If you have seen advertisements on TV where a big, burly guy is speaking in a squeaky, girlie voice, you probably know what identity theft is. Simply put, it is when someone steals your credit cards or social security number, then poses as you and spends to his hearts delight.
Identity theft is not something that is just over-hyped in the media or something bizarre you see in the movies. It is something very real, which is growing at an astronomical rate and anyone can be a target.
How Do I know if the Website is Secure?
If you shop online frequently, you should always make sure that the credit card information you provide is encrypted and the site is secure. This is crucial if you want to prevent identity theft. One easy way to find out if the site is secure is by locating a small, yellow lock sign on the lower right hand corner of the web site.
Another way is to right-click your mouse and read the properties tab. The web address should read as https…. The ‘s’ is important as it shows the site is secure and the information you will enter will be encrypted, or coded before it is transmitted so that potential hackers and other abusers of the internet can not get a hold of it.
Even if you think that you shop on reliable sites only, you might be caught unaware if you go to the site from a link on a non-secure page. If you are still uneasy about entering your checking account or credit card information online, most major online retailers and businesses have toll-free numbers where you can order by phone.
Another way identity theft is on the rise is when people conduct all their transactions, not just shopping, online. We respond to offers, try our luck in some get-rich-quick scheme and click on links to scams and marketing gimmicks that just want you to enter some information. Unfortunately, identity theft is one such lesson that is often learnt the hard way.
This does not mean that you stop using the internet completely. The web has a host of useful information and convenient options for us to avail. We just need to be alert and aware of the possibilities of identity theft so that some loser half way across the world isn’t buying a diamond necklace for his girlfriend with our hard earned money!