There are millions of websites online and many of them offer things you can buy, download, or receive by some method. They’ve got the stuff, and you want the stuff, but you’re worried that somehow/someway your info will get leaked out. So how do you know who you can trust with your personal information or credit card numbers?
One good way to determine who you can trust is by checking the website for trust, verification, or privacy seals/certificates from trusted third-party sources. There are companies out there whose job is vetting company’s and websites and ensuring that they are safe, secure, and legitimate. In most cases the seal/certificate will be a link back to the issuing company with details on who they are, what they do for the original site you clicked on, and what level of trust or security you can place on the site.
There are many options when it comes to third-party accreditation or authentication, but here are some of the more popular options: (Disclaimer)
According to their website, “VeriSign is one of the most trusted and recognized brands on the Internet (Synovate/GMI research, September 2009)”, and the VeriSign Trust™ Seal is a widely-recognized program for monitoring sites for malicious software and website authentication.
- BBB Online:
A long-time favorite of consumers, the Better Business Bureau is one of the most widely trusted third party organizations that vets businesses. The BBB uses their own Standards of Trust as a “comprehensive set of policies, procedures and best practices focused on how businesses should treat the public – fairly and honestly in all circumstances.”
As noted on the TRUSTe website, “For over a decade, TRUSTe’s online privacy services and trustmarks have enabled businesses to strive for the highest standards in online privacy and customer satisfaction.”
A seal or certificate from any of the aforementioned companies would be a good indicator of trust, as long as there’s a legitimate relationship between the site and one of the 3 companies listed above. Before you go entering your credit card number or other personally-identifiable information, be sure to click on those seals and certificates to make sure the website is actually part of their program. It’s easy to put up a picture of the seal/certificate with no real affiliation with the third party site, so be sure to do your own check first.
StopSign uses Verisign’s services and is also an accredited BBB company.