Shop Safely Online

by GOsafeonline | 23 January 2017

Shopping online not only allows you to purchase products without geographical constraints, it is also an easier method to find the best bargain available by browsing from website to website. Products available online include fashion items (like clothing and accessories), IT and mobile gadgets, travel (like air tickets, hotels and tours), groceries, food delivery and entertainment (like books, movies and games). 

There are many threats lurking around the Internet as you shop online. As you provide your credit card information to complete purchases, this information can easily be retrieved by cyber criminals if it is not sent securely to the online merchant you are purchasing your products from. 

In recent trends, cyber criminals have also been targeting online merchants that do not secure their information systems adequately to retrieve login credentials and credit card information from their customer databases. 

Cyber criminals have also been seen setting traps, by creating fake websites that are presented professionally, selling products with significantly lowered prices to encourage you to submit your credit card information to them. Buyers from these websites will potentially receive counterfeit of the items they bought, or even not receive anything at all!

How to Protect your Credit Card Information


Do not perform online transaction on shared devices, and over unsecured Wi-Fi

Shared or public computing devices can be potentially infected with malware, allowing others to retrieve your credit card information. You should also avoid using unsecured Wi-Fi networks as cyber criminals can capture information passing through them, including your bank credentials.


Do not send credit card information to merchants over email

Reputable and trusted merchants should have a secure online transaction system in place. Email channels are not fully protected from being read by outside parties, so do not your send credit card information via email.


Do not store credit card information on your computing devices

After each online transaction, your credit card information is stored in the browser cache.

If your device is infected with malware, it could allow cyber criminals to retrieve your credit card information easily. Moreover, if your computing devices are stolen, your credit card information will be fully exposed. 

To keep your credit card information safe, you should always clear your browser cache after performing online transactions.


Ensure the website uses HTTPS instead of HTTP

All data sent to websites using HTTPS are encrypted and not readable by any unauthorised personnel. Check the address bar of the browser to determine if the website’s address begins with “https”. Another verification is the padlock symbol on the address bar. Websites using HTTPS also allows you to verify if they are a trusted entity, using digital certificates issued by a globally trusted certificate authority. You should verify if websites are issued with a trusted and valid digital certificate by clicking on the padlock symbol the address bar.


Use Trusted Payment Services, when available

The online merchant you are purchasing your product from may not have security measures in place to store your credit card information securely. Choose to use a trusted payment service, such as PayPal or any other known trusted organisations.


Read the merchant’s privacy policy

Do not just give your personal and credit card information without knowing what the merchant plans to do with it and how long they will keep it. Ensure that they incorporate the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) in their policy.

How to Identify Rogue Websites


Use Website Advisory Software

Website advisory / rating software can be used to provide real-time information on the level of trust of the website you are visiting. Do not purchase any products from a website that does not have a good standing.   


Get in contact with the seller

In most cases, the contacts listed on a rogue website are unreal. Especially if a point of contact is not available, it is very suspicious.


Do a search about the seller online

Someone might have fallen victim to the rogue website and posted about their experience online! Perform a search on the Internet, using the name and URL of the website, and check if there is any negative news or complaints about the website.


Stick to your intuition if you think something is not right

If you suspect that a website is not legitimate, do not trust it. It is always better to stay on the safe side.

What to Do If You Fall Victim to Online Fraud

If you believe that you have fallen victim to an online fraud, you should contact the police to report the incident and seek further advice on what to do. You should also call your credit card provider immediately, to terminate the credit card you have provided in the event of fraud.

Interesting Reads