(BPT) – With a new decade upon us, it is natural to look to the past on lessons learned. When looking at cybercrime, criminals have advanced their techniques over the past 10 years and have become adept at stealing personal information and scamming innocent people. While we can’t control what they do, we can continue being smart and vigilant in protecting sensitive information like account numbers, expiration dates and three-digit security codes on the back of payment cards.
As shoppers increasingly buy everything from clothes to gadgets and groceries through a combination of in-store and online merchants with payment cards, there’s more urgency than ever to make sure everyone is aware of ways they can reduce the likelihood or prevent altogether, falling victim to fraud.
“Fraudsters love to prey on distracted and unsuspecting consumers,” said Michael Jabbara, senior director, Global Risk, Visa. “Making smart choices and being vigilant whether shopping online or in stores will make a world of difference.”
Below, we’ve outlined several simple steps people can take to protect themselves from fraud when making purchases — no matter where they are or what they’re buying.
Keep Your Data Safe
Shoppers can greatly reduce their chances of becoming a victim of a major data breach by making smart choices in how they are paying for purchases. Shoppers should use a payment card with a chip or contactless symbol on it to protect their payment card data from being stolen in case of a data breach, and chip-enabled checkout is proven to help reduce fraud by as much as 81%.
Check Out Securely Online
Online shopping remains an excellent option for convenient purchases, with many consumers increasingly heading to their favorite websites to get their shopping done.
To stay safe when checking out online, it is critical to always check the URL and make sure it begins with “https://”. The “s” at the end confirms a secure connection.
Also, companies are adding ways to make it faster, easier and more importantly, safer to pay with a card. For example, Visa recently introduced a click to pay button for sites such as Cinemark, Movember, Rakuten, Saks Fifth Avenue, SHOP.com, BassPro, JoAnn Fabrics, Papa John’s, Staples and Tickets.com. This button not only speeds up the check-out process, but also adds an extra layer of protection.
Fraudsters are always trying new tactics and approaches to access information, and shoppers need to stay vigilant.
To stay safe, shoppers should make sure the device they are using, whether it’s a phone, tablet or laptop, has the latest software installed and the latest version of apps loaded to reduce the likelihood of a known vulnerability being present.
Shoppers also need to regularly update passwords with strong combinations that are unique to each account. Better yet, switch to biometrics if it’s an option. Using fingerprint or facial recognition for account login and/or payments when available makes it harder for fraudsters to gain unauthorized access to devices, apps and information, but easier and safer for shoppers.
Watch Out for Phishing Scams
With online shopping continuing to be popular, phishing scams are out in full force to take advantage. Shoppers need to be careful of unsolicited and suspicious emails or phone calls. Also, they should be wary of “one day only” deals or fake delivery tracking emails that direct them to unknown URLs used to steal information like username and password.
Keep Your Data to Yourself
It’s been said many times over that the best defense is a good offense, and that certainly holds true as fraudsters become more adept and technologically savvy. Over the next 10 years, cybercriminals will likely become more motivated to steal your payment information. It’s crucial for people to know and stay up to date on the best ways to protect themselves, so your data remains yours — and yours only.