How to protect yourself from wireless payment thefts
Wireless payments have been on the rise for quite a while now. It offers vendors and consumers more freedom and flexibility, and makes shopping even more convenient. Nowadays, you don’t even have to put in your pin number anymore when you’re paying by card or even via smartphone. Where this payment method is available, it’ll be indicated by the contactless payment symbol near the card reader at the check-out. But how does this technology work and how safe is it?
What is NFC?
NFC (Near Field Communication) is another one of those acronyms, which has found its way into our everyday lives. It makes tap-and-go services such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet possible. Essentially, NFC enables a wireless data transfer between two devices which are equipped with NFC chips. If you put two such devices very close to one another, then one chip will activate the other to start the transfer without the need of an internet connection.
The dangers of wireless payments
While wireless payment has made commerce more efficient and easier, it also isn’t without the dangers. Douglas Crawford, cyber security expert at BestVPN, explains that with cashless payments every purchase you make can and will be logged and tracked. Your bank and anyone else looking (such your government or criminal hackers) can build up a very detailed and intimate picture of what you like to eat, your hobbies, where you like to spend your leisure time, and much more. There’s also the concern of personal data such as bank details and passwords being stolen. So what can you do to protect yourself from criminal activities?
Protect your data
Often overlooked, especially with phones, there are various methods that can be used to mitigate, and even stop data theft.
Use a VPN: Encrypt and anonymise all your internet activities with the use of a VPN (Virtual Private Network). This means that people won’t be able to steal your sensitive data even if you’re using a public network.
Lock your phone: If your phone happens to get stolen, then there isn’t much stopping a criminal from using it at the check-out. That’s why it’s imperative that you take adequate precautions. Your phone should be password or fingerprint protected.
Separate accounts: Rather than physically stealing your wallet, it might be possible for a criminal to steal your data by simply bumping into you and initiating a data transfer with your phone. Consider opening a separate account for NFC-payments. That way your main account will stay safe.
Anti-virus programme: Detect malware before it can do any damage by protecting your device with a reputable anti-virus programme.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, but it’s still highly possible, that something untoward can happen. There are certain steps that can be taken to mitigate the problem.
Fast, efficient and flexible wireless payments have made our lives a little bit easier. But in order to avoid any data theft, it’s best to properly protect your personal information.