The ICT Lounge
Section 8.10:
The dangers of using a credit card online

Credit cards are commonly used to buy products online. While this is convenient, there are certain dangers involved.

This section discusses some of the dangers associated with entering your credit card details into websites and what we can do to avoid these dangers.

Key Concepts of this section:
Understand why it can be dangerous to use a credit card online.
Know how online fraudsters can steal your credit card details.
Be able to describe how to prevent your credit card details being stolen.

Buying products online
Key Words:
E-commerce, Credit Card, Fraud, Secure
Many goods and services are purchased over the internet.

Millions of people use websites such as Amazon, Ebay and Walmart every day in order to buy a huge variety of products.

Credit cards can be used to purchases goods and services online. This is known as E-commerce.
Online criminals look for ways to steal your credit card details and use them for fraudulent purposes.
A key logger is a kind of virus that infects a computer collects and sends every key press back to a hacker.
Fraudsters will use phishing, pharming or smishing to try and trick you into giving up your credit card details.
Make sure websites are secure and that the address starts with htts:// and there is an image of a padlock.
Never tell anyone your credit card details.
Never write your credit card details down.
The costs of credit card fraud

Forbes predict that credit card fraud costs about $190 billion a year.

Click here for more information.

Websites that allow you to purchase products are known as 'E-commerce' sites.

In order to make these purchases online, you need to use a credit card.

Why is it dangerous to use my credit card online?
Your credit card details are very attractive to hackers, fraudsters and cyber criminals.

If cyber criminals obtain your credit card details, they could use that information for a wide-range of fraudulent purposes such as:
  • Withdrawing your cash
  • Making purchases online using your money
  • Applying for (and using) more credit cards in your name.

How can cyber criminals obtain my credit card details?
There are many ways that internet fraudsters can get their hands on your credit card details.

The table below explains some of these ways:

Key logging software
Key loggers are software that is secretly installed onto your system and then 'logs' every key press that you make.

The key press log is sent back to the fraudster who can then look through it for your credit card numbers and security codes etc.

The fraudster can then use your credit card information.

Hacking into e-commerce websites
Hackers have been known to break into website databases and steal customer information.

This information would include credit card details.

Ebay was once hacked into and millions of people had their information stolen. Read about this here.

Fraudsters often send out emails in order to trick you into giving up your credit card details.

This topic was covered in more detail in section 8.5.

Setting up bogus websites (pharming)
Fraudsters also set up fake websites that look just like the real thing. This is known as 'Pharming'.

They are hoping that you enter your credit card details into the fake site so that they can steal and use them.

This topic was covered in more detail in section 8.5.

How can you prevent your credit card details being stolen?
The best ways to help prevent your credit card details being stolen and used are described in the table below:

Ways to prevent credit card fraud online:
Don't enter credit card details into websites unless the site is secure and uses secure socket layer (SSL).

(Web address should start with https:// and there should be an icon of a padlock)
Don't enter credit card details into websites that you have accessed through an email link.

(There is a chance that the website is bogus and has been created for pharming purposes)
Don't tell anyone your credit card details.
Don't write your credit card details down.
Don't enter credit card details when someone is looking over your shoulder.

(They might look at and remember your credit card number)
If you lose your credit card, contact your bank and cancel the card.

Some videos:
Here are some links to videos that contain more information about using credit cards online safely:



Click the above task and answer the questions about using credit cards online.


Please add your questions/comments below:

Links to Theory Units:
Links to Practical Units:
Section 11: File Management
Section 12: Images
Section 13: layout
Section 14: Styles
Section 15: Proofing
Section 16: Graphs and Charts
Section 17: Document Production
Section 18: Data Manipulation
Section 19: Presentations
Section 20: Data Analysis
Section 21: Website Authoring