How to prevent credit card theft online
Online shopping has become so essential, it’s hard to imagine life without it. Today, getting what you want is as easy as clicking and waiting for your delivery — which is often a mere hours after you handed over that credit card.
But if you’re not careful, you might end up paying for more than you bargained for. You could end up a victim of credit card fraud and your personal info could end up totally exposed.
Take, for example, the recent Capital One breach, which took place in March 2019 and exposed the records of almost 106 million people. Most alarming was that hackers had gained access to personal information related to credit card applications as far back as 2005 and as recent as early 2019.
Included in the breach were names, addresses, dates of birth, credit scores, transaction data, Social Security Numbers, and linked bank account numbers.
Banks are renowned for their near-ironclad security, so if a major financial institution like Capital One was breached, what chance does the average Joe have to stay private?
Fortunately, there are a few tips that could help you stay on top of data breaches and remain private.
1. Make sure you’re not browsing a fake shopping website
It might seem like common sense, but simply double-checking to make sure the website you’re about to shop at is actually real can go a long way. Online thieves try to confuse potential victims with familiarity by spoofing popular shopping platforms. Oftentimes, they can replicate everything down to the pixel. So, pay attention to the URL in the address bar before submitting your card and make sure you didn’t accidentally type something else.
2. Make sure the email you received is the real deal
Scammers are notorious for sending out fake emails that appear to come from popular financial institutions or shopping sites. If you make online payments of any kind, always double-check to make sure the email you’ve received is the real deal.
Pay special attention to the content of the email, particularly if you’re asked to click a link to pay a bill or update your payment info. It’s not just phishing emails either. Be on the lookout for fake links in WhatsApp, text messages, or other apps, even if they appear to come from a trusted source.
3. Don’t trust ridiculously good advertisement offers
While spoofed websites are troublesome, real websites run by fraudsters are even more worrisome. It doesn’t take much for a hacker to create an attractive website with a large collection of products and toss out elaborate advertising campaigns to bring traffic. Before shopping at a place you’ve never heard of, make sure you investigate a site’s reputation first.
4. Use credit card masking when shopping online
If anxiety takes over before handing over your credit card to an online merchant, you’re not alone. With more and more sites making data breach headlines, it’s perfectly natural to worry if your credit card number is going to fall into the wrong hands. It’s so bad out there that some have become victims of credit card fraud before they’ve even used their card.
For the most part, credit card companies are pretty good about reimbursing cardholders for fraudulent charges. But the hassle the comes from having your credit card number stolen is massive. If you have recurring monthly charges to your credit card, you’ll have to spend time updating your information with every site.
That’s why it’s a good idea to use a masked credit card. A masked card, sometimes called a burner card or a virtual card, is a digital card that’s linked to your physical credit card. With a masked card, you get a virtual credit card number to use instead, so you can keep your real number private. You can use a masked card for online payments pretty much everywhere. If the site you’re shopping at is ever hacked, you won’t have to deal with credit card fraud because your real card number was never handed over.
Having more control over your online shopping provides for a better, freer online experience. If you want more protection for your digital presence, a privacy app can help. FigLeaf is the all-in-one tool that’s designed to put privacy back in your hands and let you choose to be private — your way. FigLeaf’s own masked payments solution is coming soon. Visit our site to read our Privacy Promise and learn more about all FigLeaf privacy options.