When we talk about the modern age, we observe that we are a step ahead than those conventional methods of making payments or shopping.
But with the advent of the digital era, or I should rather say with our technologically advanced society, there are new risks to consider and be cautious of when it comes to shopping and using credit cards. Since we've turned our currency into plastic and digital numbers, it can sometimes be easier to be scammed or robbed. It's not just online shopping to be worrisome of. Fraud can occur at restaurants, shopping malls, cafes etc.
Often times these scams are happening when credit card terminals (the machine you use to pay) have been tampered with. This process is known as 'skimming.'
But, don't worry, we now have some tips on how to identify a skimmer as compared to a standard terminal in the credit card machine or while we do the internet banking. We've also compiled a few other tips on how to avoid a scam.
If you would observe closely while you pay on an outlet, then look for those skimming terminals. The standard space is about one inch, whereas the skimmer is about a centimeter. If they are usually slightly larger than a regular one, then get that in your mind, there's something suspicious.
This can be further tested by noting the width of the machine. A skimming device would have thicker rims.
Though it might not be the easiest to test this without a ruler, just comparing the size can give you a rough idea of the differences in size.
Frequent operation errors are another sign that a skimmer may be in use. Skimmers often affect the magnetic strip and can slow down the function of the terminal.
Even with these tips, it can be difficult to decipher a real terminal from a skimmer. Another good tip is to keep a separate debit card on hand that only holds a certain amount of funds.
Set limits on your bank accounts so that it will automatically cut off and block usage after a certain amount has been used.
When paying for items in a store or a restaurant, never allow the employee to take your card from you. Always handle your own transactions.
Always check your receipts carefully as they should always include an 'amount paid' field. If this is empty, fraud might be involved.
Let's head towards the internet banking part.
Always check the URL of your bank's web site. If you see anything other than the bank's genuine URL, you know it is fake. It always appears as 'https' which means you are in a safe window, so do check for it.
Always remember to do your transactions in a private place, at home or in a closed cabin. Logging with the credentials in front of anyone else is not safe.
And remember while you change your password once in a month. Avoid easy-to-guess passwords, like first names, birthdays and telephone numbers. Try to have an alphanumeric password that combines alphabets and numbers (wherever possible).
Install a personal firewall to help prevent hackers from gaining unauthorized access to your home computer, especially if you connect to the Internet through a cable or a DSL modem.
Always log out when you exit the online banking portal. Close the browser to ensure that your secure session is terminated. Never exit simply by closing the browser.
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Stay secure and safe.