Our advice to secure your purchases on the Internet

In France, in 2023, more than 41 million people made at least one purchase online. About 17 million have made it from their smartphone. France has approximately 46 million Internet users. Even if the share of people who have dared to buy on the Internet is significant, we note that nearly 5 million of our compatriots have never made their purchases on the Web.

credit card hacking

The most popular fear is having your credit card hacked. In reality, it is not by entering your bank details that you risk theft or hacking. 90% of the thefts of bank identifiers occur by directly hacking the website, but this really concerns between 30 and 40% of the sites and the attacks do not necessarily lead to success.

So our first piece of advice is going to be to not let the website store your bank details. Make sure that no “Save my card” box is checked or if the merchant site offers it, do not answer “yes”. Prefer manual entry for each purchase with confirmation from your banking application for more security.

The site displays a padlock or HTTPS

Let’s immediately condemn a received idea: NO , the display of the padlock and the HTTPS symbol does not guarantee infallible security. A website can display a padlock without being reliable. Likewise, a reliable site can display the HTTPS symbol and be hacked by more modern techniques.

The advice we can give you is not to blindly trust when these elements appear. Be careful though.

Enable two-factor authentication

Double authentication is a technique that makes it possible to associate a connection with a second means of verifying that this connection has really been requested. For example, you enter your usual password on the site and you receive a code by SMS to enter on the site. Or a link via email. Or even an unlock to perform on your smartphone.

Opt for a complex password

In general and regardless of the website, a good password will slow down a good number of acts of piracy. The final recommendations are:

  • 12 characters minimum
  • letters
  • Figures
  • Uppercase
  • Lowercase
  • Special characters

Activate your bank’s advanced security means

Your bank necessarily offers an advanced security system. This may be called SecuriPass at Crédit Agricole , Secur’Pass at Caisse d’Epargne and Banque Populaire or Confirmation Mobile at CIC/Crédit Mutuel .

This is a two-factor means of control. The act of purchase can only be validated if the user performs an action on his smartphone or the banking application.

Compare prices

There are many price comparators on the Internet. They allow you to do good business on many sites, sometimes unknown to the general public. However, keep in mind that buying from second-rate sites is an additional risk. The site itself may not be sufficiently secure, display “pseudo-bargains” or have a complex after-sales service.

This is why we advise you to be careful when using comparators. This does not mean that they should run away, but you have to use the best known ones, bearing in mind that many are in fact paid partnerships and that they highlight those who pay them a good commission.

The celebrity of the site

An important point, which explains why only a few merchant sites stand out, is the “celebrity” of the e-commerce site, in other words its “authority”. The more a site is known to the general public, the more it displays high levels of security. Not infallible but elevated.

If you want to buy on a website that you do not know, you just have to look at the bottom of the page for a link “Legal notices” and “General conditions of sale” (compulsory on merchant sites). In these pages, you will find the head office, the SIRET number, the name of the person in charge… Enough to cross-check information with official sites and prove the relevance of the merchant.

Secure payments

Did you know that there are other ways to pay, other than by bank card, which avoid you having to communicate your card details and offer you additional services?

We are not talking about virtual currencies such as Bitcoin. These are often solutions offered by banks such as the e-Carte Bleue.

The e-Carte Bleue , for example, is a system offered by the banking giant Visa. It is a virtual bank card which prevents communicating its real coordinates. The service generates a unique number of a “virtual” bank card which allows you to make only one purchase for a defined amount.

With this system, there are no unpleasant surprises. The piracy rate is extremely low, dropping from 65% (classic CB) to 0.07% (e-Carte Bleue).

We could also mention Paypal , which plays the role of intermediary between the merchant site and your bank or Paylib which avoids an intermediary but secures transactions with single payments without disclosing information.

The tempting offers

In many cases, tempting offers hide surprises. Good or bad, they can be an opportunity to subscribe to a regular paid service, to a newsletter or simply not to receive the coveted product.

Here, it will be necessary to monitor the platforms on which the offer is offered. It can be a scam when the proposal is really too interesting. Beware or go through sites specializing in good deals like Dealabs .

The opinions

On the Internet it is customary to check opinions on everything. Whether it is a product or even the notoriety of the site. Well, when you buy, it’s the same. You can do a quick search to find reviews on a website.

The ideal being that there are not 100% positive opinions (it smells like a scam), but a rating between 4 and 4.5 (out of 5) is already a very good reputation.

In this area, sites like TrustPilot , Google My Business or even the Yellow Pages are excellent indicators.

Securing your equipment

Overall, if the website is not targeted, it is the user himself. What better than to target the device with which it connects to steal information from it.

Common sense is obvious, and the user will need to install and update their anti-virus, browser, and operating system, at a minimum.

Connections to the websites on which he buys must be protected with a strong password (12 characters, mixture of letters, numbers, special characters and upper/lower case) and double authentication (a one-time code or an action to be performed on another device).

Public Wi-Fi networks

When you connect from a third place such as a café, a McDo, a hotel or the Wi-Fi network of a public garden, it is strongly recommended not to make purchases or perform sensitive acts. Only peaceful internet surfing is recommended. On these networks, security is not guaranteed and the means of verifying it are too complex.

Our advice is therefore not to connect to merchant sites when you are on this kind of “open” network.

The new regulations

The law adapts as consumers’ buying habits change. 15 obligations now regulate the activity of e-commerce sites against 6 so far.

Among these new rules, several better protect consumers. You still have to know that they exist!

  • Guarantee of conformity and hidden defects
  • Guarantee and termination conditions
  • Previous prices (in case of promotion)
  • Method of payment and delivery
  • Withdrawal form

One of these last points is interesting. This is the withdrawal form, now compulsorily displayed and which allows you to exercise your right of withdrawal, that is to say the obligation for the seller to reimburse you for goods or services ordered. This right can be exercised within 14 days of receipt of your goods.

In conclusion

Depending on your buyer profile, keep in mind that it is better to think twice before ordering an item. Weigh the pros and cons and the nature of the site carefully. Is he known? Has it been selling for several years? When was it created? Can I find the same item near me? Are the security and guarantees offered by the site convincing? Does it have positive reviews?

To be accompanied during your first purchase on the Internet, the best thing is to contact a professional from the Mon Assistant Numérique network who will guide you and explain the risks involved.


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