In the rapidly expanding e-commerce ecosystem, consumer shopping and online banking are always under threat because of online frauds and negligent consumer shopping practices. According to the Javelin Strategy & Research Study, 16.7 million US netizens became victims of identity theft suffering asset losses exceeding $16 billion in 2017, and fraudulent activity is showing a rising trend. Both businesses and consumers need protection to safeguard sensitive data and banking transactions.
8 Failsafe Strategies to Safeguard Your Assets and Transactions From Online Fraud
The internet is a fascinating place to avail personalized services but it can also become a dreadfully dangerous place to lose money if you aren’t careful. The reassuring news is that you can don the bullet-proofed armor plating of a handful of tactics to disarm and neutralize the worst intentions.
1. Protecting Privacy and Ensuring Secrecy Through Anonymous Online Banking
Whether it is a consumer-to-business transaction or a business-to-business deal, every successful sales funnel concludes in a payment. Is it possible for businesses and consumers to affect payment privately on websites and through apps without revealing one’s true identity? According to CS&P company offering anonymous online banking services, both individuals and business institutions significantly boost their asset protection strategy by using anonymous banking practices:
- Use cash to buy a prepaid credit card so you can pay anonymously online. Ensure that you don’t purchase the card using an existing card or bank account that can be traced back to you.
- Use an online virtual credit card number which can be randomly altered for every transaction, and which gives you the option of setting a maximum charge and expiry date.
- Use cryptocurrency to make online payments taking advantage of the quasi-anonymity of this kind of digital transaction. To protect your identity to the extent possible, buy cryptos using cash and ensure you open a cryptocurrency wallet beforehand. Presently, Monero cryptocurrency provides the most robust privacy protection.
- Use PayPal with more anonymity and better identity protection. You can do that using a VPN network that’ll hide your real IP address. Then use a prepaid credit card or virtual credit card to make payments through PayPal without revealing your true identity.
- Businesses and individuals can conceal their real identity by setting up offshore banking accounts. Near foolproof banking secrecy laws in tax havens make it virtually impossible for governments, creditors, and malicious third parties to gain access to your sensitive data and banking transactions.
2. Hack-Proofing the Online Shopping Experience
- Once the merchant transaction is completed, logging out of the card or bank account would be a wise precaution.
- Preferably, store passwords and secret keys offline in an external hard drive, and as a rule of thumb, avoid storage devices that can be accessed online.
- In retail purchasing and online banking, avoid storing and auto-filling passwords on your computer or handheld device.
- The security questions should be answered using information that is unrelated to any of your personal or family details, and keep track of how you responded.
3. Securing Merchant Retailing and Banking Transactions
- Ensure that you route payments through trusted third party payment services such as PayPal because they have high-security protocols and offer dispute resolution services.
- The URL should begin with https:// and there should be an ‘s’ after ‘http.’ Look for the padlock sign at the beginning of the address bar which reassures you that your data is encrypted and the server is always authenticated to secure transactional messages.
4. Following Safer Consumer Protection Tactics Online
- Look for the “VeriSign secured” certification in merchant websites and banking portals which indicates that the site’s identity is authenticated (it’s not bogus) and all transactions are encrypted.
- If you insist on using a credit card in your name (instead of unnamed prepaid or virtual cards) ensure you confine all merchant transactions to a single card to limit fraud exposure.
- Use only secured internet connections for retail purchasing and banking transactions, and avoid public Wi-Fi available in eateries and transport hubs and other public spaces.
- Never substitute the two-step username and password route in checking into merchant websites as the immediate-order and single-click payment options are more fraud-prone.
- Never bypass an opportunity to update your browser because you’ll be denying yourself the protection of improved technology that scrambles your messages and transactions when you surf online.
5. Tracking Merchant Transactions Alongside Bank and Credit Card Statements
It doesn’t help if you get alerted to a fraud months after the event has blasted a hole in your bank account. The safest precaution is to track online transactions and compare them with the bank and credit card statements that you receive periodically. Timely reporting of discrepancies is an essential aspect of responding quickly and limiting losses due to identity theft and fraud.
Use credit cards that offer greater fraud protection and liability protection which safeguards your interests if anything goes wrong that can’t be traced to your negligence.
6. Using Updated Antivirus and Firewall Protection
Just as you’d clean your car and keep it sparkling new, ensure that you scan your computer regularly using the latest and most reliable antivirus software and firewall protection. Don’t disable the auto-update action; this is an essential precaution that saves you from more insidious spyware and computer viruses.
7. Being Cautious in Providing Personal and Family Details on Social Media Platforms
It’s a wiser strategy to limit the extent of personal details that you disclose online to prevent hackers from profiling you. It’s safer to avoid posting exact birthdates and cell phone numbers and email IDs together in one place as this could compromise you when hackers port your phone to siphon off your bank balance.
Consider using an email address exclusively set apart for social media posts, for receiving ads, and responding to promotional offers. Your personal email and the one that you use for official purposes should also be separated at all times.
8. Safeguarding Data by Securing Your Email
From the sender to the recipient, an email traverses multiple pause points encountering unsecured servers and hackers. Even if the messages are inconsequential, the seasoned hacker can filter the password needed to gain access to the email account unless the user is cautious enough to mandate two-factor authentication.
Emails, inadequately protected, can open the gateways to spam, spyware, malware, and phishing and merely opening an attachment is all that is needed to compromise the computer’s safety. Businesses especially need to consider upgrading email security to designate the officials that are authorized to access and share data through emails. Some best practices are:
- Educating employees how not to fall for phishing attacks through email.
- Emphasizing the need for strong passwords and regular password changes.
- Protecting email messages and attachments through email encryption services.
- Strengthening scanners and associated tools that filter messages for malicious content even before they reach the user’s inbox.
- Implementing a data protection protocol that identifies and isolates sensitive data and determines who has access and what can be shared. In short, the company clearly defines what remains personal and private and what can be shared in the public domain.
What to Do When You Know You’re Compromised
Remember that any irregularity in merchant retailing or online banking transactions exposes you not only to the loss of data and valuable assets, but every fraudulent transaction has the potential of adversely affecting your credit rating.
- Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian are the three leading credit monitoring agencies in the U.S that should be notified to flag your credit report with a fraud alert. The immediate benefit is that companies scrutinizing the credit report will be cautioned to verify the account owner’s identity before extending further credit facilities. This action prevents the depletion of your resources by fraudsters.
- Notifying the credit card agency without losing time protects you by limiting your liability in case of money frauds. Any delay in informing the service provider could see you losing valuable asset protection.
- Any discrepancy, even if it is apparently minor, or any activity that you deem to be suspicious should be reported to the parent banking institution that is hosting your account. This simple precaution makes you eligible for fraud liability protection.
Following the enactment of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by the European Parliament, American companies are rushing to initiate steps to ensure the privacy of citizens’ personal data and safety of online banking transactions. U. S. companies led by Facebook have already spent more than $10 million in regulatory compliance work.
Finally, after ages of throwing caution and personal data to the winds, Americans are now wising up to the necessity of protecting data and ensuring the safety of online banking.
Protecting consumers, staying safe in cyberspace, and preventing data theft have become the new goalposts defining modern corporate strategy. Would you prefer being on the right side of regulatory compliance or would you rather be at the receiving end of compensatory claims and violator fines? The answer could well determine whether you barely survive or happily thrive.