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How secure is it to email credit card info

There are often suggestions about emailing your credit card numbers, passport information, and other important data to yourself so you can access it while traveling. How safe is that, especially during transmission? What shouldn't you include?

Posted by
3313 posts

E-mailing to yourself should be safe. If you want extra security, break the critical numbers (credit cards, passport) into two separate e-mails.

Most importantly, when you use computers in Europe, log out. I used the hotel computer in Paris to find the previous guest's Schwab account still up.

Posted by
23110 posts

This is an old question. The TRANSMISSION of any data is absolutely secure, You forget who invented the internet and way. What happens to the information at the end depends on who gets it. But the security is the same whether sent via email, fax, or over a phone. However, if you send sensitive to yourself via email and open it using a public computer, internet cafe, etc., you have absolutely NO assurances of security. Therefore, any sensitive informations sent to yourself must be encoded, There are many substitution codes if done right are nearly unbreakable. I can give you one if you like.

Posted by
225 posts

Whoa there. Email is inherently insecure unless you are using a specific security coding system which encodes your email on one end and allows your recipient to decode it on the other. Your basic Yahoo email is NOT secure in any way. Emailing CC numbers this way should be a last resort. Fax, telephone, or online SECURE transmission is far better.

In terms of copies of your passport, itinerary, etc., that should be OK as there is really no way that someone can use that information without a lot of effort, and they're not going to scan random emails to obtain it, they'll steal a backpack from an unsuspecting tourist.

Posted by
4555 posts

Eric....I think the question here is what risk do people run by sending such data by e-mail. With the billions of messages sent every day, the odds of a sniffer program picking out yours (both of them, if you send material in two e-mails) and using that data for nefarious purposes are pretty slim. Phone networks, with calls going by microwave and/or satellite, have been open to such abuse for years, yet we continue to think they are "safer" than e-mails....not necessarily so.

Posted by
23 posts

I was concerned about wireless transmission, not hard-wire. I know what I have done to secure my wireless network, but cannot have any idea what others have done.

However, I had overlooked the simple idea of substitution encryption. That is the best solution, I think.

Posted by
23110 posts

Eric (or anyone else) -- contact me off line and I will explain in simple terms why/how an email transmission is absolutely safe and secure. And Yahoo is just as secure as other method.

Posted by
27 posts

What if the credit card info was sent as images of the credit card numbers. Would that be more secure?

Thanks,

Karen

Posted by
225 posts

I write this happily with hat in hand. I checked with Yahoo email and was informed that today's Yahoo email is indeed secure and they stated that sending credit card numbers is not a problem.

Thanks.

Posted by
990 posts

Frank is absolutely right--the issue isn't the sending of the email, it's security when you access the information on a non-secure computer somewhere in Europe. So homemade encryption--some kind of code--is the solution. I email important numbers (passport, credit cards) to myself in code, then move them into an easy to find suddirectory of my email.

Here are a few easy ideas for codes:

  1. Add or subtract one digit from each digit, so that 4560 becomes 5671 or 3459.

  2. Add or subtract a larger number from each digit--like 3 or 7 or whatever. Harder to do in your head, but remember, you only will need to unencode your number if you have an emergency loss of card or passport, so you probably won't need to do it on the fly.

  3. Write up a series of fake addresses in a list, where the house number is part of the "real" number you are trying to encode. Bad guys won't think the list is anything they are interested in...

Posted by
23110 posts

Everyone wants to talk about sending information. Sending is NOT THE PROBLEM or the risk. Sending an image does not improve security if the receiver prints if off, reads it on their screen, or if you access that image at a public site. Your risk is how the information is handled by the end user. And you are the end user if you are accessing your information from a public computer. A substitution code is far more secure than just + or - a fixed number. That code can be defeated in 18 attempts and ten seconds if you dump the number into a prepared spreadsheet. And people who are knowledgeable about credit card numbers can easily recognize bogus numbers.