A warning about making payments online

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - With all the recent breaches of personal information, including credit cards, is there a safe way to make purchases online?  You might be a little hesitant these days to hand over your personal information, including bank accounts and credit cards but not sure what other options you have.

WBTV's cyber expert, Theresa Payton, talks about your options for savvy shopping and protected purchasing.

Theresa has offered 7 tips on how to protect yourself and have fun making purchases or paying back your family and friends online.


  1. Have a credit card for online purchases and keep the limit low.  Set up text and email alerts to let you know every time a charge is made to that card.
  2. Do not click on links if you ever get an email that says there has been a "problem with your payment", these are typically scams.
  3. Consider a pre-paid card or a payment service such as PayPal as an alternative.
  4. A newer trend out there, you can use "single use" or special use credit cards for purchases.  American Express and Discover both offer programs you can try.
  5. Keep your antivirus, operating system, and browser software up to date.
  6. Never make purchases from a public computer or on free Wi-fi.
  7. Make sure your online accounts, including PayPal, have a unique username and password.  Do not use the same password on your online accounts that you do on your debit card or bank account.

Shopping online should be convenient and fun and if you follow these tips, hopefully you can keep the cybercreeps out of your digital wallet!  Theresa also recommends that you shop at trusted sites or research your merchant via the Better Business Bureau.  She also cautions that you treat your payment accounts online, like PayPal, Google or Amazon, as if those services have the keys to your bank safe.    Even though there is a layer between you and your credit card with these services, be alert and careful.

There are many options you can use to process payments to friends, families, and merchants online.  We have listed just three of the many sites that you can choose from to set up payments.

Google Checkout:


Amazon Checkout Service:



Now, for our word of the week, it is:

FOODTOGRAPHY:  Have you been on Facebook and seen a picture of a dessert or an artfully arranged plate of food but no people in the photo?  Well, then you have experienced our word of the week.  It refers to the new trend of all your friends and family posting pictures of their meals on the internet.  According to Mashable, at least once a month more than 50% of people take pictures of their food on their mobile phones to share immediately or later.  There are even FOODTOGRAPHY Facebook pages and photo sharing groups on sites like FLICKR to celebrate all the interesting varieties of dishes.