E-Commerce business is growing at the fastest possible scale. In 2013 global B2C sales amounted to $1,2 trillion, and with 17% of average annual increase in e-commerce payments, global sales will reach $2 trillion in no time.
At the same time cyber crime rates are also drastically increasing in last couple of years and online buyers need to protect their credit card and personal information from hackers. In this article we will explain you how to increase security of your data, while making online purchases, in order to avoid becoming a victim to identity thefts or other types of credit card frauds.
Secure Online connection, does this exist?
Of course it does. Secure connection represents encrypted exchange of data between your browser and accessed website. Data you are sending is encrypted in your computer and decrypted when it reaches its destination, and other way around. Encrypted connection secures sensitive data from being intercepted and decrypted by hackers.
What types of security protocols do websites use for establishing secure connections?
Most e-commerce websites use SSL protocols. Secure Socket Layers establish a secure connection between browsers and websites, and they can only be used on servers that have SSL certificates. These layers use complex operations for data encryption and decryption that’s not visible to customers, which means they can make simple purchases, leaving their credit card data in the usual way.
People who use e-commerce websites for shopping should know how to recognize check-out pages with Secure Socket Layer protection. They can check the left corner of their browser’s address bar that should show a small padlock icon or a domain address that starts with ‘HTTPS instead of ‘HTTP.
What about phishing? How can I recognize fraudulent websites?
Since phishing is one of the most popular ways for hackers to obtain victims’ personal or credit card information, online shoppers should thoroughly check the websites on which they leave their data. Cybercriminals often send ‘bait’ emails and private messages on social networks, with links that lead victims to websites, which look like regular e-commerce stores and contain data forms. This way, victims voluntarily provide their sensitive data to cybercriminals who later use it for their fraudulent activities.
That’s why online buyers shouldn’t leave their data on pages, whose links they received through suspicious emails, and if they do they need to check websites thoroughly and determine, whether they were made for phishing purposes.
Is my data safe on servers of regular e-commerce websites?
Regular e-commerce websites that don’t record their customer’s data are the safest places to shop online. In spite of this, many online stores (some of which are part of big international retail chains) collect their customer’s data and store it on their or third-party servers.
This practice can be dangerous, for both customers and e-commerce stores. In case of a data breach, customers can become victims of fraud, and companies can earn a bad reputation, that will drastically affect their future revenue. Since many e-commerce stores still collect customers’ sensitive data, customers should avoid shopping at these retailers or use some other way of paying for the items they want to buy.
Customers can find out whether e-commerce websites are storing their data from their Terms of Service or security and privacy statements, which need to be displayed on the website.
Is there any safest way for paying goods online?
Of course, there is! There are plenty of online payment systems that can be used for shopping. Shoppers also need to choose payment service providers carefully and stick to services that are fully authorized and protected. With most of these payment systems, buyers only leave their email addresses on the checkout page, which is far safer than leaving personal and credit card data.
What other security measures should I take?
Keep your system updated: For keeping their sensitive data safe, buyers should only stick to the latest versions of internet browsers and patch up and update their OS on a regular basis;
Look for digital certificates: Many retailers use the services of third-party online security companies for authentication and verification of their online platforms. Websites that come with clickable digital certificates and stamps from respected internet security companies are safe in most cases;
Use only one credit card for online shopping: Using several credit cards online creates confusion and increases the chances of becoming a victim of credit card fraud;
Online shopping will continue to grow at a very fast pace, and hopefully, credit card payments will soon become history, due to the much easier and safer payment procedures online payment systems use. Until then, customers need to be careful when paying their goods with credit card transfers or start using online payment systems as alternatives.