T2021_12 How to Make Safe Online Payments (27th July 2021)

Using the internet to make payments to utility, phone, credit card, insurance and other companies saves considerable time and effort. It is also a simple and convenient way to contribute to charity either directly or by sponsoring participants in money-raising activities. There are, however, risks associated with online payments, and you need to take care when making them.

This risk includes:

  • Fraud resulting from making payments over unsecured web pages.

  • Emails directing you to fake websites set up to collect your payment card details.

    Given the stated risk, here are a few tips on how to execute safe online payments:

  • Online payments are normally part of your arrangement with a service provider as an alternative to payment by Direct Debit or cheque. In most cases, therefore, the payee will be familiar to you, but you must take care to ensure that you are on the provider’s genuine site.

  • Double-check all details of your payment before confirming.

  • Before entering payment card details on a website, ensure that the link is secure in two ways.

    i. There should be a padlock symbol in the browser window frame, which appears when you attempt to log in or register. Be sure that the padlock is not on the page itself...this will probably indicate a fraudulent site.

    ii. The web address should begin with HTTPS:// the “s” stands for “secure”. This indicates only that the link between you and the website owner is secure, and not that the site itself is authentic. You need to do this by carefully checking the address for subtle misspellings, additional words and characters and other irregularities.
  • When making a payment to an individual use a secure payment site such as PayPal – never transfer the money directly into their bank account.

  • Check the website’s privacy policy.

  • Always log out of sites into which you have logged in or registered details.

    Simply closing your browser is not enough to ensure privacy.

  • Keep receipts – electronic or otherwise.

  • Check credit card and bank statements carefully after payments to ensure that the correct amount has been debited, and also that no fraud has taken place as a result of the transaction.

  • Ensure you have effective and updated antivirus/anti-spyware software and firewall running before you go online.

  • Make sure the internet connection you’re using is secure. Don’t use public Wi- Fi in coffee shops, shopping centres and other places too;

    i. Shop online
    ii. Use internet banking or
    iii. Anything requiring you to send personal information.

  • This is because public Wi-Fi is often unsecured. This means any information you send while connected to these networks can be accessed by fraudsters. Even your ordinary mobile data is more secure than public Wi-Fi.

    The Guyana National CIRT recommends that users and administrators review these recommendations and implement them where necessary.

    PDF Download: How to Make Safe Online Payments.pdf

    References