The world is becoming more ‘E’ on a daily basis. There is a place for almost, if not all, every type, size and form of business on the Internet today. The future is bright really. Evolving technologies in web and App development are using algorithms and codes to teach business people how to do their jobs electronically.
However, for online business, or e-commerce as the case may be, to evolve into full potentials in Nigeria, businesses need to get paid promptly and securely. The fear of fraud is the beginning of wisdom in online payment. The rare truth is there is fraud everywhere.
In any field of human endeavor, some ‘smart’ people develop techniques to beat the system and take advantage of others. Lets take some time out to review those steps we can all take to ensure that we avoid online payment fraud always.
Although, other factors, such as filling forms for free product or service by using your card details for verification, can lead to fraud in online payment, more of successful fraudulent cases have been linked to either paying on an unsecured website or responding to emails from scammers.
In many cases people we know have been reported to have died in their sleep, does this scare us from sleeping? Likewise fraud in online payment. The potentials are there but we can educate ourselves as individuals well enough to be able to detect that a website is not secure when we see one. By taking the precautions below, we would have done as much as we possibly can to avoid fraud in any online payment platform.
How do I identify a secure website?
Before providing your payment details on any website, kindly observe these as a matter of protocol:
Confirm the correctness of the URL
Misspelling might look to you a minute error, but you could be on another website entirely. This is common to people paying bills online, especially fees that you frequently pay. The trick is that you are too familiar with the service provider to double-check if you are on the correct website.
Type the URL with your hand, avoid following untrusted links to make payment.
What indicates the security of a website?
Watch out for a padlock symbol in the browser window frame, which appears when you attempt to log in or register. Be sure that the padlock is behind the web address in the address bar and not on the page itself.
‘http’ is different from ‘https’
As each web page has different addresses, it is important to note that ‘http’ at the beginning of an ordinary web page is allowed. But, the web address of a payment web page should begin with ‘https://’. The ‘s’ stands for ‘secure’. No need to brag about how many levels of SSL and TSL are layered to secure a payment web page.
What is most important to know and ensure is that any webpage where you are required to provide your payment details online should have its web address or URL starting with ‘https’.
What is in colour of a web address?
If you are using the latest version of your browser, the colour of the address bar itself or the name of the site owner will be GREEN. If you frequently make payment online, please update your browsers to the latest version so you can be sure when you are on a website, the color of the address bar and the name of the site owner is green.
Just like terms of agreement, many of us click to agree that we have read, understood the terms and conditions governing the use or purchase of the products/services.
IF THE SERVICE IS FREE, YOU ARE THE PRODUCT
Awoof dey run belle! Be careful with sites that offer free services but requires you to verify your registration with your card. They may not charge you, they may not scam you but your payment details may spill into the hands of ‘cyber rats’ through them. I am aware of marketing strategy called FREEMIUM and how you can start using a service or product for free. Such services have
I am aware of marketing strategy called FREEMIUM and how you can start using a service or product for free. Such services have trial period and other ways through which the platform owner can advertise premium services to you. But when you know that the offer being presented to you is too good to be free, be sincere with yourself. Do not use your card details for verification.
Keep your anti-virus up to date
Ensure you have effective and updated anti-virus/anti-spyware software and firewall running before you go online. Make sure your OS firewall is always turned on as well to avoid giving undue permission to strangers to access your files.
Turning your OS firewall off is not recommended. Some applications will force you to turn it off before you can run them. Verify the source of such file or application before you let down your guard for such to run on your system.
When using shared system, be vigilant
Always clear your browsing history and cookies, especially if you use a shared system. Enough information to do you a lot of harm can be recovered from the browsing history of your web browsers
Ensure to properly log out when you make use of your card details. Merely closing the browser doesn’t mean you are logged out. After using your card to pay, be sure you are successfully logged out before closing the web browser.
Be careful with public Wi-fi
Avoid using your card details when on a wireless internet service (Wi-Fi) in public. You can’t be very sure that the network is secure. Even if you have been given a password to use, the risk is still high.
Limit your card spending power
You could set spending limit on your card. Limiting your card makes you cautious with your spending. Also, if your card is by accident exposed, fraudsters cannot spend beyond the amount you have set before you get transaction alert.
This is quite possible especially if you have more than one bank account. You could attach your card to a particular account and always move how much you need to spend online to the account linked to the card.
Having your card linked to a particular bank account and sticking with that spending pattern helps you to quickly notice strange transactions. Reporting early to the bank or payment processor could help block the fund and stop the transaction.
Risk in Recurrent payment
Be careful with websites that retain your card details for recurrent transactions. This is quite convenient, but what if the platform where payment details is deposited gets hacked?
There are standards in the payment processing industry that will certify that a platform’s security system is strong enough to warehouse users’ card details, but security updates come in like a thief in the night.
If such site or platform does not stay updated, it could be hacked.
A platform that stores sensitive details is prone to frequent attempts by hackers. Some hackers want to break into your system just to embarrass you while some want the platform’s customers’ details for their selfish use.
Is my card pin compulsory for online payment?
Regular card payment requires the following: CardHolder’s name, Card Numb, Expiry Date, CVV.
When you are asked to confirm your address, delivery is probably involved and the platform wants to ensure that the billing address tallies with the shipping address. Some merchants may insist that both addresses have to be the same, while some will ask you to explain the rationale behind the difference in the addresses before shipping is done.
When your card pin is being asked for, please make sure you ask the site owner for due explanation for why you have to provide your card pin. There is no harm in asking. In Nigeria, when using your Mastercard on Interswitch platform, you will be required to provide your pin. When the situation is different and your card pin is being requested for, don’t assume it is normal Please ask questions.
As an extra layer of security, always have a payment processing account to protect your card details. VoguePay has both personal and business accounts which you can fund and use to make payment.
More businesses are listing VoguePay as a payment option.
Watch out for merchants that list the payment processor you have account with. It is a smart way of making payment without having to provide your card details all the time.
The ease, convenience and security you get by paying through a user-friendly, secure payment processor weighs more and more than the little charges you will pay.