As we are living in the 21st century, our life is almost surrounded with various online activities. Whether it is surfing social networking sites or checking emails or paying the bills, almost everything now can be done through online tools. Numerous organizations provide special discounts if any bills get paid through the online. Hence shopping and banking online occur constantly in the Internet marketplace. Unfortunately, online fraud and identify theft occurs just as frequently, thanks to cunning thieves and sloppy consumer Internet shopping habits.

Online transactions always carry some risk, but consumers can do many things to increase their security on the web. We can enhance our knowledge about the basic security holes and precautions. In simple terms what you should and should not do to always stay secure and cyber-healthy.

In a nutshell, there is no escape from making online payments in today's world, you must take adequate precautions to keep your money safe. Below are the steps that can ensure safe online payments.

Smart Passwords

  1. Use a hard-to-guess password that contains upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols.
  2. Do not use the same user name and password for all online accounts.
  3. Change passwords as often as possible, but at least every three months.
  4. Do not share your passwords or user identification information.
  5. Never click on any links in an email asking for identification information. Contact the institution by phone immediately to report the concern.

Safe Online Transactions

  1. Always log out of the bank, credit card, and merchant sites after you have completed your transaction.
  2. Do not allow your computer to store user names and passwords for merchant or banking websites
  3. When setting up security questions for sites online, use false information unrelated to your personal information, and keep track of your answers.
  4. Do not share your details with anyone- Your bank will never ask for your confidential information via phone or email. So, whether you get an apparent phone call from the bank or an email requesting your details, do not give out your login information. Use your login ID and password only on the official login page of the bank, which should be a secure website. Look for 'https://' in the URL when logging in; it means that the website is secure.
  5. Install latest security software-The internet is full of malware, spam, and spyware. These software programs can damage your computer. It is necessary to keep your operating system up to date with the latest security software. Install these only from a trusted source. Using an ad-blocking software and a spyware detection program are some ways to prevent online fraud. Run virus scans regularly and keep these programs updated.

Internet banking URL

It is safer to type your bank URL in the address bar of the browser than clicking on links given in an email. There are instances of fraudsters sending emails with fraudulent websites links that are designed exactly like the bank’s original website. Once you enter your login details on such a website, they may be used to access your account and steal your money. While logging on, check for 'https://' in the URL and ensure that it is your bank’s authentic website.

Secure Internet Connection

  1. Do not shop, pay bills, or access your bank or credit card websites using public Wi-Fi. Shop from home and only over a secured Internet connection.
  2. Do not use “easy pay” payment options or “one-click ordering.” It takes a few extra seconds to enter a user name and password on a merchant site but often takes months to recover from online credit card fraud.
  3. Use the most up-to-date version of your Internet browser. They will use the most recent technology to scramble and protect data sent via the Web.

Choose trusted ways

Always buy or make payment from reputed merchants or marketplaces. Transactions on trusted e-commerce platforms ensure your payments are safe and your data isn’t compromised on.

Latest updates of OS

Smartphone users should make sure their operating system is updated with the latest security patches and updates. They should also not remove the security controls from the phone often called 'jail breaking' or 'rooting'. They should always look to restrict access that apps ask for when being installed to only what the app really needs.

Keep impeccable records

  1. Keep records of every Internet purchase and transaction, and compare them with a credit card and bank statements monthly. Report any discrepancies immediately to the issuer of the card.
  2. Learn what each of your credit cards offers as fraud protection and liability protection. Learn what the amount limits are for your fraud protection coverage.

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