Don’t buy online with your card without following these 9 tips –

Holiday Season 2021: While some may have already had a head start on holiday shopping, the last week of November is the true start of the gift rush with a Black Friday sale period starting each year earlier. and before. Online shopping will be very popular again this year, as will online payment methods. It is time to remember these few tips.

For some of us, it is a pleasure to walk through the malls and other shopping streets in search of birthday or Christmas gifts. For others, it is hell or simply impossible due to lack of time. Sometimes it even becomes a marathon if the desired product is no longer available anywhere.

This year again the situation is special. If the closure of physical stores is no longer on the agenda, the most fragile among us might be tempted to avoid going to street stores so as not to expose ourselves.

Like the latter, and since the Internet has existed, those who resist the rush for gifts in high street stores can avoid this ordeal and silently search online for gift ideas. The last step remains, the most delicate: online payment, which is usually made with a credit card. How to avoid being deceived and not worry about your card number being hacked?

1. Do not buy in any store

First important step: choosing the store. When you have a choice, prefer an online store that you already know because of fame or because you’ve used it before. Make sure that the general notices and conditions of sale are accessible, the physical address of the company must be clearly indicated with a means of contact (telephone, email).

If you have no other choice and are in doubt about the reliability of a seller, feel free to contact them by phone or email under the pretext of checking the availability of a product. Search the internet with the name of the store or ask for the opinion of the community in our advice forums before purchase to find an alternative or to collect opinions.

2. Secure pages and VPN

A bank card number must be entered on a special secure page that must be encrypted to prevent a third party from intercepting the number. These pages are easily recognizable thanks to the S in HTTPS that appears at the beginning of the address or the padlock in the address bar. You can also activate your VPN if you have ever subscribed to such a service.

On the other hand, bank card numbers should never go through a simple contact form or email. Ideally, your actual credit card number should almost never go over the Internet (see below).

In addition to this check regarding page encryption, don’t forget to activate your VPN to add an extra layer of protection, especially if you make your purchase while connected to a Wifi network other than yours.

Learn more: our pick of the best VPNs

3. Use an alternative payment method

Sometimes, online sales sites offer alternative means of payment to the bank card. For example, some offer payments through Paypal, which saves you from having to systematically provide your card number. However, you must open a Paypal account by providing your card number or by crediting the account.

Bank transfer can also be an interesting alternative if you can make transfers online. The seller usually asks for a reference to be entered to find the transaction. However, you should not be in a hurry, as the validation of the order is longer than when paying by card.

4. Activez 3D Secure

Banking organizations have investigated these security issues and most banks or cards (Carte Bleu, Visa, Mastercard, etc.) offer security solutions such as 3-D Secure, a secure Internet payment protocol.

Date of birth, card code, SMS code … not all banks offer the same type of security. Check with your advisor what type of security your card offers and how to activate it before buying online.

5. Use a prepaid card

If you do not have a card, a bank account or if you particularly want your numbers not to circulate on the Internet, it is possible to purchase a prepaid credit card. These cards, which can also be used in street shops, are credited with a certain amount before use.

Prepaid credit card

You can buy them online or in cash at nearby points of sale (local businesses). However, you have to pay commissions: a fixed amount for the management and / or certain amounts when recharging or for each transaction.

6. Use a virtual card or an electronic card

In the same spirit as the prepaid card, almost all French banking establishments offer virtual cards or electronic cards, but sometimes also free neobanks. They allow you to create virtual card numbers for a certain amount or with each payment. Other cards with systematic verification allow you to be notified by notification as soon as a purchase act is carried out.

The service can be paid, but the charges are lower than for prepaid cards. The procedure to create virtual numbers can be done online through a special interface configured by the bank. Ask your bank advisor what solutions yours offers, you may already have it available without knowing it.

7. Control your accounts

The payment time has passed and if you have decided to choose to pay with your real card number, you should check that the amount owed corresponds to the order you made with the merchant, especially if you are used to buying online.

Account status

Verify that each debit on your bank statements or online account corresponds to the actual purchases made. If you see a debit that does not correspond to any of your payments, do not hesitate to contact your bank for an explanation. The sooner the better if you want to reverse a payment or cancel a recurring payment.

8. Do not store

Finally, certain sites sometimes offer you at the time of payment to “keep in memory” your payment information to facilitate your task during your next purchases. Systematically uncheck this box to avoid leaving your card numbers in merchant databases.

If for practical reasons you want to store this card, choose a strong password It contains mixed uppercase, lowercase, numbers and letters to prevent hacking of your account. Of course, never use the same password for multiple websites.

9. Make no mistake!

It is not only the payment that must be safe, your purchase must be made in such a way that the advantages of buying on the internet do not become a disadvantage. Before the payment phase, the price of the product, the choice of the place, the terms or other conditions of guarantees and after-sales service should be carefully examined so as not to be mistaken.

More information: 7 tips to avoid making a mistake when buying a gift on the Internet

Bonus: Bitdefender specialist gives advice

As Black Friday and the holiday shopping period approaches, security solutions publisher Bitdefender offered us an interview in 2020 with Gauthier Vathaire, cybersecurity expert and product manager for the brand.

Before giving some tips to protect yourself, the expert reviews the special configuration of this buying period last year that should be repeated this year. 62% of the French were already shopping on the web with some 56 million transactions made in 2019, this logically should also increase this year.

This also occurs during a period that is usually critical since it encourages the attempt of fraud, to which must be added the phenomena linked to new products. And hackers adapt to the news, in particular through the use of spam, which today accounts for 72% of the mass of emails.

Your recommendations

Similar to our advice, Bitdefender encourages you to pay attention to the overall reputation of the site you are buying from. When this is the case, the account should also be protected by a strong and unique password and, if possible, by activating two-factor authentication that requires a second device, usually a smartphone, to validate the connection.

Then comes the question of protecting the data exchanged. In addition to the HTTPS on the page now well signaled by browsers, it is also necessary to ensure that the network used is secure. Using a VPN
it is a good way to strengthen transaction encryption. Bitdefender offers its own solution and also includes it for free in your software suites up to 200MB / day.

As for the means of payment itself, virtual cards, often offered free or at very low cost by banks and neobanks, they are a good way to avoid entering your usual card code. Post-transaction monitoring also has a role to play: verification of statements, or better yet, the use of automatic verification cards that instantly notify the user of each act of purchase.

Now you are well equipped to buy online, even with a credit card or bank card. All you have to do is choose your gift from our Christmas selection or get advice from community members on the advice forums before purchase.

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