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Feature Story

Outsmart Cybercriminals

When Shopping Online

Protect Yourself With a Virtual Credit Card

A virtual credit card is a number you can use for a one-time purchase online. You can deter-

mine an upper limit for purchase price, as well as an expiration date (as soon as the same

day). Say you want to make a purchase with a specialized vendor with an iffy reputation. Your

credit card issuer gives you a temporary number, and you authorize it for $50 for today only.

Then you make that one purchase. You don’t have to worry about your information being

sold or stolen because the number won’t work for additional purchases.

Which Loyalty

Programs areWorth It?

Some retailers offer lackluster rewards

that don’t prompt you to shop there

more often or choose the store over

a similar one. However, here are some

loyalty programs that will make it

worth your while to keep coming back:

Target REDcard.

Get five percent off

in-store and online purchases.

Sephora Beauty Insider Program.

Reward your beauty addiction with

points that can be redeemed for prod-

ucts as well as exclusive discounts.

CVS Rewards.

Get coupons and cash

back to spend on future purchases.

Best Buy Reward Zone.

Earn points,

receive exclusive offers, and get access

to special events.

Bloomingdale’s Loyalist Program.

Get points for purchases and use

them to get gift cards later on.

JCPenney’s JCP Rewards.

Get a

$10 reward when you spend $100

in a month.

DSW Rewards.

Receive free shipping

on most online orders, plus periodic

reward certificates.

Nordstrom Fashion Rewards.


to earn points; redeem points for

reward certificates.


nline shopping can be a whole lot of

fun, but it can also present security

threats. Every time you use your credit

card or provide personal information,

you’re trusting that such data will be

used responsibly. Given that this is not

always the case, you should always take

appropriate precautions including the

suggestions listed here.

Know the site.

Try to stick with

well-known shopping sites with good rep-

utations. If you want to make a purchase

elsewhere, first do research to find out

other shoppers’ reactions to the retailer.

Protect your information.


what information is asked for in the

checkout process. Don’t provide any

information you don’t need to, and if

you think any required information is

unnecessary, cancel your purchase.

Use credit cards.

Debit cards are

convenient, but credit cards offer the

added protection of the credit card

company intervening on your behalf if

a purchase goes wrong.

Understand the return policy.


retailers will gladly take returns. If the one

you’re using doesn’t, you could end up

wasting money on items you don’t want.

Refrain frompurchasing in public.

Conducting any type of business while

using public Wi-Fi is unwise since scam-

mers might be able to intercept your data.