The following article is taken from Get Safe Online Barbados. The original post can be viewed at https://www.getsafeonline.bb/social-networking/online-payments/# .
Using the internet to make payments to utility, phone, credit card, insurance and other companies saves considerable time and effort. It is also a simple and convenient way to contribute to charity either directly or sponsoring participants in money-raising activities. There are, however, risks associated with online payments and you need to take care when making them.
- Fraud resulting from making payments over unsecured web pages.
- emails directing you to fake websites set up to collect your payment card details.
Online payments are normally part of your arrangement with a service provider as an alternative to payment by Direct Debit or cheque. In most cases, therefore, the payee will be familiar to you, but you must take care to ensure that you are on the provider’s genuine site.
- Remember that paying by credit card offers greater protection against fraud than with other methods.
- Double-check all details of your payment before confirming. Before entering payment card details on a website, ensure that the link is secure, in two ways:
- There should be a padlock symbol in the browser window frame, which appears when you attempt to log in or register. Be sure that the padlock is not on the page itself … this will probably indicate a fraudulent site.
- The web address should begin with ‘https://’. The ‘s’ stands for ‘secure’.
- The above indicate only that the link between you and the website owner is secure, and not that the site itself is authentic. You need to do this by carefully checking the address for subtle misspellings, additional words and characters and other irregularities.
- When making a payment to an individual use a secure payment site such as PayPal – never transfer the money directly into their bank account.
- Always log out of sites into which you have logged in or registered details. Simply closing your browser is not enough to ensure privacy.
- Keep receipts – electronic or otherwise.
- Check credit card and bank statements carefully after payment to ensure that the correct amount has been debited, and also that no fraud has taken place as a result of the transaction.
- Ensure you have effective and updated antivirus/antispyware software and firewall running before you go online.