Do you really know who you are doing business with?
It seems that it wasn’t that long ago that we actually went to a merchant’s storefront and purchased something “over the counter”. You could inspect the goods, shake hands with the proprietor, send your regards to his family, and draw comfort that he probably wasn’t selling your credit card number to some Eastern European scoundrel.
Nowadays, e-Commerce has even more conveniences than the local storefront. But with those advantages, come some levels of risk. At some point, you have to electronically share your credit card information across the internet. This process has some assumptions that the site you are doing business with, is taking all possible precautions (see PCI Standards) to safeguard your credit card privacy.
PCI (Payment Card Industry) standards have been developed and adopted in order to guide vendors in adopting common safeguards to protecting credit card details while it is in their care. In all likelihood, the favorite sites that you shop at are fully PCI compliant. But then, how do you really know? Have you read their latest audit report? Would they even share it with you?
The intention is not to dissuade you from shopping over the internet, but rather to just raise the level of attention to the consumer. Keep in mind that the site you are doing business with needs to convince their Bank and the Credit Card companies that they are indeed PCI compliant. That is a big part of the checks and balances since the vendors, banks and credit card companies tend to ALL become liable in the event of a breach.
Nonetheless, please read the article linked above and become informed.