Transaction Security

Security on the USA Softball’s Web Site.

By Security, we mean the ways we make sure the information you send us remains secure. We also have a Privacy Statement.

If you don’t find your concern addressed here, feel free to contact us by e-mail or phone (1-800-654-8337).

Security Page Contents:

  1. Is my credit card number secure?
  2. What does the “warning” window that sometimes comes up really mean?
  3. Why do I hear so much about security on the Internet?
  4. What’s the worst thing that could happen?
  5. How do I know if a Web site is secure?
  6. Which parts of the website are secure?

Is my credit card information secure?
We have taken many steps to ensure the security of your transaction. Some of them involve adopting industry standards. (For example, the secure connection between your browser and sensitive portions of our site uses industry standard encryption.)

To show our faith in this system, we guarantee it. There is no risk, period. If anything happens, we’ll make sure that you owe nothing. Our aim is simply to enable you to make transactions with confidence.

What does this “warning” window that comes up in the ordering process really mean?
On some browsers, this window can be a bit intimidating. But it simply means that you’re entering the safest, most secure area of our Web site.

This should be reassuring since this is where credit card transactions take place. Click to continue. Going from Secure mode to insecure mode, you’ll likely receive another similar alert message, just to make sure you know what’s happening.

Why do I hear so much about security on the Internet?
Several things conspire to make Internet security a newsworthy item. First, it’s relatively new, so people wonder and talk and write about it. Secondly, the Internet is “technology,” so people find it interesting to discuss. And tend to be a little suspicious of it.

The Internet has always thrived on openness. It has been the “Internet way” for someone to release something-a piece of software, a networking specification, a security protocol-and then have lots of smart people try to find flaws in it, lending their ideas for making it better. It has proven to be a remarkably effective development process. But for people unfamiliar with it, to see each new release of a browser, for example, get pounded on and picked apart, can be rather disconcerting. We take numerous steps to ensure your transactions are safe and your information is protected.

What’s the worst thing that could happen?
Regardless of what happens on our site – a slip of the mouse (unlikely), a security breach (highly unlikely) – there is no risk to you. In the case of fraud, we’ll assume all liability for what you owe. In most states, this means that we’ll pick up the first $50, and the credit card company takes responsibility for the rest. In addition, we’ll do our very best to work with the credit card company to minimize the hassle for you.

As with our merchandise guarantee, there are no conditions and no second-guessing. If you think something’s wrong, then it is – and we’ll fix it.

How do I know if a Web site is secure?
For accuracy sake, we’re going to get a bit detailed here. When buying something on the Internet, there are three things to be sure of:

  • Data you send is strongly encrypted.
  • The site you’re doing business with is the site you think it is.
  • The site you’re doing business with processes your credit card and address information in a safe and responsible manner.

Points 1 and 2 are taken care of by SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), the industry standard security protocol that the Official Gear site uses to communicate with secure browsers like Netscape and Internet Explorer. When communicating with a secure server like ours, these browsers encrypt the information you send in a way that is extremely difficult for anyone else to decode. (You don’t have to know whether your browser supports secure transactions- if it doesn’t, you won’t be able to complete the checkout process.)

Many security experts say the most important thing is what happens once the merchant receives your order. At, we take several steps to keep things on our end as safe as possible. For example, we process web orders into a secured accounting application to be managed and processed. We do our order processing on machines that aren’t connected to the Internet, so there’s no danger of people gaining access to them. We do not keep your credit card numbers stored anywhere on our computers, in fact, your credit card information is encrypted and handled by the credit card authorization company – VeriSign. Your credit card information is never seen or handled by a human being, thus making the transaction much safer than paying for your meal with a credit card at your local restaurant.

Which parts of the site are secure?
Most of the activity on our site involves the viewing of materials we’ve prepared and made accessible to everyone, so there’s no need for these pages to be “secure”. With a product page or an information page for example, no security risk exists because there is no “information” being exchanged. Anyone can access the same pages by pointing their browser at

The portion of the site we’ve made secure is, not surprisingly, the checkout area where you enter your credit card number. This is where you actually purchase the items you’ve put into your Shopping Basket.

There are several ways to confirm that you’re in a secure area. All SSL capable browsers have a symbol to indicate secure mode. Specifically:

You can also tell when you’re in a secure area because the URL to the left of the colon changes from ‘http’ to ‘https’ to signify that a SSL protocol is being used to communicate with the server. (http = HyperText Transport Protocol; https = HTTP with SSL.) In most browsers you’ll also see a solid blue line in the upper portion of the browser’s window – another visual aid that lets you know you’re browsing a secure area.

BrowserSymbol LocationNormal (Insecure) mode SymbolSecure Mode Symbol
Netscape 1.2, 2.0 and 3.0Lower leftBroken KeyComplete Key
Netscape Communicator (4.0)Lower leftOpen LockClosed Lock
Microsoft Internet ExplorerLower RightNONEClosed Lock

One additional note: some browsers give you a warning when you go from a secure area to a regular area. The aim is worthy enough – to ensure that people know when they’ve left a secure server. But in practice, the message is often a bit startling, and makes it look like you’ve done something wrong even though you really haven’t.