Credit Card Safety Tips
Is your payment information safe online? For the most part, yes, as long as you take some important precautions.
At first glance, the statistics about credit card theft are frightening. A report from last year says that 41 million Americans have had their identities stolen and that most Americans aren’t properly protecting their personal information.
But there’s good news. If you take a few simple steps to safeguard your information, you can greatly reduce your risk. Here at Ava Jane’s Kitchen, our top priority is keeping our customers safe and happy. We take every possible step to ensure that you’re protected, and your payment information is secure. Most people shop online with multiple sellers these days, so we put together this guide to keeping your identity safe online. Follow these tips to surf, and shop, with confidence.
1. Secure Your Internet Connection
If your home computer is hooked up to the internet through a wire, your connection is safe. If you have a wireless connection, keep it password-protected, so no one can use it without your permission.
Shopping on the go? Not every WiFi network is safe. If you are not at home, and surfing the Net on your tablet or phone, stick to secured WiFi networks (ones that require a password). Never enter payment information—or log into sites that already have your payment information on file—when you are on an unsecured network.
2.`Look for the “s” in “https” on Website Addresses
Have a look at the top of your web browser window, where the website address is shown. If it starts with “https” that means the website you’re browsing is secured, and has measures in place to protect information from hackers. An unsecured website, on the other hand, will start with “http.” When you’re shopping online, make sure you only enter personal information on secured sites that begin with “https.”
3. Don’t Email Your Payment Information
Email is notoriously easy for hackers to access, so never send credit card numbers or other payment information through email. If a website asks you to send your payment information in an email, that’s a red flag that the site isn’t safe to shop from. Responsible online businesses will have a secured form where you can enter your payment details safely. (Ava Jane’s Kitchen will never ask you to send your credit card information via email. We will always send you a separate email with a secure link to a secure form.)
4. Keep Your Passwords Secure
Sure, they can be a pain to keep track of, but if you want to shop safely, you need good password habits. This means having strong, and unique, passwords for any sites you log into. What’s a strong password? It should be long, include numbers and special characters, and shouldn’t have any personal information that hackers could find somewhere else (things like birthdays, your children’s or spouse’s names, or your address or workplace).
The safest—and easiest—way to keep your passwords safe is to use an app like 1Password. 1Password will randomly generate secure passwords for you, store them, and enter them automatically. It works on your phone, tablet, and computer. This means your information is safer, and you don’t have to fuss with multiple passwords. (Ava Jane’s Kitchen uses 1Password to keep our business passwords secure. The service is free to try for Ava Jane’s customers and under $5 a month for a family of 5. Click here to learn more.
5. Avoid Phishing Schemes
“Phishing” schemes are schemes where the thief steals your info simply by asking you for it. Usually the hackers will pose as a trusted business, and email or call you for information.
If you get an email that asks you to verify your information by clicking on a link, don’t do it, even if it looks like it’s from a business you trust. Instead, send a new email to the business, or call them, and ask them about the message you received. (Ava Jane’s Kitchen uses an automated system to send you an email with a secure link when your credit card is no longer working. Please feel free to contact us directly if you are unsure if the email you have received is real, or you may log in to your account directly to update your credit card.)
If you get an unexpected phone call asking you to verify your information, don’t share anything. Instead, offer to call them back. Hang up, call the phone number that’s listed on the business’s website, and report the phone call you’ve received.
6. Always Check Your Statements
Even though we’re in the 21st century, it’s still a smart move to keep your checkbook balanced. Banks and credit cards offer excellent fraud protection—but only if you catch the problem early. Go over your monthly statements carefully and make sure you recognize every transaction you see. If something’s not right, call your bank or card provider right away.
For online shopping, consider using a credit card instead of a debit card. Credit cards tend to offer heightened security measures and better safety nets in case your data security is breached.
If you ever have questions about our online security measures you can always contact us directly. With these tips, shopping online can be fun, convenient, and most of all, safe.