There are three basic areas you should be careful about while shopping online: (a) Is the online mall you are visiting a legitimate one?
(b) Is the redirected Credit Card password page valid? (c) Is the web browser being used working properly post payment?
With so many companies going online to sell their product, it's very difficult to keep pace and track with which website can or cannot be trusted. This doubt comes simply because the only time we see a representative of that company is at the time of the delivery of the purchased product at our homes. In order to beat the fake, I would suggest the simplest way: Get a licensed copy of a good antivirus. This actually sorts out 95% of the worries. Now you might ask, how is that possible? Well, these days online legitimacy is closely monitored and a good anti-virus such as Kaspersky, Avast, AVG, etc gives a green signal to all legitimate websites searched on any search engine. Like, I use a licensed copy of Kaspersky Internet Security 2012, it gives me a four bar status (like the network status on our mobilephone), confirming that the website is safe as per their verified database. The second way of verifying is to check if the website has a Verisign, eTRUST, GEOtrust etc logo on them or not. These companies that are dedicated to make the internet safe. Legitimate websites need to buy the certificate logo from them to be put up in their websites and in turn they do an in-depth check of the hosted website, giving shoppers like you the peace of mind. To top this, websites that have been verified by these security experts give us the signal in three more ways which are easily identified: (1) The website address or URL starts of with https:// (2) The address bar in general turns green (3) There is a pad-lock symbol that comes up, marking it as safe. These three indicators mean that the IP address with which you are online has been identified with the store server and a secure encrypted gateway has been created for you to shop.
Credit Card Page:
Once you add your purchase to the card and you are redirected to the Credit Card payment page is when you need to be extremely cautious. Once you are redirected to the payment page, where you enter your card details, make sure you know that it is your bank's page. Reason why I stress on this is, because though the gateway has been created for the shop to be safe it is possible that your bank webpage may have been hacked, and since this is the only time you are exposed over the internet out of the secure connection, the hackers play with this the most. So few pointers to be noted before you put in your card's most sensitive details: (1) check for the https:// (SSL connection) and the pad lock symbol in the browser, (2) Locate your bank logo and look for the Mastercard/VISA logo as well, this comes depending upon the card that you hold, (3) Try to identify the look and feel of the page if have visited it before look for anything which is out of ordinary, and (4) In general the page has a time out mechanism within which, if a payment is not made, the gateway closes, if you want to wait for 10 mins to check that, go ahead!! If all seems satisfactory, put in the password to go ahead and complete your purchase.
Post Payment Checks:
After the payment is made (during payment the session is made secure by your bank) you'll get redirected to the Merchant page, where your security is again taken over by them. But during this transition you might see a notification that says "Do not press backspace or refresh the page". I would say that it is mandatory to follow this. If you don't, the security transfer might break and can result in a failed transaction, and even though you would have paid for your item, the purchase wouldn't have been completed. If you are redirected back to a page which says that your item is in the logistics department, getting ready to be shipped to you, you have successfully completed your transaction.
With that I hope one can get a good idea of what are the Do's/Don't needed for shopping with the Credit Card online. So go ahead, holiday season is in, get yourself and your family the gifts that matter. I, in the meanwhile, shall await Boxing Day!