There are many ways to protect your computer when you are online (which is almost constantly these days), some are more simple than others. One important way to protect yourself is by securing your financial data online. Securing your financial information is not difficult once you get in the habit of doing so. Here is one tip for a service offered by many major credit card issuers:
Choose a credit card which provides one time only card numbers.
One time credit card numbers work this way. Let’s say that you see something that you really like online, you want to buy it, but there’s just something you don’t quite trust about the vendor. This may be a response to recent security stories, previous bad experiences, using a new vendor for the first time, anything at all. First and most importantly, trust your instincts.
With a one time only credit card number, your bank issues you a new temporary card number for which you set the spending limit and expiration date. You can do this in another browser tab at the card issuer’s site once you have made a purchasing decision, or even use another installed browser for additional security; there’s no need to make a call to the card issuer’s toll free number and wait for a temporary card number. Now you have a credit card number to complete your purchase which is different from your normal card number, has a precise spending limit (round off to the closest dollar amount allowed over the amount of what you are buying), and an expiration date some time in the next 30 or 60 days.
If your instincts are correct and the vendor turns out to be untrustworthy, you have limited exposure. You may make the argument that you would have limited exposure in any case with a credit card purchase, and while that may be technically true, there is a lot less clean up and hassle using a one time credit card number. Worst case, you won’t have to do anything at all. The one time credit card number expires and is limited in its spending limit in the first place, leaving an unscrupulous vendor with useless credit card information.