The Safety of Buying Online
Posted: May 06, 2014
With its speed and convenience, making payments online through payment gateways has become an increasingly popular method of taking care of our day to day purchases and payments. There are those who are hesitant to take this step, having been scared off by worries about identity theft and the general unreliability of certain aspects of the internet. The horror stories are certainly frightening, but often they represent things wholly unrelated to using payment gateways, and more often focus on a sort of carelessness engaged in by those who either are unaware of safe internet practices, or choose not to follow them.
Making purchases on the internet is entirely safe, provided that we follow some safety measures that are really related to the same sort of care we’d take in shopping in the ‘real world’. The first step in being safe online is only shopping at those places you are familiar, or that seem reputable. If you’re familiar with a site or it’s a site with a reputable name like Amazon, Safeway, Home Depot. You’ll want to pay attention to misspellings in the name of the company or anything that looks off (companies use the.com domain (Homedepot.com) not.net or any others.
There are two other ways to make sure that your payment gateway is secure, first, rather than having http:// at the beginning of the website address, it would have https://, indicating it is SSL protected. In addition, there will be a lock visible at the bottom of your webpage on those websites that are secure. Also, just in case it should ever come up, don’t release your credit card information to someone over an email, ever.
Another important detail in keeping your online shopping behavior safe, make sure that your password information for a given site is strong. Using the same password across multiple sites may be inconvenient, but it is certainly the safest method to ensuring your security. Failing this be sure to use one password that is particularly strong, and remember to change all your passwords at the same time, should it ever become necessary. Most businesses will give you the opportunity to set up an account on their website, before you can interact with their payment gateway, make sure to make use of these options.
Just like any other purchase you would make, take care to keep an eye open for those offers that sound far too good to be true. Chances are, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Free gift offers are particularly common, where the value of the gift is out of line with the value of the purchase you’re intending to make. A little bit of skepticism will go a long way in keeping you safe.
Don’t use public computers to make your purchases online. While this may seem obvious to a lot of people, using a public computer to make a purchase with your credit card or banking information is incredibly unwise. There is no way to make sure that the computer itself is secure, let alone the specific webpage you’re working with. Payment gateways are incredibly useful tools, but just like any transaction, it pays to be careful when choosing to spend your money.
With a little bit of caution and observation, you can prevent yourself from being taken in by the scams that may be out there. There is no more danger to being pulled into these online than there is in any real world transaction, and in many cases safer. So take the leap to making online purchases today, and take advantage of the ease and convenience of online shopping!