How to protect yourself against online card fraud

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The service is used by more than 10,000 merchants and has “tens of millions” of cardholders, said Sukhmani Dev, senior vice president of digital products, North America, at Mastercard.

Here are some questions and answers about safe online shopping practices:

the Federal Trade Commission offers these tips: Shop online with a credit card and never buy anything from online sellers who only accept payments with gift cards, money transfers, or cryptocurrency. It’s nearly impossible to track and reverse such payments, and criminals often tell people to use these methods so they can get cash quickly, the commission says.

Before shopping, check unfamiliar websites by searching online for the retailer’s name and the word “complaint” or “scam,” the agency advises, and carefully read the seller’s description of the goods. If the seller offers branded goods at steep discounts, according to the agency, “it could be counterfeit”.

The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse also recommends ensuring that the website displays a small lock icon (https) in the checkout browser, indicating that transactions are secure. You can also sign up for notifications from your bank or credit card so that you can be notified of purchases.

“The US consumer needs to be really smart,” said David Mattei, a payment fraud strategic advisor at Aite-Novarica Group. When major retailers run out of an item, there’s a good chance an online seller you’ve never heard of won’t either. And when a website asks for details like your social security number, he said “that should be a red flag” that the website is not legitimate.

You can, but experts like that Clearinghouse for data protection rights generally warn against it. Because if the card is compromised, the money will be debited directly from your bank account. There are consumer protection measures, but there can be take your time to solve the problem and in the meantime you may run out of money.

“It’s a different feeling to see money gone from your bank account,” said Odysseas Papadimitriou, executive director of the financial website WalletHub.


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