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Thursday, September 23, 2021

5 Ways To Avoid Identity Theft When Shopping Online

In this digital age, retailers are doing whatever it takes to gain online clientele. This includes offering coupons, bargains, easy returns, and free shipping. Online shopping days such as Cyber Monday are aimed at increasing sales and gaining new clients. Unfortunately, retailers who engage in online activities are targeted by cybercriminals. Apart from educating themselves on PCI DSS compliance, retailers need to learn strategies to help them avoid identity theft.

PCI DSS Compliance

The first line of defence against identity theft is PCI DSS Compliance. These standards were developed in the early 2000s following the rise in identity theft. The major credit card companies involved in creating this standard include American Express, JCB International, Discover Financial Services, Visa, and MasterCard. These standards govern how electronic payments are processed and how retailers are supposed to protect credit card data. These standards aren’t one-size-fits-all. Therefore, it’s essential to know which standards apply to your business. The types of PCI standards include PCI DSS, PED (Pin Entry Device) Standards, and PA-DSS (Payment Application Data Security Standard). 

PCI DSS is a general standard that companies should meet to be PCI compliant. This standard assesses an organization’s procedures, policies, software, and controls. PED applies to organizations that deal with payment devices that accept sensitive credit card data and PINs. Lastly, PA-DSS deals with the privacy and storage of cardholder information. It also requires payment processors to adhere to PCI DSS standards.

1. Familiarize Yourself With Vendors

You should shop on sites you trust to prevent cyber-attacks. When searching for a vendor, make sure you find them through renowned search engines such as Google. Alternatively, key in the website address directly. 

Keep in mind that con artists make web destinations appear like legitimate sites. You should be wary when clicking links on your email messages. One rule of thumb is to avoid websites with long strings of letters and numbers. Additionally, when shopping on your phone, download applications from vendors to ensure you are directed to the source.

2. Make Sure The Site Is Safe

To check whether your site is secure, first look at the URL in your browser’s address bar. If the web address begins with https://, the website is secure. All sites beginning with https, especially those selling goods online, are secure.

Another thing to look out for is a lock near the website address or at the bottom of the web browser. This symbol tells shoppers that their site is secure. If the site has neither of these markers, your browser will warn you if a web address is insecure—browsers like Firefox and Chrome issue warnings of insecure sites when a person attempts to make a purchase.

3. Avoid Unsecure Networks

Make sure you don’t use a public network when shopping online. It’s advisable to stick to your home network. With your home network, it’s easy to update applications and run virus checks, but you’re never sure the network is safe with a public network. Moreover, a network that many people share is usually not secure for sharing credit card data. Alternatively, use a personal VPN for encrypting transmission data or use familiar wireless networks.

4. Use A Reliable Third Party For Your Transactions

Third-party programs like ApplePay, PayPal, and GooglePlay can ensure your online purchases are secure. These programs keep vendors from accessing your credit card details. You should use third-party payment applications such as SquareCash and Venmo to pay those you trust because they’re directly linked to your checking account.

Additionally, you should take precautions when shopping offline. For example, when shopping at a retail store or local mall, be wary of your purse and be careful entering your PIN at a cash register or ATM. Also, as a precautionary measure, don’t carry your Social Security card with you when shopping.

5. Use Credit Cards

Many people are skeptical about using credit cards. However, few people know they provide a level of fraud protection. Credit card providers will notice identity theft practices before you do. Another alternative to credit cards is to shop with a gift card. These cards don’t have fraud protection; however, they don’t carry any of your personal information. Furthermore, with these cards, you can stick to your budget. 

In Conclusion

Consumers may think they cannot be affected by identity theft because their shopping doesn’t amount to thousands of dollars. However, this is a crime that targets all consumers. One way to guard against identity theft is ensuring you deal with retailers who are PCI DSS compliant. The other ways include:

  • Dealing with trusted vendors.
  • Being wary of the sites you visit.
  • Transacting with reliable third-party programs.

Additionally, you should practice shopping with credit cards. Generally, identity thieves target any recklessness on the part of retailers and consumers. Therefore, by observing some or all of these measures, you can minimize your risk of being a cyberattack victim.

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