There is a major security concern these days, with so many data breaches happening, which seems to be almost every week. Hackers are gaining access to personal information, including social security number, dates of birth, and credit card numbers.
This is scary. Every time you shop online and provide your personal information you are putting yourself at risk. You are putting a lot of trust in the companies you do business with, but even the largest companies in the world are not safe.
These hackers are trying to get into databases nonstop. It’s a 24/7 activity for them, and for the most part companies are fighting these attacks off, but once in a while they penetrate and access what they want.
In regards to the safety of your credit card information, there are some things you can look for prior to doing business on a website that will at least lessen the overall risk. It’s impossible to be 100% safe, but these little suggestions will contribute for sure.
Detailed Contact Information
This is a quick audit you can do that takes less than a minute and can save you a lot of trouble. Look at websites like Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon, etc. Do they have visible contact information? Of course they do – and lots of it.
There is no doubt that they are a real business. Then, go to some of these other websites and they only have a generic contact form with no phone number, no address, not even an email address made public. If you don’t feel comfortable with their contact options avoid them.
A SSL certificate makes a website secure. If you are not familiar with what it is you can check out this beginner’s guide – it explains it very well. It encrypts everything submitted and sent through a website, helping to secure and protect against hacks.
If you shop on Whohou you can click the little padlock icon in the URL bar and see that they are operating on a secure website. You never want to submit credit card information on a website that isn’t secured with a SSL certificate.
A Website that Doesn’t Store Credit Card Data
A website itself should never store payment information. It should bypass the site itself and go directly to the payment processor. For example, if a website uses Stripe, which is the most popular gateway, they have their own storage. It never stays with the website.
That is what you want to look for. Same with PayPal. So, to be safe it’s best to only shop on websites that use a trusted processor and make it public letting you know who they use.