(Courtesy of buySAFE)

The Center for American Progress and the Center for Democracy and Technology recently released a report concluding that not enough is being done to protect the public from fraud on the Internet. “If problems such as malware, phishing, and spam are left unchecked, many consumers may lose trust and abandon e-commerce,” according to the report.

What if a shopper could safely enjoy the convenience, lower prices and choices offered by the world of e-commerce, while avoiding all the fraud lurking on the Internet free?

In 2006, buySAFE entered the e-commerce scene with a unique concept, giving sellers the ability to become bonded and display the buySAFE seal on their site. Once a seller is bonded, the purchase is guaranteed up to $25,000.

The buySAFE guarantee covers virtually any loss that might occur during an online shopping transaction. This includes, but isn’t necessarily limited to fraud, phishing and financial misdeeds.

Last month, they grew their concept with the buySAFE Shopping Advisor, which is a free software tool that rates the safety/security of all sites within a search term. The tool also points to sites sites with the buySAFE seal, which guarantees the transaction.

Shopping Advisor leverages buySAFE’s advanced technology and bonded merchant customer base to provide a fully closed-loop safe shopping experience. “There is nothing else like it in the world as it provides comprehensive safe shopping for consumers from search through purchase and beyond – guaranteed,” according to Jeff Grass, buySAFE’s CEO.

While buySAFE offers a free service to the e-consumer, they aren’t in business to lose money. Some of the due diligence performed on every bonded merchant includes ensuring they have a SSL certificate and a privacy policy describing how they protect personal information. Additionally, bonded sellers are required to allow buySAFE access to inspect their business anytime they choose to do so.

Shopping Advisor provides a tool to analyze e-commerce sites and provides a safe shopping portal, which consists of bonded sellers, only. Once in the safe shopping portal every purchase is guaranteed within the limits of the bond buySAFE provides.

Shopping Advisor uses buySAFE’s proprietary website inspection and assessment technology to analyze almost 100 different safety/security attributes of an e-commerce site. It then provides objective ratings on the site when searching with Google, Yahoo and MSN (Firefox is on the way). This allows the shopper to make an informed decision before forking over their hard-earned cash.

Within the Shopping Advisor tool is the Safe Shopping Portal providing alternative product choices from thousands of merchants that are protected with the buySAFE seal. It is within the Safe Shopping Portal that every purchase is guaranteed with a Bond of up to $25,000 and it’s protected against identity theft, also.

Essentially, Shopping Advisor shows all the shopping opportunities for the search term listed, rates the sites in question and then gives the consumer the ability to make an informed buying decision. If the buyer chooses to buy a product via the Safe Shopping Portal, it is automatically guaranteed and the transaction is protected against identity theft for 30 days. When the buyer purchases an item from the Safe Shopping Portal, they automatically receive an e-mail with the specifics on the guarantee for their personal records.

buySAFE offers a lot of benefits to sellers, also. The biggest is which is what ensures any successful business, or the trust of it’s customers. They’ve also added a cost-per-sale pricing model that has received positive feedback from the merchants using it. If a merchant needs more information on this, I’ll refer them to Jeff Grass’ blog, or the press release on this matter.

According to most if not all of the reports out there, Internet crime continues to grow and become more sophisticated. Saying that, no matter how sophisticated it becomes the primary motivation to commit cybercrime is money. This rings true from the most simple social engineering scheme to most sophisticated attacks using crimeware. What buySAFE has done is remove this primary motivator from the mix, or at least made it a lot less attractive to Internet fraudsters, charlatans and tricksters.

Shopping Advisor
takes this concept to the next level by providing the consumer with a tool to make an educated shopping decision without falling prey to the pitfalls of a too good be true come-on. Too good to be true lures are the common theme Internet fraudsters, charlatans and tricksters use to snare their prey. In other words, Shopping Advisor is a tool a consumer can effectively use to practice the principle known as caveat emptor, or buyer beware.

buySAFE is also offering a shopper referral program. They pay $1.00 for every user referred to Shopping Advisor. This is a great fundraiser opportunity for charities, sports leagues, churches or any good cause.

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