Online without fear: here’s how to protect purchases and credit cards

The growth of e-commerce and e-banking has multiplied cyber attacks and fraud. But you can defend yourself: with a little digital culture and choosing well.

It is no longer a remote risk or a rare eventuality. Because we all know someone who has happened. Unless it happened to us. The cloned credit card, the punctured online account, the hackers who sneak into our finances and try to get their hands on it. Stories of real life, at the time of money that dematerializes and of the bank that is managed via the internet. Criminals move to where the money goes. And also in 2015 cybercrime grew by 30 percent compared to the previous year, as noted in the Clusit report – the Italian Association for Information Security – just presented at the Security Summit in Milan. The good news is that you can survive unscathed from emerging dangers. And basically it can be done by following a few practical rules.


«The first rule is to choose financial services that offer notification via text message or email of every transaction that is made. So that we can immediately block those we have not authorized ». To say it is Claudio Telmon, one of the leading experts of Clusit. He then continues: «The other great rule concerns e-commerce: always check the reputation of the site from which you buy. Even at the cost of spending a little more, it is better to choose a well-known and reliable platform. Then there are the basic rules of cyber security. They are simple and by now many know them, but few really implement them. Protect all devices – including smartphones – with an antivirus, do not open suspicious emails and even less suspicious attachments, choose advanced passwords and special characters.


According to Netcomm data, in 2015 the number of Italians who make at least one online purchase every three months rose to over 17 million. But our country was very late on e-commerce, precisely because of the lack of confidence in security. So here, more than anywhere else, the use of e-wallets is very high: all digital wallets like PayPal, to be recharged with your bank account or credit card and to be used every time you make a purchase. «Our great advice – explains Angelo Meregalli, general manager of PayPal Italy – can only be this: do not use your credit card directly online, but associate it with a PayPal account. More generally, it is true: it is essential to opt for a payment instrument that offers real-time notifications of transactions ».

Of course, if an alarm bell rings, you also need to know what to do. In the face of a fraud, there is only one parachute: immediately contact the person who gave us the credit card or online account. And immediately block both the transaction and the card. «On this too – says Meregalli – the choice of service makes the difference. It is a front on which PayPal is committed a lot, and provides users with a 100% Italian call center, with trained and experienced people ».


In Italy there is also the use of e-banking: according to Nielsen data, there are now almost 10 million Italians who carry out transactions via the internet or check the bank balance online. Often even from a mobile phone. One more reason to pay attention to the safety of our devices. All. “We need to raise the bar of protection, but also avoid alarmism,” says Gianluca Martinuz, head of IT security and fraud management at FinecoBank. «We advise the user to adapt the services and options to his needs. For example, by setting geographical or amount limits on the use of the card online. Or using a card for direct payments and a different one for e-commerce. On our part, however, there is an effort to keep the level of usability of the card high, without imposing cumbersome safety solutions on the user. For this reason, since the beginning of 2016 we have been investing a lot of energy on an advanced transaction monitoring program, which allows us to automatically identify transactions that are not in line with the customer profile. When this happens, we notify the user and check that everything is ok ».


At the base of everything, however, true security remains a fact of digital culture. Nothing is more important than being able to distinguish a potentially malicious email from a normal one. And here too: there are not many things to know. «The most important – says Morten Lehn, director of Kasperky Lab Italia – is that no bank or financial institution will ever ask us to write clear data such as the pin code or the cvv2 code, the one written on the back of the credit card. Therefore any email, text message or chat in which we are asked to indicate this sensitive information should be considered an attempt at fraud. As for antivirus, today it is the basis of more complex and integrated systems. The tools we offer are increasingly varied,


by Abdullah Sam
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