Protect Your Personal Information When Shopping Online

By Marshal M. Rosenthal
credit card lock Protect Your Personal Information When Shopping Online

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Bad Things Happen to Good People

Even if you do everything right, your credit card information may still be vulnerable. Hackers routinely break into company servers and steal customer information. Regularly checking your credit card activity online will reveal any unauthorized transactions much faster than waiting for a monthly statement. A credit card provider may not realize that the 10 first class tickets to Las Vegas charged to your account aren’t yours.

If unauthorized charges do show up, act early to limit your liability. In most cases, the amount is limited to $50 for credit cards. Some providers will even waive that, provided you contact them in a timely manner. Debit cards are a different story. There’s no charge if you report a problem in advance, and typically you are only liable for $50 if you report it within two business days. After that, you could be liable for up to $500. And after 60 days, you could be liable for the full amount.

Caution is your best defense when shopping online with a credit card. But since problems can develop after a transaction, continued vigilance is also important. Hope for the best and plan for the worst.

Additional Resources

Federal Trade Commission: Credit, ATM and Debit Cards: What to do if They’re Lost or Stolen

Trust the Check: Verisign – Trusted Sites – How to Tell if a Site is Secure

Microsoft: Online Privacy and Security – How to Shop Online More Safely

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse: Online Shopping Tips: E-Commerce and You

Microsoft: Safety & Security Center – 4 Safety Tips for Using Wi-Fi

Find out where to go for online shopping deals.

Marshal M. Rosenthal is a technology, gadget and lifestyle writer based on the West Coast.


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