Something I posted this week

Something I posted this week in a mailing list for arts marketing in response to a comment from another listee.

> There are serious security risks accepting sales by credit
> card over the
> internet. This is not a secure method of transacting monies even for
> large corporations and banks. Ask anyone in the IT industry.
> The recent
> Bpay scam illustrates this.

This is a perpetuation of the media-bashed misconception that credit card transactions on the net are more dangerous. It’s just plain wrong. Ask anyone whose had their card skimmed at an ATM, or at a restaurant.

Fact 1. There is no documented example of a credit card number being stolen in transit across the net. EG as it travels between a customer and the site they are shopping from. It is technically and logistically nigh on impossible (although there is a rumour the CIA has capable technology installed in some ISPs in the USA because of 9/11). Apart from anything else, presuming the web site uses standard SSL secure technology (and I wouldn’t shop if it didn’t) you’d need a super computer to break the encryption (one presumes the CIA has access to such a beast).

Fact 2. A high proportion of fraud is perpetrated as a result of card numbers being stolen offline, then used to purchase online. Russian mafia are big on this apparently.

Fact 3. A high proportion of fraud occurs as a result of either a) an employee of a business stealing the information from the business; or b) a hacker breaking an insecure system to steal card numbers. Ergo, irrelevant re online. Just bad management by the company.

Fact 4. The PayPal fraud (and others targeting things like Westpac’s online banking customers) don’t have anything to do with credit cards per se, they rely on conning the gullable and mis-informed to hand over login details to enable the naughty people to access bank accounts etc. This is about education. Which is not helped by a hysterical media who lock onto any instance of fraud, yet ignore the literally billions of transactions which occur everyday without incident.

Fact 5. Yes, some shopping sites have experienced levels of credit card fraud perpetuated by naughty customers. So does every bricks and mortar shop. And with the introduction of significantly enhanced security preautions and check systems by companies such as Visa and Mastercard, the world continues to battle crime. Just like we do car theft. Reputable card transaction providers such as WorldPay (who we use for our UK site) go to enormous lengths to protect their merchants.

Fact 6. Taking into account 1 – 5, shopping online with a reputable company, such as Amazon, ABC Online (or dare I say, Arts Hub) is probably safer than handing over your credit card in your local restaurant. I shop online constantly, and have done so for years. The only time I’ve had a problem with a credit card was offline – a waiter in a restaurant in St Kilda skimmed my Amex and spent $1,200 on a surf board.

Fact 7. At Arts Hub we’ve conducted more than 10,000 online credit card transactions in the last 24 months. We’ve had one case of fraud perpetuated against us. A 12 year old girl who ‘borrowed’ her aunty’s card, in her enthusiasm to research an arts project.

Marketing on the net is not new. It’s just another distribution channel, with its own particular characteristics, like any other channel.

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