Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Top ways to stay safe in epayment

As I would like it to be clear on the first line please note that the top trick in getting your identity stolen is by phishing. Ok so that means stay alert about giving out your details. It`s been said and written over and over that phishing is number one way of loosing your identity (billing address, security questions, credit or debit card numbers and phone numbers) online in the hands of ruthless criminals. Nevertheless it doesn`t make it disappear as thousands of people get scammed everyday out of their precious data.

One of the latest trends is through social networks such as myspace or friendster and hi5. This legitimate phenomenon of web.2.o is now getting exploited by the same people as before. They too have spread networks so to keep a long story short I would sum up a list that you could print out and keep it in your wallet.
1. Do not respond to unsolicited emails asking you to confirm your billing details. No bank on the planet would make you confirm your identity by asking you data they should ALREADY have.

2. When browsing social networking sites do not fall for any of the following tricks: offer to pay for your "friend`s" ticket unless you personally know the person, do not offer to pay for a puppy or any cute animal to save it from Senegal or Mozambique they often do not exist, do not offer to pay rent or any loses a "social networked" friend would come up with it`s no more no less than a scam.

3. When physically present in a foreign country and paying by credit card watch closely where your card is being placed as sometimes skimming may occur without you noticing it along with your payment. Next thing you know is your card was used two continents away...

4. Check your online statement for any signs of unrecognized charges. Small Amount non recognized payments go undetected for a 6 week period of time as most fraud experienced individuals go for low amounts during an extended period of time rather than fast high amount purchases.

5. Call the merchant! Most banks should be able to provide you with a toll free number to call for inquiring about a specific purchase. And as a secret most merchants include their toll free number in the billing descriptor to make it faster and more convenient for you to recognize as they do not want any illegitimate chargebacks.

6. Use prepaid credit cards. Most times these can get you out of illegitimate activities as they are only valid for a short period of time and are linked to a bank account only for the prepaid amount and not more thus rest of the funds being intangible.

7. If you are spammed with a lottery gain that you know you never entered stay away from it as you know better that no money comes effortless. Why would lottery be so much different?

8. If you are a merchant check all your high orders for any sign of inconsistency. This means any mismatch between the identity of the payer and the shipping address or between the name and the accent or funky email addressed created for free on yahoo.
You can check when was the last update under the yahoo profile section and a fresh email address (recent) indicates the individual is not really "as advertised".

9. Watch out for any fast deals. Wherever the speed of a claimed deal such as discount now, large discount offer of less than 40% of the price you find anywhere else "only if you act now" is not a positive sign. Rather wait and compare options than submitting your details on the spot. The two continent away purchases won`t hesitate to appear afterwards...

10. Keep an open mind about everything that involves immediate payment and you cannot check the reputation of the seller. We live in the digital world where almost everything is supposed to be traceable so do a background check on your seller or buyer and if you come with a reasonable number of clues as to indicate consistency then go for it otherwise wait and compare with a different offer.

The above indications are not claimed to be complete yet should suffice any interested person in keeping themselves safe in the epay world.

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