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Credit Card eZine - News and Articles about Credit Cards

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Credit Card Number Needed

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Once you have agreed to sign a credit card deal, you put yourself at a standing risk of endangering your personal and credit card information and you have to keep a pretty close tab on everything involving using or commuting this information, even if at a legitimate request.

I must admit, though, that until very recently I was rather skeptical as to the omnipotence of credit card fraudsters and phishing as one of their methods. And I have aggressively upheld the principle that a careful credit card holder is fully capable of protecting himself from fraudsters, no matter where he's being attacked - online or at a common store.

 I was fundamentally wrong and I recognized my mistake when it was nearly too late already. I was trapped like a small silly kid, really, and the fact that at the time I owned an expensive Visa credit card from one of the largest credit companies  made the whole situation even more ridiculous.

Why else did I feel like a small naïve kid, you would ask? It's simple I've been an internet user for a long time and I seemed to know lots of tricks used by hackers for their fraudulent purposes. After the incident I concluded I had to read more on them.

Well, closer to the subject. I fell victim to a completely new type of online credit card fraud aiming at fishing my credit card number and then using it for purchases or selling it on the internet black credit card market.

I would have possibly acted in a different way, if I had at least a vague suspicion of the illegitimacy of the operation. Not a hint! And when I received an e-mail letter coded in HTML informing me that my Visa credit card was being inscribed in the Verified by Visa Program, I was rather pleasantly surprised than alerted.  

In fact, I would be happy to have a deal offered by the program as it is meant to reassure you of the security using your credit card online. For this sort of security I was instructed to click a link on the letter which redirected me to a site with Verified by Visa membership. Seeing no catch, I clicked.

As a precautious internet user making any operation with my credit card data online, I always look for signs of the site's security and try to avoid any online resource drawing my suspicion. That was a different case this time, an unusual one. Just like all the legitimate sites of banks, this one also demonstrated SSL certificate!

Well, a completely legitimate-looking web site using the real name of a credit card company being enrolled in the Verified by Visa program and offering SSL as a sign of its security - nothing to find fault with.  I was already on the edge of submitting me credit card number to become the member of the program but something made me have a second look at their SSL certificate.

And it's interesting. The certificate contained no more information, except already stated, that could prove the legitimacy of the site. There was only the company's name, the location and the internet address. That's not enough, let's face it.

The more information the site provides about itself, the more trust it has. I didn't get enough proof. And my precaution played its part.

Later on, I learnt that the site was fishing credit card numbers for fraudulent purposes. Those who neglected the insufficiency of SSL certificate or didn't examine it at all submitted the numbers and have faced lots of unauthorized purchases on their credit cards.

Now I ask myself a question: should SSL certificates cost a fortune and be granted to such institutions only as banks and other high trustworthy financial companies if it has come to stealing your personal and credit card information?

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