Tuesday, February 2, 2010

One Click, No Password: Is Ordering From Amazon Safe?

On Amazon, you can order an item with one click. But if you want to track shipping, enter a gift card number, cancel an order, or do anything else, you have to enter your password.

As one-click ordering cuts down on transactions costs, Amazon sells items to a few people who would have gotten distracted in the middle of placing an order or otherwise not clicked through all of the screens of the shopping cart. It also encourages impulse buying. But should consumers be worried that items can be ordered on their dime without a password?

In a word, no. According to Amazon:
If you click the Buy now with 1-Click button on any product page, your order will be automatically charged to the default payment method on your account and shipped to the default address--you skip the shopping cart.
You should not disclose your passwords or credit card numbers online, because thieves can scam you and end up with goods paid for on your tab. But what incentive does anyone have to cheat you with one click?

Say someone accesses your home or work computer when you're not around. All the one-click scammer could do is send books to your home address. He can't access your credit card data or ship items elsewhere, without a password. And with Amazon's e-mail confirmations and liberal return policy, any illegitimate one-click orders aren't going to end up costing the customer.