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How to know if your online money transfer will be secure

Identity theft is a concern for many in the U.S., particularly for people who regularly send money online to friends or family. Fortunately, consumers can keep an eye out for certifications that many trustworthy companies enlist to guarantee that their customers' personal information will be well-guarded.

One of these certifications is the TRUSTe Privacy Seal Program. TRUSTe is an organization that reviews company's privacy policies. They only issue a seal to groups that offer superb consumer protection.

The Better Business Bureau is one of the most trusted consumer advocacy agencies in the U.S. This group also issues a seal to indicate that a company is trustworthy and has not been cited for any predatory policies that may compromise one's personal information.

Lastly, those who are sending money on the web should look for the VeriSign Secure Sight Seal, which is a large check mark in a maroon circle. This mark is provided to websites that ensure that private information is encrypted, meaning it can't be read by unauthorized third parties.

These certifications aren't given out to any company – organizations that want to be verified by these security industries must go through a rigorous application process. Additionally, consumers can submit complaints should they question the privacy and security of an organization that has received a verification. 

In order to receive a seal from TRUSTe, businesses must submit copies of their online privacy statement, completed master services agreements and a completed self-assessment form provided by TRUSTe. The privacy statement must outline notice of how personal data is collected and used, consumers' privacy choices and consent, access by individual customers to their personal information and a summary of the security measures employed by the website. All of these documents will be reviewed by security experts at TRUSTe before the certification is given.

To be accredited by the BBB, applicants must have been operational in a BBB service area for at least one year and must fulfill all licensing and bonding requirements of their jurisdictions. The BBB will also check to ensure that the organization has not been reprimanded by the government for any action that compromises BBB standards. Companies certified by the BBB must also prove that they have advertised honestly, accurately represented their products and services and maintain transparency. This includes disclosing to customers the terms of written contract, the total cost of all transactions and the company's return/refund policy.

Shoppers should familiarize themselves with these seals and always be sure that the company they use to send international money transfers feature these certifications.