Few of us have had to deal with the terrible affliction of identity theft, but if you assume that it won’t happen to you think again. With the creation of large scale electronic communication, whether through email or the Internet, people’s personal information is everywhere. This has allowed people to do wonderful things, both personally and professionally. Someone with a small business in Denver can advertise their craft or expertise online and someone in New York City can look at and purchase them. There are all sorts of personal connections made online as well, with thousands of couples meeting each other and many friendships made through social networking sites. This sharing of information provides us with many opportunities to grow and expand our lives, but it also means that others can use this information for illegal purposes. Identity theft skyrocketed around the world with the invention of the Internet and it continues to increase to this day.
Identity theft, put simply, is the stealing of a person’s identity for the purpose of illegally earning money. There are many different types of identity theft and you need to learn about each one so that you can recognize it before it comes. One of the most common modes of identity theft is using an Internet connection to gain someone’s personal information. Many internet connections are not safe, meaning that someone else could be watching what you are doing from another computer.
If the wrong person were to watch you making a purchase at the wrong time you could have your identity stolen. When you purchase something online these days, and many people are doing a good portion of their shopping online, you simply input your name and credit card information. A person who was watching your transaction from another computer would only need to write down your name and your credit card information.
At this point they could go online and simply input your information in your place and purchase anything they want. It would be very hard to prove that you were not the person that purchased something, because all that is necessary to buy most things online is a name and some basic credit card information. Although some credit card companies will be understanding in these situations, don’t count on your company to believe you. It is simply your word against the word of someone who is not even present, and the credit card company has no real incentive to believe you when they could lose money.
The best way to avoid this sort of problem is to obtain a secured Internet connection, although this usually requires that you purchase service from an Internet service provider. These connections are not full proof, but they are generally pretty good and the companies stake their reputations on them. At least with a secure connection you can rest knowing that you have done all that you can do to keep your information safe. This does not mean, however, that you should ever purchase anything that does not use a secured payment method. You only want to use sites that have a secure payment service like paypal. Even with a secure Internet connection someone could use your payment information if you buy something on the wrong site. This is particularly the case with businesses that are not established and which might simply be scams. You probably only want to purchase things on well-established sites that have several different companies advertising on them. Following these basic guidelines will help to keep you safe from identity theft.