Is it safe for me to use my credit card on a website?
I am often asked this question when people call to register for one of our seminars, workshops or events.
I can reassure them that our site is safe because it was built by a very reliable local website company with expertise in online sales. In addition, it is regularly evaluated by an outside organization that ensures we maintain Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance.
But how can you tell if other sites are secure? I did a little online research and found the following tips:
Verification - Shop at online merchants who indicate that they verify credit cards before allowing a purchase. Merchants verify the card by asking for the three digit code on the back. This is done to prove that the user actually has the card.
Secure Site - A secure website begins with "https" rather than just "http." Only give your credit card information on sites that are secure.
Research - Before giving your credit card information to an online vendor, take a few minutes to do an Internet search on the company to see if they have a history of fraud. The Better Business Bureau is a good resource for researching companies for fraud. You can contact the local office or use the Bureau's interactive website to research companies.
According to HowStuffWorks, you can defend yourself against identity theft by using virus protection software and a firewall on your computer. You should also make sure that you send your credit card information over a secure server, which is illustrated by a lock or key icon.
Hopefully these tips will allow you peace of mind when you conduct online transactions.