Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Keep Your Finances Safe Online
Shopping online has become second nature to many of us. It’s so easy to purchase things at the click of a mouse these days – music, clothes, holidays…the possibilities are endless online. Some websites will require you to input your card details every time, whereas others will save your payment information for future use. Amazon in particular has a ‘one-click’ payment system, where you can save your details and buy things quickly and efficiently. As useful as this may be, it can be much harder to keep track of your spending this way. Ease of payment aside, it’s the security of your payment details that you should be considering when purchasing things online.
Of course, it goes without saying to use secure passwords. Something that you may think is the most un-guessable word in the world could be obvious to those who know you well enough, so always try to add in numbers, capital letters and symbols to make it harder to guess. Never choose things which are easy to find out, like your mother’s maiden name, the name of your pet or your favourite band. These details can be found out by people who don’t even know you with very little investigation indeed.
The more up to date the programs your computer uses are, the safer you’ll be online. This is because new technologies are harder for hackers to get around. The older the anti-virus software you have, and the older your browser version, the more likely it is that hackers have found their way around the security features. New technology is there to protect us and to ensure that we’re working safely and as efficiently as possible.
To ensure you’re even more secure, you should always buy things online when you’ve got a secure internet connection. This means that, if you’re using Wi-Fi in a coffee shop or are on a connection where other people can connect, you may not be as safe as when you’re connected to a locked and password protected internet source. If you’re entering details into a shared computer, then always check that your entries are not saved, as the next person could, in theory, use your details to buy things from your account.
Never shop online on sites which you don’t feel comfortable. If there is no padlock symbol on your browser telling you that it’s secure, and if the web address doesn’t start with https:// on the payment page at least, then your details may not be used securely. Always double check that you’re on the website you want to be on too. Many scams involve creating sites which look exactly the same as mainstream, well-known shopping sites, and taking your money once you’ve entered your card details.
If you shop online regularly, then it may be worth using a credit card, and paying off the balance from your current account. This would ensure that, should your details be stolen, you’d be protected under Section 75 and none of your linked accounts could be compromised.