Center for Personal Financial Management

Keeping money safe online

By Alexander Hanakee | April 15, 2024

The 21st century has brought along many wonderful technological advancements.  Unfortunately, criminals various schemes to acquire your money will continue to evolve along with technology.  Keeping your hard-earned money safe is of upmost importance in this digital day and age.  Listed are some things you can do to keep your money safe:

Set alert notifications on your bank account

    Alerts can be set to notify you about things ranging from letting you know that it’s payday to informing you about someone using your debit card without your permission.  It’s best to find out if fraudulent transactions are taking place sooner than later.  Most banks have specific “Unusual Activity Alerts” that will inform the user about unusual activity that is detected in the account.  This alert may be triggered when your card is used outside of your home city.  Your bank may even text you and ask you to reply to confirm the transaction.  Make sure that any communication that you receive about your account is coming directly from your bank.  If you have any doubt, contact your bank through an established channel – either online or through customer service on the phone.

    Using a credit card online to shop is safer than using a debit card

      Criminals are always lurking in all corners of the web in search of your credit/debit card information.  You may have an easier time disputing charges made on a credit card if someone were to steal your credit card information.  This is because you will have more time to dispute credit card charges since the credit card bill will not come until the end of the month.  Payment on a credit card is delayed versus with a debit card.  Money is automatically taken from your account as soon as your debit card is run.  Not everyone may have a credit card, so the next tip is geared towards those without one

      Use a prepaid Visa card to shop online

        Those who do not have a credit card can utilize the benefit that the prepaid Visa card offers. Not much can happen if someone were to get their hands on information about your prepaid visa card online since the card only contains the amount of money that is put on it.  The card is in no way linked to your bank account so they would not have access to your funds

        Use your best judgement when purchasing from an online site

          Make sure that the site is reputable and secure.  There may be fake sites on the internet try to pose as the real site.  Do your best to ensure that you are shopping at a legitimate site.  Also avoid shopping on sites that are linked in emails that you receive.  These emails may be sent by phony sites that are posing as the real one.

          It is best to use your own private computer and a secure Wi-Fi connection when shopping online

            When using a public computer – say, I a library – websites can save login information which can leave accounts vulnerable to the next user.  Spyware may be placed on that computer that can record keystrokes and gain access to usernames, passwords, credit card numbers etc.  Using your personal device is much safer than using a public one when it comes to shopping.  However, your information may still be stolen when using your personal device on public Wi-Fi.  For best results, purchase things online when on your own private Wi-Fi.  Another thing to consider, is using a Virtual Private Network (VPN).  VPN’s can encrypt your data, which adds another layer of security.

            Alexander Hanakee, Peer Coach, Center for Personal Financial Management

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