Recently a news report announced that several thousand pin pads in Michael’s Arts and Crafts Stores had been tampered with, leading to the theft of many avid crafters. An unfortunate event for many of those who had once felt the safety of their pin numbers. One such person had left a blog entry/ local report for Libertyville IL( Which can be found here: http://triblocal.com/libertyville/2011/05/05/reporter-hit-by-craft-store-theft-ring/) commenting on how her uncle had been right .
“I felt stupid. My conspiracy theorist Uncle Bob was right — I shouldn’t have shopped online, I shouldn’t bank online. Somehow I made it easy for someone else to get hold of my money, I thought.”
I couldn’t help but chuckle a little. It would be the craft store wouldn’t it?
Identity theft is common on an individual scale, someone can waltz into your cyberspace and takes down a few numbers and boom! But mass events like this are not so common. Mainly because of the extensiveness of the scheme it’s self, which meant actually having to physically be in the stores to tamper with the technology, or perhaps in the technology’s manufacturing company. However this particular reporter felt what all people do after getting stolen from, whether it be a mugging, home invasion, or a stolen debit card. A feeling of severe vulnerability. Thankfully many banks had been on top of things when hearing this news. Most of them sent out new Debit Cards, and many others suggested a complete change of account just to be safe and insured their customers. More on the subject can be found online.
Hacking and Phishing are problems yes, but so is the ignorance of the consumer. Most people don’t even think twice before buying something online from sources that only seem legitimate. Even places that are seemingly safe are not exempt from being had. Here a few tips to help you be a smarter cyber consumer:
1) Learn what personal info to keep private. Names and addresses can’t do much, but giving out maiden-names of parents and dates of birth can increase those chances, and of course never give out your SS # online to an unfamiliar site.
2) Your identity can be stole from everywhere, including your mail, your computer, and your trash. Suggestions: shred all your mail in a fine shredder and never throw it away whole. As for your computer, log out of EVERY SITE that has a personal login and DO NOT keep lists of passwords and usernames anywhere in public view.
3) Never keep SS card in wallet, never give out personal info via phone, and immediately report lost or stolen debit and credit cards.
4) Here is a website with more practical ways to prevent Identity theft. http://www.yourcreditadvisor.com/blog/2006/10/the_ultimate_gu.html
Remember, technology is helpful when used wisely, and when it isn’t used wisely, make sure you’re prepared. As for those who are afraid to use online banking and debit cards, it’s okay to do so, just be wise about how much you keep in those accounts and how much you use your debit card for in-store purchases and remember most banks ensure your money. Always keep a secure buffer account with extra cash just in case if you feel it necessary.