Thursday, December 13, 2007

A man is usually more careful of his money than of his principles. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr

When I teach eBay classes I get very worried looks when I bring up the words credit cards online. There is a real hypocrisy when it comes to us using credit cards online versus anywhere else and I am just as guilty. The question I always ask is “Do you use your card at a restaurant?” Most people would say yes. We will give a complete stranger a key to our finances without thinking of it but we hem and haw when it comes to a secure database online. I argue that it is far safer to use it online (with caution) than in regular life. To support this I say it is easier to grab your numbers or steal your cards than it is to hack something online. Now I understand there is hacking online and some places do have problems but not to the extent that theft is there in real life. The news show 60 Minutes did a segment just recently on credit card leaks at stores. The y showed the unfortunate ease of grabbing your numbers. This means when you use your card at your favorite store, and you feel safe because it never leaves your sight, your numbers are actually flying through the air to a router and a server. Some stores have not made this secure and your info can be easily captured as we all saw when Marshals stores had been in the news. Now should you be scared all the time? I would say a decent bit of paranoia is OK but I would not build the bunker yet. Take precautions like contacting your CC company and asking them what they have in place to guard against problems. Now that I am armed with info like the 60 minutes spot and reading online I am becoming more of online shopper than ever before. I have written on this blog about some of the pitfalls like phishing and bad sellers but these are minor in comparison to the problem with the stores. So for the time being I may pay in cash in person and save my Credit Card for the virtual stores.

Alright fine I will still use my card at restaurants as well.

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