Are You Overly Afraid of Identity Theft?

This week I started volunteering one afternoon a week with a local literacy group. They are teaching fundamental computer skills to adults and I’m helping out when needed. We spent our first two hours talking about the parts of a computer and learning to turn it on and off properly. A little boring to my mind, but the five people attending were all excited and can hardly wait until next week.

One thing I was more than a little surprised at was the instructors’ advice about identity theft. She’s an older lady, and told the participants that they should never use online banking or make any online purchases. Since I do both all the time, I don’t really understand her logic.

That’s like saying don’t drive a car because you could get into an accident. Yes, you could, but not taking any risks for fear of harm doesn’t allow for a very fulfilling life. Instead, you need to be careful when doing anything – from driving to banking.

So tell me, what do you think? Is there such a thing as being too careful?


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  1. There certainly is. This from a person who has had two online suspicious activity problems. in both cases having online banking actually helped. I just need to check the transactions each month more closely.

    You probably won’t be able to change the teachers mind, but you might be able to counter her position if she allows it by showing the various safeguards in place. For example any online transaction should take place only if https is showing in the web browser, you should pay by credit card where possible.You are in more real danger if you give your credit card to a waiter to pay your bill with as there are several carbons in each transaction and it doesn’t require that much skill to get the numbers.

    You also need a strong password that you change from time to time.
    The ease with which you can pay bills with no checks, no stamps,no trips to the postoffice, etc. I hope I never have to go back to the old way of paying bills.

    She is a horse and buggy type about to be run over by a car by standing in the way of progress.It’s too bad that some people react this way.I could even go so far as to say that I pity her, but I won’t.

  2. Hi Robert. I tried to mention all of the various safeguards, but the teacher doesn’t trust them either. I liked your example of being in more danger when you pay a restaurant bill with a credit card.

    We had a problem with someone stealing our charge card number and it was after using it to pay for gas at a no-name station. Fortunately, our card was frozen immediately when Visa realized we couldn’t possibly be buying gas in Toronto and 400 miles away (where we were vacationing) within an hour of each purchase. Credit card companies do act on red flags, for which I’m thankful.

  3. Different strokes for different folka, I agree that you can’t be to careful but as I mentioned last time i find the convenience oout weighs the risk.

    Sorry to hear that somebody stole your credit card number.I ‘m involved in a PayPal version of this scam involving my WAMU(soon to be Chase)debit card and have filed a claim with PAYPAL citing unauthorized charges of approx $150 Us dollars total spread over three months.Am no awaiting it’s outcome

    then I may have to file with the Fraud department of WAMU.Translation if PayPal reimburses me i won’t file with WAMU. Naturally a new debit card has been issued and in fact arrived today.Note to self check online accounts monthly.

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