In today’s new economy, almost every business transaction is either done online or can be done online. This means more and more consumers are finding their way into internet transactions and in some cases, credit card fraud. With a sharp rise in consumer spending on the internet, it is no wonder that credit card fraud cases are also on the rise. While most credit card companies will refund fraudulent charges, it can still lead to loss of money and time. Most consumers just need a little education on a few key topics to avoid such cases.
One thing to always look for when shopping online is a secure transaction system. The internet, as most users see it, is delivered through unsecured channels. HTTP, or Hypertext Transfer Protocol, is an unsecured network protocol that most of the internet uses. When a consumer goes to pay or checkout from an online store, it is important to look and see if the channel is secure. The easiest way to tell is to look at the top of the browser window in the address bar. A secured transaction channel will have changed from http://www.somestore.com to https://www.somestore.com. Notice the protocol changed from http to https. HTTPS, or Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, is an encrypted method of delivery. This means that the credit card information of a consumer is encrypted to prevent prying eyes or hackers from stealing this sensitive information. If a website ever asks for your credit card information through HTTP, this is a red flag and the store should be avoided.
Another key thing to look for is security information. When a browser switches from HTTP to HTTPS a digital handshake takes place. The consumer’s browser looks to verify if the computer that is preparing to receive the credit card information is who it claims to be. This is done through Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL, certificates. If the certificate information cannot be verified by the client’s browser, a warning appears prompting the consumer that this website is using an unverified certificate. This can mean a number of things, but most importantly it should be avoided until corrected by the store owner.
Lastly, one of the major causes of Credit Card fraud on the internet is the consumer wrongfully giving out his or her information. In most cases this happens through email or an online chatting system. The person stealing the information almost always acts like a support employee for an online store or bank and pretends to be helping the consumer out. No reputable company will ever ask for a full credit card number through email. Any attempts at this should be seen as a valid try to steal sensitive information. Never, under any circumstances, should a consumer give this information out through a chat system or email.
While credit card fraud is on the rise on the internet, it really is not a cause for alarm. As a consumer you should take the time to verify the person or place you are doing business with online. This can save you tons of time, and in some cases money due to credit card fraud.