- Internet & the Web
Reduce Scammer Damage. Protect your money
Protecting your money. Reducing Scam Damage!
Over the course of many years, I have learned methods to reduce my risks when buying on the Internet. These methods have overall served me well over the years by limiting the damage should I become victim to a scam. The approaches are:
1. Use a bank account with a Debit Visa/Mastercard option that is separate from your main bank account. Unless you are 100 percent confident in whom you are doing business with, never give your main bank information over the Internet. Simply have a separate bank account at a separate bank and deposit a few hundred dollars in it. Request, in writing to the bank, that this account is never to be overdrawn. Also, request in writing to this bank that if the funds are not available, they are to decline the transaction. Banks are trying to do you a favour by giving you overdraft privileges. You don’t want this favour because if you get scammed, you want to limit the damage. If you do get scammed, be sure to close the account and set up a new one. Again, the object here is to limit your financial risks. Getting a bank account with free transactions is quite easy these days. Simply research banks in your local area that offer free transactions and go with them. Being a Canadian, I found Harris Bank to be my best option. You can open a bank account online and can be up and running in no time. This way, I stay in US Dollars and don’t keep paying exchange rate fees.
2. Have a credit card with a very small spending limit: Giving someone you are not sure about or don’t know your credit card number with a high spending limit is just plain crazy in my opinion. Get yourself a credit card with the lowest spending limit possible (usually $500.00). This again ensures any scammer can’t have access to a massive amount of funds available. It is much easier to swallow a 100 dollar loss than thousands of dollars. If you are scammed, dispute the charge with the Credit Card Company but feel good knowing the scammer can’t financially rape you for thousands of dollars.
3. Ask for a credit card replacement every 6 months or if you became a victim of a scam. Deactivating and reactivating your credit cards every so often is just a good business practice. Remember, scammers have been known to get your credit card information and wait months before they strike. Changing your credit card number here and there increases your peace of mind and reduces the chances of your card being jacked up down the road. I do this with my credit card company and they are always very accommodating.
4. Only use one credit card with Internet transactions: Having multiple credit card numbers floating around the Internet is NOT good. All this does is increase your chances of credit card fraud.
5. Buy items on the Internet with a prepaid credit card: In my opinion, this is not the best option as prepaid credit cards charge fees. However, using a prepaid credit card does limit any potential damages should you get scammed. Also, prepaid credit cards are useful for limiting access to your personal details. You need to check on how to use a prepaid credit card on the Internet. Some prepaid cards work on Internet transactions and some don’t so you need to check if they offer this feature by calling or emailing them.
6. Use postal money orders when at all possible. A postal money order ensures your name and bank account/credit card number is not floating around the Internet. It also limits your risks of loss. The more information a scammer has on you, the greater the risk to your Identity being stolen.
7. Try to find a credit card that emails or texts you when a transaction has been posted. The quicker you detect fraud, the faster you can react to stop it. Some credit card companies offer this feature. I have mine with Capital One. Capital One will text and email me the second a transaction is authorized if it is over 20 dollars.
8. Avoid No Name Sites: This is sad to say as all start up companies deserve a chance to earn your business. However, dealing with New Name sites does increase your risks.
The key here is to buy safe on the Internet and limit any losses if you get scammed. Buying from the Internet can be a great experience! I buy items all the time from reputable companies who offer products I can’t get in Canada. Although, I can’t eliminate the risk, I can at least reduce it.