Given the number of transactions per day online this is a very good question recently asked by one of my readers. It is also quite timely as my debit card was cloned a couple of
weeks ago from an online purchase so let me try and help you understand how it works.
Firstly, when you are buying something online, make sure the comp0any you are buying from is legitimate and trustworthy. Many companies now accept payment via PayPal and this is fairly secure however, in recent months we have seen the rise of the false payment
window where a scammer has created a false webpage identical to the PayPal one and asked you for the information. This it appears is what happened to me.
So what can you do about it? Really it is quite simple, when you are entering a payment page online, the address line will change slightly and instead of having “http://” you will see that it changes to “https://” indicating that this is a secure area. There will also be a wee gold padlock symbol in the address bar showing you who the company is. If this does not appear then it is not really safe to input your details. You can also set up a “Verify By Visa/Mastercard” setting so that when you go to pay anything, the website will divert you to enter your verification password, this prevents any fraudulent activity on your account and many sites are now using this as part of the payment process.
You should also check the Privacy Statement for the website you are using, this will explain how they are using your data, where and how it will be stored and how to contact them about your information.
The sort of things to be aware of are the sites where you are asked to input personal information or bank details where there is no “https://” in the address line. It does not mean they are not secure but it does mean they are not using a secure payment site and this was my downfall. I needed to get an update for my SatNav and used a site which did not have the https but felt that having read the information relating to the payment it would be safe. Three days later, the night before I was going on holiday, my account was relieved of over £1400….. The bank felt this was unusual and blocked my account until I had contacted them to clarify what had happened. They sent me an email asking me to call them, if you ever get one asking you to fill things in online just delete it, it is a scam! Once
I had called them we started to unravel the fraud and I eventually got my account back a week later.