Credit Card Security & email
Credit Card Security and Email
Is Your Credit Card Data Safe
When Sent By Email?
Credit card fraud is very real, and there are valid concerns
in giving out your card number in any manner.
Let us examine the delivery path of an email message,
and perhaps you will see that at this point in time it is probably one
of the most secure methods of transmitting your credit card information
in existence today.
An email message literally hops from one server to another
on the Internet until it reaches its destination; it is guided through
its journey by Domain Name Servers (DNS). The average email message travels
through ten to twelve different servers on the Internet before it reaches
its final destination. This path is rarely the same; two email messages
sent from the same server to the same email address usually travel across
completely different paths and across a variable number of servers depending
on diverse factors such as the status of the servers on the Internet at
any given time. So while security can be guaranteed on both ends of the
email "transaction", the privacy of this email could easily be compromised
by computer literate hackers who may intercept and read the contents of
these messages, when traveling across the intermediary servers. Of course,
the randomness of the path taken by an email message, and the ubiquity
of email messages over the Internet, make intercepting email messages also
random - as a hacker will be at loss in figuring out where to intercept
a certain message.
For the work involved in obtaining valid credit card numbers
via email, the 'hacker/swindler' would exert an incredibly unprofitable
amount of time and effort to come up with even one usable credit card account
number. Even then they must contend with more aware business owners who
will check the mailing address of items ordered via credit card.
As reported by New York Times journalist Peter H. Lewis:
"Sending a credit card number to an electronic merchant
over the Internet is probably the safest way to make such a transaction.
In the last week, for example, I handed my credit card to a waiter who
disappeared with it for five minutes. I faxed my credit card information
to a business in New Jersey, and the fax probably lay exposed to everyone
in that office for hours and perhaps to the cleaning crew that night. I
called a hotel and gave my card data to a reservation clerk and continued
my recklessness by ordering some merchandise from a clothing catalogue,
again by reading my credit card information to some unseen operator.
Compared with the risk of handing my credit card to a
stranger, which I do nearly every day, sending it over the Internet is
pretty secure." (The New York Times, Nov. 13, C3)
You can sleep at night assured that the risk of ordering
merchandise via email carries the lowest risk factor of almost any other
credit card transaction known to man. The common practice of splitting
a credit card number into 2 (or more) pieces and sending them in separate
email messages should foil even the best of hackers.
From an article given to the public domain on the Bibliofind
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