What Are the Best Tips for Making Secure Online Transactions?

Alex Tree

Using a secure connection, reading privacy policies, and avoiding email links can help a computer user make secure online transactions. In addition, a reputable anti-virus and firewall program should be installed to prevent malicious code from recording keystrokes. Making transactions on the Internet cannot be entirely risk free, but it is possible to significantly reduce the likelihood of identify theft, privacy invasion, and more.

Banking customers need to be wary about accessing their accounts on mobile devices tied into unsecured wireless networks.
Banking customers need to be wary about accessing their accounts on mobile devices tied into unsecured wireless networks.

A secure connection encrypts information sent to the website, making it harder for hackers to steal personal information. Although encrypted online transactions are not foolproof methods of protecting credit card numbers, addresses, and phone numbers, they are better than nothing. Before banking or purchasing something online, the user can ensure the transaction is secure by looking at the uniform resource locator (URL). The URL should start with https instead of http, which means hypertext transfer protocol secure. Depending on the browser, a user might also see an image of a closed lock next to the URL.

Websites that use encryption begin with "https" and are therefore more trustworthy when making online transactions.
Websites that use encryption begin with "https" and are therefore more trustworthy when making online transactions.

Having a security certificate does not mean a website should be trusted completely. A website that promises secure online transactions might technically hold itself to that promise, but also share personal information with third parties. Users can read a website’s privacy policy to determine a company’s stance on sharing its information. Some companies cannot be trusted to abide by their own policies, but in this case the user will most likely have legal rights to fall back on.

Sometimes it is worth considering how a user arrived at a website, even if the website is secure and has a respectable privacy policy. Clicking a link in an email is rarely safe, especially links to an online bank or other website with personal information. Some emails and websites are carefully designed to look official but actually come from scammers who hope people are fooled into volunteering personal information. An important part of making secure online transactions is to manually enter the URL to banking institutions and similar websites.

Lastly, a company’s website can be 100-percent legitimate, but the user still has a credit card number stolen the moment it is entered. This has nothing to do with the company’s website, but the user’s computer. Keyloggers are malicious computer programs that record what the user types and sends it to someone who gathers and usually sells the information. When a keylogger is installed, making secure online transactions is difficult at best. These programs can be avoided or stopped by regularly scanning a computer for malicious software.

Customers should always check that connection is secure before making an online transaction.
Customers should always check that connection is secure before making an online transaction.

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