Saturday, November 14, 2009
It was definitely an inconvenience but we considered ourselves lucky that they caught it in such a timely manner. It could have been much worse. However, as I understand it, the majority of the time, the thieves have already moved on to some other poor sucker before your card is even discovered to have been harvested. That's how these snakes operate.
There are a lot of evil people out there in cyberspace who are just itching to separate you from your hard earned dollars, so we need to know a few guidelines to protect ourselves, especially with the onset of the holiday season fast approaching.
I like to buy a certain amount of things online because of the convenience, but there are specific rules to keep in mind when doing so. First of all, never ever register when buying from online stores. All that does is save all of your credit card information, making it accessible by anyone within that company.
Any time you buy online somewhere, you need to constantly change your passwords and/or security questions. Thieves count on the fact that most people don't do this. Believe it or not, they often have programs they use to break into your computer, so you need to stay a step or two ahead of them.
Of course, the CARDINAL RULE is never, under any circumstances, give out your social security number or use it in any passwords. That opens you up to Identity Theft as well. You could offer to give only the last four digits, which is normally acceptable.
Another thing to remember is use a mix of numbers and letters, even upper and lower case. It makes it much more difficult for the thieves. And don't write down your passwords. Memorize them and you'll be much safer in the long run.
Cyberspace is a frightening world indeed, but if you keep *changing things up*, your odds of not getting scalped are so much better. Just use common sense and go with your gut feelings, because they are usually right.
I still believe there are more good people in the world than bad, but they don't seem to be working as hard at being good as the bad people are working at being bad.