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Tips for Shopping Online Securely - How to Secure Your Internet Purchases

Kyle Campbell - Friday, August 10, 2012

Shopping online securely lowers the risk of identity theft and fraudulent transactions. The convenience of making purchases via the Internet is one of the main reasons for its growing popularity. You don’t have to wait for store hours or navigate through traffic to go shopping.

Are security concerns holding you back from online shopping? It may help you to know that most credit and debit card companies have built-in protection. Both Visa (Verified by Visa) and MasterCard (MasterCard Secure Code) have an advanced protection facility for online purchase, and it’s free.

This doesn’t mean that you should throw caution to the wind while e-Shopping. Here are some simple ways for shopping online securely.

  • Ensure your computer is “clean” by using an up-to-date security or anti-virus program. You can even elect to encrypt sensitive files that contain personal information or passwords to prevent unauthorized access.

  • Only shop through recognized and reliable merchants. Research the company before you make the purchase. It is also preferable to make purchases with services within the US. Check to see if they have a phone number or some other way they provide customer service so that you know you can contact them if something goes wrong.

  • Beware of fake sites by ensuring your browser has the padlock or key symbol and that the site address includes https:// every time you decide to make an online purchase. This ensures that your transaction is secure and the information you are sending along is protected.

  • Choose a strong password that uses eight or more characters if you store your information at an online shopping site. Check out some of the recommendations in our prior blog post on Online Security.

  • Check the delivery, return and refund policy for any discrepancies and also in case you’re not satisfied with the purchase.

  • Do not provide card details until you have selected items for purchase and only offer the mandatory information requested. Again, double check that you see https:// to know the page is secure.

  • Read the privacy policy to determine who will have access to your personal and financial information.

  • Always print out a copy of your order with postal address, phone number, and legal terms, including return policy. Keep it for your own records for at least the period covered by the return/warranty policy.

  • Don’t respond to any request for financial information that comes to you in an email. Banks and legitimate businesses do not ask for sensitive information via email. Most importantly, don’t click on any link embedded within a suspicious email, and always call the retailer or financial institution to verify your account status before divulging any information.

Astra Bank offers the MasterCard Secure Code service for shopping online securely and your protection.

Contact us for details about setting up an account with us.

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