Secure Shopping Cart
How do I know this is a secure shopping cart?
Internet credit card fraud costs the American economy more than two billion dollars each year; affecting nearly one in five consumers. Admittedly the above statistics make for miserable reading, but by following a few simple steps there's no reason why you can't enjoy watertight online security:
Find a secure shopping cart : Before handing over your credit card details it's essential to establish if the merchant's website has a secure payment system in place. Most secure shopping carts utilize what's known as a 'Secure Socket Layer' which encrypts all the data that is passed between the two parties. The result is that both servers can understand what each other is saying; while hackers can't.
Web developers can purchase 'certificates' form a growing number of online security specialists (such as www.verisign.com ) who will check their systems and allow the merchant to display their 'security seal'. Spotting a well-known security certificate may go a long way to allay consumer concerns, but as a shopper it's important to click on the logo to check that it's registered to the right company (illegally copying and displaying an image is surprisingly easy).
Secure pages can also be identified by a yellow padlock or key appearing at the bottom of the browser. Again the consumer should click on the icon to establish validity. As a 'failsafe' shoppers should look for a subtle change in the URL (actual web address), whereby the initial http changes to https to access the SSL.
Choose a secure password : Passwords are designed to provide extra security for online transactions and defies logic why so many people choose passwords that are so easy to guess. Forget your mother's maiden name and your social security number; instead go for a cryptic selection of letters and numbers. Resist the temptation to use the same password over a number of accounts.
Talk to your Merchant : It's unlikely that you'd walk into a mall and hand over $100 without talking to the store clerk. and there's no reason why you should do so in cyberspace. Avoid websites without a physical contact address (including PO boxes) and feel free to call and enquire about their security precautions. While you've got their attention it's a good idea to ask about their return/ refund policy.
And finally.there's an old saying that goes 'if it sounds too good to be true; it probably is' and e-commerce is no exception.