The Role Of Website Security Badges In Combating Internet Fraud

2014-01-09 by Mark Phillips

What did we ever do before online shopping became the norm? Ecommerce makes life easier in many ways, from opening up price competition to the ability to order just about anything from the comfort of your home. However, there's a dark side to ecommerce: Internet fraud.

The Internet Crime Complaint Center reports that 24,000 Internet fraud complaints were made every month in 2012. The total loss from this type of fraud was $525,441,110 with a median loss of $600. Internet fraud includes phishing emails, fraudulent software, fake ecommerce sites and vehicle and rental scams. Legitimate companies can take the following measures to set themselves apart from

SSL Certificates

SSL, which stands for secured socket layer, is necessary for creating a secure connection between the user's computer and your ecommerce site. Generally, this is used on websites with their own payment processing, so customers' credit card information is encrypted before it is sent to the servers. A valid SSL certificate changes the web address from http:// to https:// and may change the color of your address bar, depending on the Web browser.

Symantec (formally Verisign) is a well-known, reputable company that offers SSL certificates to secure websites. Actual Insights found that 76 percent of survey respondents recognized the Verisign badge as a trusted brand, adding that the badge designated the website as legitimate instead of a scam.

SSL certificates are also used when logging into a website. If you receive an email that looks like it may be a phishing attempt, check around the link they want you to click on to see if any part of the login page is secured. Chances are, they only made the website look like the site they're trying to scam, and they didn't actually bother with SSL certification.

Payment Processor Badges

Ecommerce stores may use a payment gateway service instead of handling their own payment processing through a merchant account. These payment processors often provide trust badges to show customers that their data goes through secured servers when they place an order using your online store. Paypal, Google Wallet, Amazon Payments and Authorize.net are all payment processors who help add to a website's trust level. According to the Actual Insights survey, 66 percent of users perceive the Paypal security badge as trustworthy.

Server Security

Website servers are vulnerable to viruses and hackers in much the same way that your home computer is. Some security badges designate websites that run on hardware that regularly passes third-party security measures.

McAfee Secure tests any website with the McAfee SECURE icon every day for vulnerabilities, active virus infections, malware and other security holes. If McAfee does detect any problems, it addresses it with the company. McAfee publishes their client list, so if you feel that the site is lying about their security badge, check it against their list.

TrustE is a similar service that checks companies for legal compliance when handling personal data. They also create privacy policies that help protect customer privacy, as well as checking on websites for security holes and other major problems that compromise customer data.

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Mark Phillips

Mark retired from a 20-year Navy career and returned to school for a law degree. He is married with three kids.

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