Online Fraud Protection

Online Fraud Protection

Everyone knows the Internet is an amazing resource, but do you know the secrets to protecting your personal information during your web surfing? Stay in charge with these tips for keeping your card, account, and identity secure.

Reduce your risk and shop safely

Take proactive steps to keep yourself out of harm's way while you take advantage of the Internet's convenience and entertainment.

  • Make sure your computer has a firewall installed and keep your browser software and anti-virus program updated.
  • When you're done using a public computer, log off and shut down the browser program completely. This will prevent the next user from being able to hit the back button and discover your personal information.
  • When shopping online, stick to merchants that have a trustworthy reputation. Read their privacy policy (if you can't find it, that may be a red flag) and find out what security features are in place.
  • Never respond to suspicious emails or click on links inside questionable messages. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Get more information about email safety and learn how to spot fraudulent messages and websites.
  • Seek out safety symbols, including the padlock icon in your browser's status bar and “s” after “http” in the URL, or the words "Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)." These are your assurance that only you and the merchant can view your payment data.
  • Craft strong passwords with more than six characters and try to mix numbers and letters. Use a new password for each site—and keep it to yourself. Never use one-click shopping on a public computer.
  • Not sure whether an online merchant is trustworthy? When in doubt, check with the Better Business Bureau.

Watch for spyware

Spyware is software that consumers unknowingly install on their computers. Once installed, it can be used to track online usage and personal information. You can do a number of things to keep spyware off your system.

  • Keep your computer current with the latest operating system, install updates and patches, and select the highest security setting possible on your browser to prevent unauthorized downloads.
  • Download only from sites you know and trust; some free applications may be fronts for getting spyware onto your system. Take time to read the fine print too. If you can't understand the licensing agreement, don't download the software.
  • Enable a pop-up blocker on your browser. Don't click any links inside a pop-up window, as they can install unwanted software. Instead, get rid of pop-ups by clicking the “X” icon on the title bar.
  • Buy anti-virus and anti-spyware software from a reputable vendor, keep it up-to-date, and use it to do regular scans of your computer.

Find out more about common types of fraud on our Learn the Facts page.

Did You Know?

Identity thieves may use your information to open cell phone and utility accounts, in addition to new credit card accounts.
Learn more >