I thought this post would be timely just before Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
I run into a lot of people that worry using their credit card on the web. It's a valid concern, whether it's an established big company website or a small start-up.
The reality is that your credit card is also vulnerable in a retail setting (or anywhere else).
Credit cards are still being handled by people. Even on the Internet, in most cases, at some point your card information is handled by a 'real person'. In a retail store, you may be swiping, but you're also signing an electronic pad. (Just imagine how many computers have your signature!.)
The reality is, even with the addition of the 'cvv security code' on the back, your credit card is always at some level of risk. Nobody really wants to think about it, and this piece isn't to meant to alarm anyone. To some degree, using a credit card can be safer than a check.
Check your credit card statements every month. See something suspicious? Just call the 800 number on the back.
The good news (and I've had recent experience with this) is that the banks are getting much better at quickly identifying potential credit card fraud.
I received a phone call from a credit card provider a few months ago. I verified that it was the issuing bank first and then went on to explore what they were calling about. It was real. They caught it the day it happened, reversed the charges and issued a new card.
So, have some fun shopping for your friends and loved ones, and pin this post to your desk to remember to check those bank and credit card statements. It only takes a few minutes each month.