Sep 152017
Internet shopping

Steven Seamark |

Part 1

We live in a brave new world. Online shopping has captured a huge percentage of the consumer marketplace, and that percentage only grows every year. I admit that I buy hundreds of products online every year, including books, DVDs, web hosting services and memberships to online services like Netflix.

Naturally a lot of online purchases are made with debit cards.¬†If you don’t have a credit card or prefer not to use one, then debit cards are really handy for online purchases. I personally have not had a credit card since the recession (2010 or so) when I got in over my head with credit card debt and had to negotiate a settlement. Since then, I use only my debit card for all online purchases. I don’t know what I’d do without it. Maybe you know the feeling.

Sadly for me and possibly for you, using a debit card online is extremely risky. In fact, it is possibly the riskiest of all places to use your card. You might have strong antivirus software installed on your computer, and you might trust the merchant. That’s all well and good.

The problem is that an internet transaction is susceptible to interception or hacking at multiple points. Data could be stolen at the endpoint, meaning at your end, the consumer’s, especially if your computer or mobile device is not secure and is used by other people.

Data could also be stolen at the midpoint, where someone might be hacking into the wireless network.

Lastly, as we have seen in several high-profile breaches, data could be stolen at the start point of the transaction, meaning the seller. We see examples of this all the time, where hackers break into the computers of large-scale retailers and steal thousands or millions of debit card and credit card numbers.

Next: Part 3 – Gas Stations


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