The coronavirus (COVID–19) pandemic has seen a surge in demand for contactless, digital payment as a way to limit in–person transactions. If you decide to pay your healthcare (or other) bill online, be sure you are doing so securely.
Follow these steps to reduce the risk of criminals stealing your sensitive information.
Sign up for services securely
- Choose a strong password. Make it unique to each account — the longer it is, the better. It's best to be impersonal and not use your name, the names of family members or pets. Don't use numbers like your address, phone number or birthdays, either. These can be publicly available and therefore easily accessible to hackers.
- Choose MFA. If multi–factor or two–factor authentication is offered, use it. It usually involves receiving a text with a secure code before you can log in to a website, and that extra step can keep you from being hacked.
- Don't click "remember me." When you sign up for a service and allow it to remember your login information, the browser on that computer will autofill your login information the next time anyone signs in to the same service. Although you should never use this function on a public or shared computer, even using it on your private device can put you at risk if that device is lost or stolen.
When making a payment
- Don't use public Wi–Fi. Connecting to public Wi–Fi puts you at risk to criminals who often create fake Wi–Fi networks that sound like the name of the coffee shop or airport you are at. Public Wi–Fi hotspots are an easy pathway for criminals to redirect traffic to malicious sites or deliver malware to your device.
- Don't use a public computer. It's possible for criminals to install key–logging software that can steal your credit card numbers, passwords and other sensitive information, so try to avoid using a public computer if possible.
- Don't click unknown pop–ups. When you visit a website, it will often have advertisements on the side of the screen. Some websites also have pop–up advertisements. Make sure you pay close attention and don't inadvertently click something you didn't mean to.
Following these steps can help safeguard your information and protect your data.