Monday, May 9, 2011

Protect your online finance

A few months ago I discovered that someone was enjoying la bella vita on my expense. Somebody managed to get the details of my credit card, most probably from the internet, since my card was still in my wallet and was booking plane and train tickets. After 2 months of contact with the bank my money was returned back. I don't know if the perpertrator was caught or how he got my details.

What I know is that all of a sudden my money didn't feel safe. Maybe storing it under the mattress can be safer in this day and age!

  To start feeling safe again I compiled a small list of what to do or not to do related to your financial online persona:

  1. Try and have a small credit limit on the credit card that you're going to use online. If somebody does manage to start doing transactions on your name they will reach the limit quickly.
  2. Check your balance regularly even if you're not using the card yourself.
  3. Set up messages that are generated by the bank for each transaction on the account, or for transactions which are of a large amount.
  4. Try and use secure systems, such as Ideal in the Netherlands, or your internet banking system when paying for stuff online.
  5. If you cannot use such secure systems try and always stick to PayPal. Like this it's only your PayPal details that are going around on internet, not your own credit card numbers
  6. When taking money from ATMs try not to use dodgy ones that look as if they are tempered with
  7. If you are going to store the pin for your card somewhere, who doesn't really, make sure that it is not easily accessable and if found not easily related to the actual card.
  8. When using the credit card in shops don't give the card to the cashier. Nowadays most card have the chip on them, so you can pay by yourself without the cashier taking your card away from you. Remember that the card itself has all the details required to buy stuff online on your name.
  9. Try to not keep all your debit and credit cards in your wallet. If you lose it you will at least have a spare card at home.
  10. When buying stuff online try and stick with well known companies/sites.
  11. Always remember that if a family member or friends needs money they won't most probably contact you on a social networking site or via an email. If they were really in the need of money then they would contact you in person or on the phone. Never give out details of your accounts to possible strangers.

While these points are just a few pointers and surely not the complete way to be safe, at least if you follow these guidelines you're being more secure in the chaotic internet world.

[Image Credits: Secure Credit Card System]

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