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Ordering Online Safely

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 server.

 

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 "secure."

 

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 information "en-route."

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 transmissions.

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 local mall.

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.

 

 
 
 

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