Q: I'm concerned about Internet credit card
fraud. What do I do?
A: What most
people don't realize, is that credit card fraud is usually committed by
employees at the merchant's location. Whether this is a sales clerk who
collects credit card numbers, or someone in the back office who looks
through the sales receipts, or a careless employee who simply tosses a
credit card slip in the garbage can, the theft or carelessness is usually
caused by the merchant's employees, NOT online hackers.
The customer sales data (including credit card
information) is usually not very well protected in most normal
"brick-and-mortar" businesses. Most point-of-sale systems that you would
find in your average stores are not heavily secured.
When you're purchasing online, however, most
Internet vendors have tight security on their Web sites. First, you should
make sure that the site you're purchasing from as a secure server
certificate. This can easily be verified by double-clicking on the
little lock symbol in the bottom-right corner of your browser. If you
don't see the lock, then the site isn't secure. At 599CD, for
example, you will see this lock appear once you click on the BEGIN MY
ORDER button and you are transferred to our secure order
UPDATE: Some newer browsers now
show this information to the left of the web page's address. Here you can
see Google Chrome. In any case, make sure the web page address
begins with "https://" and not just "http://". That "s" means it's
If you double-click on that lock
symbol, you should see details regarding that server certificate. Make
sure it's valid.
click to enlarge (this is an
old screen shot)
When you're dealing with a secure Web
site, that means that the information you type into your browser is
encrypted so that it cannot be intercepted between your computer and
your merchant's Web site. Since most sites are secure now-days, that means
that it's almost impossible for hackers to steal your credit card
There is still, however, the
possibility that hackers can get into the merchant's Web site, but most
reputable online merchants have very secure servers. At 599CD, for example, we store
customer data on our Web server only for a few seconds before it is
securely transferred to an off-the-Web server at our office, and deleted
from the Web server... and all of this happens over secure web
Finally, in a traditional store, your
credit card number might be visible by several people: the sales clerk, a
data-entry person, the store manager, etc. In most Web businesses, credit
card data is generally never seen by human eyes, sicne transactions
take place automatically without a credit card ever changing hands.
Employees are generally never given access to this information. At
599CD, there is only ONE person who has access to customer credit
card numbers: the President of the company (Richard). That's it!
So you see, no guarantees can be made
regarding credit card numbers whether you buy from us, Microsoft, or even
your local store. It is, however, generally safer to use your
credit card online - at a reputable Web site - than it is to shop at the
If you're that worried, don't use your
credit card... anywhere! But, rest assured if you DO use
your credit here, at 599CD, it will be processed securely
and ALL of your personal information will be held with the utmost
confidence and care.