As an internet user, you’ve undoubtedly completed online forms at one point or another.

Website owners continuously strive to enhance their site’s User Experience (UX). Of course, one way they do that is via collecting data from their users. They put that data to work by segmenting customers for targeted marketing and drafting customized offers that will best meet the clients’ needs.

Furthermore, they collect data for processing payments to complete transactions. After receiving payment data, they might also send you a survey to confirm your satisfaction with your purchase or ask for additional feedback.

Being the good sport that you are, you go along with all of this. You subscribe to newsletters, so you don’t miss the hottest, newest offerings. And you whip out your credit card and pay online without a second thought.

The truth is, as we dive deeper into e-commerce and online transactions, we fall in love with the convenience of handling our business in just a few quick keystrokes. But with that desire for ease comes a new pitfall–complacency.

Some internet users become so accustomed to filling out online forms that they become complacent about looking for red flags that could indicate the dangers of form insecurity.

What Online Forms Present the Most Significant Risks?

Hackers and data thieves will take any information that you offer them. However, the most vulnerable forms they crave are those that surround credit cards. Because it’s lucrative business for them.

Form titles that catch their particular interest include:

If you’re a consumer, be extra careful when conducting these transactions online via web forms.

However, if you are a business owner reading this, be sure you are using a PCI-certified credit card authorization form. Remember that you hold legal responsibility for the safety of data on your website!

What is form insecurity?

Just as data insecurity refers to an inherent loophole that causes data leaks, form insecurity drills down to a similar leakage. This data breach stems from web forms lacking in proper security measures.

Filling out forms which aren’t buffed up by secure protocols endanger both consumers and business owners by exposing data. Once a hacker holds that information in his (or her) greedy fingers, he can use it to sell on the dark web or wreak financial ruin on the internet user.

In short, form insecurity is the polar opposite of form security.

Red Flags to Notice Before You Submit Online Forms

Now that you know about form insecurity, how do you avoid it? By avoiding red flags that could indicate danger for your data privacy.

1 - You followed an email link

First, avoid filling in form links that arrive in your email. Scammers will often create elaborate phishing scams.

They send out emails that appear to be from a reputable company with whom you do business. For example, they might claim to be a well-known credit card company claiming that you are pre-approved for an account.

As you read the offer’s landing page, it appears to have the bank’s name and logo. They ask you to confirm your details so they can mail out your card. But, you notice many misspelled words, typos, or strings of words that lack a cohesive flow. Those are red flags!

Make sure you are on the “real” website, not a temporary landing page. In our example, call that bank card company to inquire if they pre-approved you for credit before you complete this credit card application form.

2 - Check for https:// protocol

Many people know that they should not make credit card payments on websites that lack the https:// protocol. This designation means the site has an SSL certificate, and your data will transfer safely from browser to server.

However, some users don’t give a second thought to completing less invasive forms, such as an opt-in to receive a blog’s daily updates.

Remember that data thieves use every bit of data they can collect.

Visualize every piece of your personally identifiable information as a grain of sand. The hackers will collect every bit they can until they can fill an entire bucket! The more information you share online, the faster they are able to piece together all of your information and use it against you.

3 - Look for the lock icon

In addition to looking for https://, look for the lock icon to the left. But, don’t just peek at it. Click the lock to reveal the site information. You will see additional information about the business and be better able to decide if you wish to move forward. Many users express surprise when they learn you can click the lock to learn more.

Thus, you see that all the information hidden behind the lock icon confirms that EmailMeForm is an excellent form company. Now, you feel comfortable completing the card authorization form to subscribe.

4 - Check the website’s Privacy Policy

Legitimate business owners will publish a Privacy Policy. The Privacy Policy is a statement that tells you:

This policy is critical for you to know, especially for making credit card payments.

However, if a website does not offer a written Privacy Policy, move on to another vendor. While this is an often-overlooked (and admittedly very dull) part of a website, it’s nevertheless a critical component of a legit business.

Business owner? Eliminate These Red Flags with EmailMeForm

If you are a business owner and also a consumer, consider EmailMeForm as your form builder. Our company is a PCI-certified. This certification ensures that we meet or exceed the high standards of the Payment Card Industry (and we proved it during an audit).

Our secure form builder is simple to use and includes security features like reCAPTCHA, email masking, and the ability to limit form entries.

But more importantly, the EmailMeForm Vault ups your data security game. We offer you the safest place online to store your customer credit card data, along with all their other information. Vault requires multi-factor authentication to stop hackers in their tracks.

Choosing EmailMeForm is your means of ending data insecurity once and for all.

PCI_certified secure forms cta

Author Deborah Tayloe

Deborah Tayloe

Deborah is a blogger and freelancer who often writes for EmailMeForm. When she’s not blogging, you’ll probably find Deborah working on DIY projects around her home in North Carolina.

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