Trust you? I don’t even know you!

Below is a conversation I stumbled over on a commercial site’s facebook page which was posted an hour or so ago between persons A & B.

A] i do not want to use a credit card on the internet so is it possible to pay by check? if not is there any store that sells these in the united states

B]you can use paypal if you prefer that

A] what is paypal

I don’t know what your initial response to this was, but I can tell you that mine was to derisively snort and mock person A for being clueless, and not getting with the program. A little reflection turned me around, though.

Let’s leave the ‘what is paypal’ part of this alone.  We’ll just take from it an assumption that A isn’t used to online commerce.  I’m more interested in A’s reluctance to trust a faceless commercial entity with their credit card details, and my initial reaction.

I had a credit card (and then, later, a debit card)  before Al Gore invented the intertubes.  When online commerce began to take its first tentative steps back in the last century, it was a brave person indeed who’d trust their credit card details to the internet.  The media was full of horror stories of consumers who’d had their accounts plundered after providing their credit card details to online merchants.   During the 2 year period of  2001/2002, for example, over 50% of Australian online merchants were defrauded at least once when a consumer’s stolen credit card details were used to make an online purchase from them.  That figure strikes me as low, actually.

So, what’s changed?  Why do I now snort, instead of nodding sagely?

I have no idea.  And it troubles me that I don’t.  I shop online once a month or so – not very often, but I do it without concern.  And I don’t know why I started to trust the net.  It’s not as if fraud’s gone away, after all.    I think that it became harder to avoid shopping online, and easier to throw up my hands and go along with the crowd.  At some point it became easier to trust than not to trust, I suppose.

I only use a debit card.  Perhaps that was why I initially succumbed – I knew I couldn’t lose more than my life savings. Which doesn’t make that much sense, when I read what I’ve written.

I’ve never been ripped off online.  I avoid doing obviously stupid things, which must help to some degree.  And I think I’ve gone too far to cancel my paypal acct, or stop shopping online.  But it’s really eating away at me that I still have no idea why I decided to trust the web.

Person A, I apologise for mocking.  Instead, I salute you, and I urge you to hold firm to your principles and your doubts.


About timimus

I'm a Media student at La Trobe University, Melbourne. Just that, and little more.
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1 Response to Trust you? I don’t even know you!

  1. This is an interesting topic you make re: Online shopping. I think you could add online banking to this list as well.

    I think for many, people will be able to relate specifically to this post. At this stage I find myself trusting the process of internet shopping and online purchases. Yet in the same breath I’m a nervous and hesitant user knowing full well of the dangers that could become of online shopping.

    Even IF the processes on websites are secure, many would not be aware that there are virus’s (i.e. Trojan Horses) that are able to infiltrate information systems and steal a users personal information. This includes the passwords and details that you enter into a website.

    And yet, despite these dangers we go ‘head first into the water’ so to speak. Maybe it’s a case of believing that fraud ‘will never happen to us’. The reality is, that it’s a distinct possibility in this modern day climate.

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