How Secure IS my Credit Card Number?

   In 1996, an article in the Washington Post by Rob Pegoraro, David Medine of the Federal Trade Commission is quoted as saying that it is much safer to transmit your credit card number over the Internet than to give it to a waiter at a restaurant or read it aloud over a cordless phone - both activities considered safe by most people.   AT&T's Universal Card division reports no cases to date of credit card number theft during transmission over the Internet.

Starlight uses the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology built into our webserver and web browsers to protect sensitive data during transmission.   That information is then temporarily stored on a secure server in a secure folder until it is retrieved.    During actual transmission of your order and number over the web to our secure server you order is encrypted using the very latest technology available.

How it works!
The Internet connects one computer to another.    Obviously there isn't an individual connection between computers, any more than your telephone has a direct connection to every other telephone in the world.   The telephone system uses exchanges; similarly, the Internet uses special-purpose computers called "routers", whose sole function is to receive packets of data and send them on towards the correct destination.

When a message goes from one computer to another, it is split into fragments which are then passed from one router to another until they reach their destination (on a journey from Germany to the United States, it is not unusual for a dozen routers to be involved).   The routers are owned by the telecommunications companies and Internet service providers, and are physically very secure.

It is extremely unlikely that anyone could intercept communications at this level, and virtually impossible for them to do it without being detected.   Remember, each packet of data spends only a fraction of a second in transit, and remember, it is encrypted from my website to the secure server where is is NEVER stored.    It is then sent on to my computer using the same secure socket layer and encryption technology.    Your Number is authorized from a secure telephone connection and NOT over the internet, it is then deleted and not used again unless you resubmit it for another order.

If there were any real reason to worry about using a credit card on the web, the major credit card companies would not allow us to do business this way.   After all, if someone uses your number you are only liable for the first $50.00 and they (or I) will have to pick up the rest of the tab.   Do you think any of us could stay on the web if this was a real threat or problem.   If it were, Credit Card Companies would not authorize Merchant Accounts for web sites.

In order to accept credit cards I had to apply for a Merchant Account with a well known bank to handle all major credit cards.   The only alternative was to have a secondary firm handle processing them at a very high percentage plus they offered no way for me to ascertain if their practices were all I would wish for my clients.   Before being accepted, my website and business practices were scrutinized and my order process was checked for security.    ONLY after passing all these requirements was I issued a merchant account with First Bank of Beverly Hills.

I are aware that many people are new to the Internet, and that most people who are surfing the WEB, have never ordered online.   Some people feel that shopping on the web is not safe because it is relatively new, unexplored territory.

I have been serving clients from this website since 1998 and hope to be here for many more years to come. Order with confidence.   The purchase area of our website is the most secure available.    This means that any information you send to us is protected by encryption.   It's easy to tell when you are protected by encryption -- the lock or key at the bottom of your browser is no longer unlocked or broken. This varies depending on your browser type.    If, despite these reassurances, you are still concerned about trusting your credit card details to a computer network, then just choose the mail in your order and payment option by printing out the form (after you fill it in) and sending it along with your M.O. to the address on the bottom of the form.   Either way, I guarantee you will get what you order.

Yes, this article has an ulterior motive.   I want you to purchase something from me, but I don't want you to do anything that makes you uncomfortable in the process.   If you don't feel comfortable conducting online transactions after reading this article, I assure you I will understand.    That is why I provide my postal address for mailing in orders and payment. But I truly feel that purchasing on line is safe, I do it myself.

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Copyright December 15, 2001©
Starlight Web Enterprises®.
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