Making Purchases Over the Internet Safely
Transactions Over the Net
Are you one of the many people who is uncomfortable making purchases over the Internet because you do not want to give your credit card information out over the Net? Even though there may be merchandise you would like to have, do you pass it by because you do not feel it is safe to make a purchase over the Internet?
Here are some easy ways you can make those purchases safely without worrying that something bad will happen to your credit card, or bank accounts. I have been making purchases over the Internet with these methods for at least 13 years with no problems so far.
If you think about it, people inclined to be dishonest can defraud you in person too. That is the reason you need to understand your credit card company’s policies on how to handle a situation where a charge shows up on your credit card invoice that you know you did not make.
Along with a couple of alternative ways to pay for purchases over the Internet, this hub will explain the built in fraud protection that most credit cards already have.
Use a Gift Card
Purchase a Gift Card. I recommend a Visa Gift Card. That can be used just like a credit card anywhere Visa is accepted for the amount you place on the card. If you live in a place where MasterCard is more prevalent than Visa, then get a MasterCard Gift Card.
Place enough money on the Gift Card so that you can make your Internet purchase without worrying that you did not put enough money on the card to cover all expenses. Figure the cost of the items you want to purchase, the tax and shipping for the item or items, and then add another 5 or 10 dollars to that. Round that amount up to the nearest dollar and place that amount on the Gift Card. Use the Gift Card like a credit card to make your Internet purchase.
No one can get more than the amount you placed on the Gift Card off the gift card, even if someone tries to defraud you. By using a Gift Card, you prevent having to give access to any credit card you have, and more importantly you do not have to give access to your bank account through your debit card.
Once you have used the Gift Card, put it in a safe place until you want to make another purchase over the Internet, or make some other kind of payment. You can always add more money to the Gift Card as necessary in order to make more purchases or payments over the Internet, or the phone. Using a Gift Card for this purpose limits access to the amount of money you have placed on the Gift Card and you won’t have to give out your debit card number.
Gift cards are available in most discount stores and many large grocery stores.
Open a PayPal Account
Open a PayPal Account. Most Internet businesses now accept PayPal. PayPal is an Internet bank owned by eBay and it has been around for several years. I have had a PayPal account for 10 years.
You have to fill out an application and register with PayPal in order to open an account. PayPal will need the routing numbers from your local bank so that you can make transfers from your bank to your PayPal account and vice versa. The routing number can be found on your personal checks.
Once you have established your PayPal account, which does not take long, you can use that account to make Internet purchases. You will not have to give personal information in order to make a purchase over the Net. You will not have to give out your bank account information to anyone other than PayPal, and they will safeguard it. All you will need to do in future when you want to make an Internet purchase is choose a website that accepts PayPal (most of them do now), and the necessary form to make your purchase will be provided on that website.
Like the Gift Card, you can limit access to your personal information and your money by using PayPal. The only money that will be in your PayPal account is whatever amount you choose to put there, just like with the Gift Card.
PayPal, however, does not permit the purchase of adult materials such as pornography or sex related items. If they discover you have used their payment service for that purpose, they will close your account and fine you a large fee. If you plan to purchase these kinds of merchandise, I recommend the Gift Cards described above.
There are other payment services similar to PayPal available, but PayPal is the most well known, and it is the one I have used for 10 years, so far with no problems.
Use Your Credit Card – It Has Built In Protection
Use your Visa, MasterCard, or Discover Card with confidence. There is built in protection when you use one of those cards to make a purchase anywhere at all. Whether it is over the Internet, over the phone, through the mail, or in person, your credit card has built in fraud protection.
You have 30 days in most cases, to notify your credit card provider if you see any charges on your invoice that you believe are fraudulent. There is an 800 number on the back of your credit card that you can call in you need assistance.
You do not have to wait until your invoice arrives to check your account in order to know if anyone has used your card fraudulently. You can access your credit card account online and know almost immediately if there is anything awry with your account. If there is, call their customer service line immediately and get directions about what to do next.
For some reason people seem to think their credit cards can only be abused over the Internet, but in fact they can be abused over the phone and in person just as easily. That is why you should always check your credit card accounts online regularly.
Generally all you need to do if someone has placed a charge on your credit card that you did not authorize is write a letter stating which item listed on your invoice is questionable and why you are questioning it. No need to write a novel. Just state the facts. For example, you purchased an item at Jerry’s Midnight Auto Salvage and you are now being charged for that item plus another item you did not purchase and do not possess. You want the charge for the item you did not in fact purchase removed from your invoice and your invoice adjusted accordingly.
State the date of the transaction and put your credit card number near your name and address for efficient identification purposes.
Your credit card company will remove that charge from your invoice while they investigate the issues you have informed them of. Once their investigation is complete you will either see the charge reappear on your invoice, or it will be removed from your invoice permanently. You will receive a letter from your credit card company informing you of their findings.
I have had to challenge charges on my credit card invoice 3 different times over the last many years and in every case the charges were permanently removed from my credit card invoice.
Credit cards are the safest way to make purchases because if for any reason the product or service is not as promised or expected, or if the charge is fraudulent, your credit card company will investigate the issue and refuse to pay the charge until they get the results of their investigation . Sort of like stopping a check at the bank, but with no fee involved – for now.
Always report any unauthorized charges or any lost credit cards immediately and at the very worst your responsibility will be limited to $50. Often the charge will simply be removed.
© 2012 C E Clark
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