Staying Safe with Online Shopping

Staying Safe with Online Shopping

Online shopping is so convenient, but it can be risky. A recent Trust Guard survey of e-commerce websites found 80% of them had flaws that could be potentially unsafe.

Diana Brandley with Trust Guard points out what to watch for safe online shopping.

Two simple yet important, things you should do to protect your identity while shopping or browsing online. Skip one, and you will definitely be putting yourself at risk:

1. Is Your Info Safe As It Travels?

In order to prevent disaster and protect yourself when shopping online, ask yourself: Is my Credit Card and personal information going to travel safely across the Internet?

The only way to be sure is to see if the site has an SSL certificate, and make sure the page goes secure before you enter your credit card or any personal information.

First, look in the address bar at the top of your browser and make sure the URL starts with: https or HTTPS (the “S” means “secure”) and should be followed by the name of the website, like this: Some browsers, like Internet Explorer, also show a lock

the top or on the bottom right corner of the window.

In basic terms the “https” and the lock icon let you know that that an SSL certificate is going to scramble your information so it can travel safely from your personal computer to the actual website where it is unscrambled for the website to use.

It might help to picture an SSL certificate as a big armored truck (like in the image above left); Banks use these trucks to move money or data safely from one place to another. Imagine having that armored truck take your credit card information safely from your computer all the way through the Internet maze to the website you want to buy from. It’s a comforting image, but what happens when the armored truck arrives at the website?

2. Is the Website Really Safe? Has It Been Scanned?

Can you imagine backing that SSL armored truck with your credit card and personal information up to a bank (or website) that has the back end blown off?

Having a website that has not been scanned is just like that open, exposed bank. Sadly, over 80%* of all websites have vulnerabilities or security holes that hackers can use to modify or harvest data from the site. That’s a scary number when you think about it.

What makes things even more scary is that most of the website owners we surveyed** believe their site is safe. They wrongly believe that the SSL certificate or their hosting company is protecting their website.

Website security in general is so bad that credit card companies like Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express got together and formed the Payment Card Industry Council, also known as the PCI Council, to help protect websites and you their customers who use credit cards, from identity theft and credit card fraud, while shopping online.

· The good news is that the PCI Council is requiring all websites that accept and process credit cards to be scanned on a regular basis. This PCI scan or Website Security scan looks for thousands of vulnerabilities or access points (open doors and windows) that hackers might use to get access to your personal information. Once the website is scanned, a report is produced and given to the website owner so that they can close the security holes, and protect their website and your personal information from any hacker attacks.

Trust Guard is one of the few companies that provides daily PCI security scanning.

When a website passes Trust Guards PCI security scan and has no security holes. They receive a Trust Seal that they can place on their website showing visitors like you, that their site has been scanned and is safe.

You’ve probably seen our security scanned trust seals, as you’ve visited different websites across the Internet. Website owners who understand the need for PCI Security Scans, and understand the benefits, always manage to seek out companies like Trust Guard.

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