Some Information About Security
Every so often we are asked about security and ordering over the Internet. This is a complicated question, but I will try to give you some insight into the different problems that could arise.
Is ordering over a secure server really safe?
When placing an order over a secure connection, the information transferred from your Computer to the other machine is encrypted, and even if someone was to intercept the transmission it would be unlikely that they could decipher it. The bigger problem is what happens to the information next. After you place your order the other machine has to decipher the order information into plain text and pass it along to someone that actually processes your order. In the case of some small companies that do not host their web-sites on their own servers, the information is simply E-mailed to the person that will process the order. This means that the information that you passed along to them over the secure connection is now forwarded as a non-secure message. I think that this is hardly what you would want to happen to your Credit Card information. You could have just as well E-mailed the order yourself. In the case of larger companies the information could be E-mailed internally to the person that processes your order, or it could be written to a file and sit on the server until the person in charge picks it up. This is somewhat better but still not what I call secure ordering.
How does Audio Bible handle secure ordering?
After you place an order over a secure connection the Information is re-encrypted using PGP and forwarded by E-mail to our order department. PGP is such a good encryption process that the US government does not allow exporting PGP software and has consistently tried to block the development and distribution thereof. At no point along the order process is your Credit Card information transmitted or just siting on a machine without being encrypted. The person that processes your information then has to type in a Password to be able to retrieve the information. After this your order is processed as if you had mailed it to us.
What if someone steals my Credit Card information?
All Credit Cards are protected against fraud. This means that if someone, that is not authorized to do so uses your Credit Card information to make a purchase, you are protected from any loss. Simply call the Credit Card Company, tell them about the fraud, they will have to cover the loss. With Debit Cards the rules change slightly, since it is your money in the account the bank will refuse to cover the loss. But there is a daily withdraw limit and no one can withdraw beyond the balance of your account. If you have a credit card available always use it instead of a Debit Card.
What are the odds of something going wrong?
All in all your chances of someone stealing your Credit Card information over the Internet are slim compared to other ways we compromise this same information on a daily basis. Let me give you some Examples.
You just stopped at the convenience store on your way to work and have filled your car with gas. You are short on cash so you pull out your Credit Card and pay for the fuel. You just trusted someone making minimum wage with your Credit Card information and the receipt will lay in the cash register drawer till shift change or longer….
Next you decide to go take a client to lunch in a fancy restaurant. You receive really lousy service and decide you are going to cut the tip in half. Next you give this same waiter your Credit Card. Revenge is sweet.
Ordering over the phone may not be any safer. 60 minutes aired a report on 6/25/2000 that TWA is using prison inmates to staff the telephones. You may have unknowingly given your credit card number to a convicted criminal when booking a flight. I am sure TWA is not the only company taking advantage of cheap labor.
Are there other hidden dangers?
Most Credit Card fraud on the Internet is not committed by stealing Credit Card information, but by not rendering the services or products ordered. Take a close look at the company you are dealing with, how long have they conducted business over the Internet? Are they some fly by night or a reputable company? If in doubt check them out with the Better Business Bureau. You also want to look at their return policy, just in case. What you ordered may not meet your expectations and you may have to return it, after all you never saw the item. In most cases common sense is all it takes.
PS: If it sounds too good to be true, stay away from it.
This information was put together by Robert Klauser. If you have any questions please direct them to firstname.lastname@example.org
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