Many online vendors require that consumers pay with a credit or debit card, but if the personal data falls into the wrong hands, it can mean credit card debt for the victim. The San Fransisco Chronicle says that one of the safest ways to shop online is by using an account through an intermediary service, such as PayPal or Google Checkout.
These services allow consumers to link credit or debit cards to the account for secure shopping. Most of them are free and only require an email address, a user name and a password. While it may take a few days for transactions to complete and bank accounts to fully become linked, it’s worth keeping personal information safe.
The Chronicle reminds consumers that while there are precautionary steps that can be taken to avoid data theft and credit card debt, it will always come down to how the merchant wants you to pay. Not all businesses accept payments through intermediary services. Consumers are advised to read through all terms and conditions prior to confirming a purchase to make sure their personal information isn’t in danger of being stolen.