In LIFESTYLE

Virtual Reality

I hate crowds and as much as I like shopping, I hate to go out and join the crowds at shopping malls, and with Singapore’s open policy of attracting foreigners, I am even more reluctant to go out given the high volume of shoppers in the malls.

Without a doubt, Mark was the first in the family to try online shopping. He shopped for his computer parts and car parts from US and Japan (I presume). I was quite amazed by how fast the deliveries were and that the goods were kept in good condition by the courier service. After observing a few more purchases made online by Mark, I tried online shopping myself and soon enough, I was addicted to online shopping.

Online shopping UNLIKE retail shopping, you can do it anytime and anywhere virtually and as long as you have the internet access. The shops online do not close their doors at 10pm and like Mustafa, they open for 24-hours, 7 days a week. I have shopped at G-Market, Zalora.sg, NTUC Fairprice, Kinokuniya, just to name a few. The more I shopped online, the more addicted I became. There was no crowd and it was just me in my air-conditioned study room browsing through the captivating online stores. (But for my own clothes, I still prefer to buy at the retail stores because I like a good fit.) The demerit of shopping online that I am going to discuss here about shopping on line is that you certainly have a higher chance that someone could steal your credit card information and make unauthorized transactions on the credit card which constitutes to theft and increased crime rate.

Last night at 2.26AM, I was astounded to receive a MasterCard Securecode message on my Iphone. It was shocking because I did not charge anything to my credit card for the whole day. After I saw the message, I immediately called DBS Call Centre because I knew something was wrong. I understood from the Call Centre that the perpetrators have been trying to use the credit card for a while and have managed to charge about US$266.00 in total to my credit card before fraud alerts to the Bank prompted them to block my card. The Call Centre also informed me that they have assisted to raise the credit card fraud issue on my credit card account to their Fraud Team so that an investigation can be launched on the fraudulent transactions which have been charged to my DBS Credit Card.

Dismayed and disturbed, I woke Mark up and told him about the issue. Of course, he was upset because he had warned me time and again about privacy issues online and had repeatedly reminded me to shop only on trustworthy websites like Amazon or Barneys. Shopping online like I have said before opens you up to a higher chance of credit card fraud which is one of the simplest form of identity theft. When you shop online, you will have to enter your credit card number, credit card expiry date and Card Verification Value (CVV) for Visa Card or Card Validation Code (CVC) for Mastercard. This code is a three or four-digit security code printed on the back of your credit card and the number usually appears at the end of the signature panel.

It was very distressing for me the whole night and I didn’t manage to go to sleep until 4AM. I was thinking about how exposed I am publicly because I have posted personal information of myself when I launched my blog and setup my social networking accounts. Well, I can only say that the World-Wide Web is a double-edged sword. It works amazingly well for people who want to advertise online for their companies, sourcing for materials, searching websites for information or simply surf for the fun of it and just connecting with friend in virtual space. However, there are also online predators in the virtual word to commit crimes like theft and other serious crimes which I do not want to mention  or go into detail on this post.

In conclusion, I am happy that credit card companies have worked hard to put in place extra security features like the Mastercard Securecode for online shoppers. If my Mastercard securecode was not activated last night, I believe the perpetrators could have charged more to my credit card and alerts would not have been sent to DBS Bank to block my credit card. Therefore, I have a few tips for shoppers online. Firstly, use only one credit card for online shopping and make sure that the credit card has extra security features like the Mastercard Securecode. Remember to shop at reputed websites so that you know you are purchasing from an honest merchant and not from one with a dubious background trying to skim information from your credit card and use it for fraudulent purposes. To be extra careful, you can always call the Credit Card Call Centre after the online transaction has been made to make sure that the amount charged to the credit card online tallied with the amount which you have purchased online. I am still addicted to online shopping and it works for me. Identity theft can happen anywhere, so please be extra careful when you submit your credit information and financial information to a third party. Kindly check their credentials before submission to prevent any imminent theft identity.

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