Hi this is Satalaj. in this post I would like to throw some lights on how to investigate websites.
In this virual world it is very difficult to trace who is who and where to trust, here comes some tips that I follow.
Online shopping :
Before shopping online, Subitting your Credit card information look at the merchant profile.
you can get site information like.
Registrant , Administrative Contact, Technical Contact, Site Create date , Expiry date.
To see this information try http://whois.sc or http://www.who.is put the domain name you wanted to investigate.
Note*: for .Net developers you can try my opensource project http://satalajwhois.codeplex.com/ for whois lookup.
see is it using HTTPS:// protocol while posting your sensitive information.
Look at the certificates they have.
Use www.alexa.com to find traffic details for domain name
Don't share your email , personal contacts with third party web. They will send spam messages to your contacts on be half of you.
Paypal : Why PayPal ?
Using paypal you can do secure transaction. your credit card information will not be shared with merchant. How it works ?
you give your credit card info to PayPal once verified you can login to paypal and process the money transaction from your account to merchant.
you can open your PayPal Account here.
Free SMS :
Don;t use online free services for sending messages. merchant can sell your mobile numbers and your friends mobile no. to third party.
and you your freiend will get spam messages in Inbox.
I hope using these tips you will definetly be able to track merchant profile.