Almost everyone shops online now despite the uneasy feeling that are data is unsafe.
According to a recent PaySimple.com survey, 49% of American shoppers say they are extremely concerned with their data being stolen when shopping in stores and 58% when making a payment online. Business owners are contractually obligated to safeguard customers’ credit card information and following PCI compliance regulations but these efforts won't stop a hacker from trying to gain access.
So, what do you do? Store your credit card online or enter it each time you buy something? Let's take a look at the options:
First, consider the mental attitude of storing your data online. We are inundated with requests for usernames, passwords, pin codes, cell numbers, birth dates and even multiple schedules and dates for family members. Finding a way to easily retrieve this information is one step closer to making life a little easier to manage. So the option of letting someone else be responsible for remembering info for us is a beautiful thing - except when a hacker discovers that little backdoor that someone forgot to lock down tight.
If you are in the habit of letting sights hold your data, what should you do to protect your valuables?
1. Never allow a company to hold on to your CVV (three-digit code). It is designed to provide a way for merchants to know whether a customer authorizing a transaction over the phone or via the Internet actually has the card in their possession.
2. Shop with reputable stores. We all assume the big box stores are strong enough to be secure, and for the most part they are, but hackers also know that the bigger the store the bigger the data list. In September 2006, the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard was put in place, which means any business, large or small, has to take certain precautions when accepting credit cards and storing credit card information. This regulation is costly for new and small business owners, but doesn't mean they haven't take the proper steps you just need to do your homework.
3. Shop on secure sites. This is by far your easiest precaution. Stick with sites that begin their url with https:// - the S means secure and that the page you are on is encrypting the data submitted on it. You can also click on the green “lock” or other icon that appears in your browser to further confirm that you are connected to a secure website with a trusted connection.
4. Know if you are financially protected. Most large credit card companies will have your back if your information is stolen offering both early fraud warnings and low-to-zero liability protection. Some card companies call when there is suspicious activity, some will stop your card before calling and most have either a very low liability fee or even $zero depending on the issuer.
One final tip, my personal favorite, is do not shop online with the debit card that is linked directly to your checking account. Shopping this way is an open invitation for someone to take all your money and the fight to get it back is long. Most people can't manage without their savings very long so why tempt fate? Keep one card for online shopping and this makes it easy to watch all activity in one place and know that the rest of your hard earned Benjamins are secure under your mattress or in your bank of choice.