a combination of letters and other suitable keyboard elements. Avoid using personal information (e.g. birth dates, address, anniversaries, etc.) as password. Make it a habit to modify passwords as often as possible.
Multi-factor authentication is applicable to making passwords harder for hackers to guess. As mentioned earlier, it is one of the best ways to stay secure. Some mobile phones are optimized for this kind of feature. By carefully setting up the user’s fingerprint or retinal ID, it will add another layer of security against fraud.
5. Security Software
Protecting one’s computers and mobile phones with security software is a must. This means updating existing anti-spyware and antimalware software to obtain the maximum security. Obtaining a reliable security software is not difficult, although different software may offer varying prices.
The price range depends on how good the software’s performance is. Different features and functionalities may also be offered, but at the end of the day, the main goal is to give 100% security. Having reliable security software is one of the most basic things that every modern-day customer or internet user should do to effectively safeguard their account.
Online payment offers a fast, reliable and convenient way to acquire desired goods and services. But because the environment where it operates is a vulnerable target of frauds, it is essential to always be vigilant.
There is no way for customers or users to control the criminal means of cyberthieves. But there are still tons of countermeasures to prevent their dirty tricks. Online security starts with each and every customer, and the first line of defense lies in their hands.