Have you ever been to a site that has a product you want, but you didn't buy it because the site seemed a little Phishy (Yes, I spelled it with a "PH")? Well, there's a site from GeoTrust called TrustWatch that might help you feel more confident in the site you are wanting to make a purchase from.
According to TrustWatch, "TrustWatch is a web site rating system that gives Internet users information on the security and trustworthiness of domains and web sites. Before you exchange sensitive information, such as providing a credit card number, personal identification information or other confidential data, TrustWatch allows you to check that the site has been verified by a trusted third party and is using appropriate safeguarding measures."
TrustWatch gives you two options for using their service. You can either install the TrustWatch Toolbar, which automatically shows the verification status of a site. Or, if you are like me and hate extra toolbars on your browser, you can simply surf over to trustwatch.com and use their search field.
As you might have already guessd, my site's verification status is not so high. This BLOG comes up as having SSL Security, but the site has not been verified by a third party (GeoTrust or any other SSL Certificate Company). There's no reason for me to go through those lengths in protecting information on this site. However, the web site I created for the company I work for has the highest verification rating, because it is certified using SSL technology from GeoTrust.
Go to trustwatch.com and see what you find. Try entering bestbuy.com, target.com or any other well known sites to see what the verification status looks like.
If you find a site that is selling things and does not have a verified ranking, be careful about sharing your personal information.