Do you ever experience knowing something is dangerous but doing it anyway out of convenience? That’s me with online shopping. I’ve heard of hackers and identity theft and everything that makes me think that I shouldn’t put my card information on the World Wide Web. But after the first time I entered that card number into the payment option and clicked “Buy,” it was over. This doesn’t mean I don’t still have a nagging feeling that I could be more vigilant with my money. I realized how easy it could be for someone to empty my account when I went to enter my debit card number and my Google account “auto-filled” it. But as hackers are getting smarter, I’m wondering if I could put a little more effort into safeguarding my hard-earned cash. You may not know that you’re more likely to experience debit card than credit card fraud. So here are a few ways to ensure we keep our accounts safe.
3 tips to safeguard your checking account
- Investigate the website. According to NerdWallet, you should check out the merchant on the Better Business Bureau website. You should be able to find customer complaints about security or fraud. And before you hit “Pay,” make sure the URL hasn’t slightly changed and led you to a deceptive twin site.
- Never enter your card information on an unsecured network. I initially learned this from a scene in Knight and Day (2010) where the good guys used a train’s WiFi to drain the bad guy’s bank account. But this doesn’t just happen in action-adventure movies. Public WiFi networks put you at risk for someone to steal your information. Wait until you get home or install a VPN (a virtual private network) on your computer.
- Check your bank statement regularly. In the old days of checks, people kept track of every transaction and balanced the checkbook immediately. Nowadays, we just swipe and move on. But that monthly bank statement email is crucial. You have to report fraudulent charges within 60 days of when the statement was sent. So time is of the essence!
Should we just use credit for online shopping?
Ultimately, many experts suggest you don’t use your debit cards online or anywhere except for a bank. If you experience credit card fraud, at least you can dispute it with your card company. With debit card fraud, people are draining your actual money. That’s way more dangerous and stressful. I don’t know about you, but I’m considering switching to credit for all of my online shopping needs. What are your tips?
Thinking of switching to credit? Check this out.