How to Safely Buy a Diamond Online - Part 2 of 3
By Michael Bradley
It is now possible to save 40% to 60% by purchasing a diamond engagement ring from an online diamond retailer, rather than from a bricks-n-mortar High Street jeweller. Online diamond retailers don't have retail shops, sales staff, large diamond inventories and other associated operating expenses and are therefore able to pass on the cost savings to consumers.
Of course, a diamond might be one of the largest one-off purchases made in one's lifetime and so it is understandable that many people may be uncomfortable paying for a diamond before it has been seen and examined.
However, as long as the correct research and precautions are taken there should be no reason to be fearful about buying diamonds from Internet diamond merchants.
The three most important aspects of the pre-purchase checks that must be carried out are:
1. Assurance that the diamond business is legitimate,
2. Assurance that the payment method is secure,
3. The risk of merchant fraud or failed delivery is mitigated.
In part two of this three part series we examine the second aspect which is to be satisfied that your payment details will be secure.
Assurance payment details will be secure
There a number of assurance companies that will provide an additional level of comfort for online consumers. These companies provide certification that a particular company's website is relatively safe and secure for online purchases.
Consumer Protection Accreditation
This is an accreditation service which audits an applying online retailer for ethical retailing and best practice data privacy. If the audit is passed the retailer is permitted membership and a unique membership number is provided, which can be added to the retailer's website.
This number can then be cross-checked back to the issuing accreditation body to ensure that the retailer is in fact a member, giving confidence to the consumer that an online purchase from that diamond retailer is safer.
Examples of these service companies are TRUSTe, Internet Shopping Is Safe (ISIS), SafeBuy, ShopSafe.co.uk, WebTraderUK and TrustUK.
Beware of fraudulent operators that have just added the accreditation logo image to their website. A tell-tale sign of this is when the logo is clicked the homepage of the accreditation company's website appears, rather than the legitimate detailed membership page for the retailer website you are purchasing from.
Website Verification Service
Also known as web seals or trust marks, the website verification services give Internet users information on the data security and trustworthiness of websites. They check whether a website URL address really is authentic or whether it has been hijacked by hackers.
Before exchanging sensitive information, such as providing a credit card number, personal identification information or other confidential data, these services typically allow you to check that the site has been verified by the trusted third party company and that the retailer website is using appropriate safeguarding measures against hackers.
An actual certified member website will have the logo displayed prominently. When this logo is clicked the page displaying the company's details within the verification company's website should appear.
Common providers are ScanAlert/HackerSafe, SquareTrade, Thwate/Verisign, TrustLogo/Comodo, and Trustwatch/GeoTrust.
Beware of fraudulent operators that have just added the verification logo image to their website. A tell-tale sign of this is when the logo is clicked the homepage of the verification company's website appears rather than the legitimate detailed membership page or signed security seal for the retailer website you are purchasing from.
Secure Socket Layer
When making a purchase over the Internet make sure that the order page URL starts with https:// and that there is a small padlock symbol in the bottom right hand corner of the browser window. This means that the data you enter on the page will be more secure from hackers and your payment information will be less at risk.
Credit Card Verification (CCV) Service
This service is an added protection for online or phone purchases. Since the diamond merchant doesn't actually see the credit/debit card in these situations then it's harder to be sure that the person supplying the card number details is actually the card holder and not someone who just happens to know the credit/debit card number.
To address this problem, debit/credit card providers put a three or four digit CCV number on the card (usually on the back of the card on the signature strip) that is not embossed (raised). This number doesn't get printed on sales receipts. Thus someone trying to use the card number fraudulently is much less likely to know this number if they do not have the card in their physical possession.
This type of checking device really reinforces the importance of notifying a credit card provider promptly if a debit/credit card is ever lost or stolen so that card can be cancelled.
The most common of these services are MasterCard Secure Code and Verified by VISA.