Just in case there are a few members of the younger generation hiding under rocks who have not yet been exposed to the prospect of making online payments, we offer this financial advice. It’s likely that a growing percentage of your life revolves around making electronic payments. Whether you bank online or place orders for goods and services that way, at some point most of us will whip out the old credit card and start punching in numbers to a website we hope is legit. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a few tips to keep you from accidentally sending the contents of your checking account to a criminal “mastermind” in Nigeria.
Use a Secure Browser
If you don’t have a clue whether or not your browser is secure, look for the “locked” icon in the status bar and the “https” at the beginning of the web address. If you’re on an order page and about to disclose credit or debit card information but don’t see both these items, take a moment and re-assess if you really trust the website.
Some very legit websites have ridiculous privacy policies. Laws require they disclose how your personal information will be used – i.e., sold to any third party who will thereafter mass e-mail you some truly disturbing offers. Find the policy at the bottom of the home page or in the “About” or “FAQ” section. If you don’t like, our financial advice is to consider taking your business elsewhere.
Keep Your Private Info…Private
The whole idea behind having private information like Social Security number, telephone number, address, credit card or banking account numbers is that they stay that way. You’ve probably heard this song and dance before but let’s review. Don’t give out your password, don’t download files from strangers, and don’t click hyperlinks you don’t recognize. Doing so could open your computer to hijackers, making it ever so easy for them to steal your information.
The Young Wealth Team
Flickr / Joe Shlabotnik