What image comes to your mind when you think about identity thieves?
I would guess it isn’t this couple:
Yet these young 20 something’s are suspected of crimes including ID Theft and forgery. You can read about it here and here.
This story just goes to show that it isn’t only faceless criminals hiding behind computer screens that we need to protect ourselves from – it’s also the Joneses living next door.
Barely giving us time for the turkey to digest, some stores are advertising that they will open their doors at 4:00 a.m. this Friday to kick off the official start of the holiday shopping season. And some online retailers have already gotten a jump start and are offering deals starting today. Check out this site for a list of deals both online and bricks and mortar retailers are offering this year.
Earlier this week Consumer Reports released its annual survey on holiday shopping and the results are interesting:
The survey showed a growing preference for shopping online instead of standing in line. More than two-fifths of adults (42 percent) will shop online this year with more women joining the gift-clicking crowd (41 percent this year vs. 37 percent last year). The main allure, those surveyed said, is convenience (48 percent) but some shoppers say they go online for better selection (12 percent) and better prices (11 percent).
Most online consumers shop from home (95 percent), but among those surveyed who work full-time, 21 percent said they shop from work. Of those, 15 percent admitted to shopping during work hours.
Evenings are the most popular time of day to shop online, especially for males (63 percent) and consumers ages 18 to 34 (64 percent). Three-quarters of online shoppers do not have a day of the week when they typically shop but for those who do, shopping online peaks with 43 percent of respondents shopping the Web on Saturdays, followed by 20 percent on Sundays, 11 percent on Fridays and lesser numbers the rest of the week.
Does shopping online save time? Apparently not. Those with Internet access from home will spend about 11 hours shopping online and that’s about the same amount of time — 10 hours — as the general public.
Regardless of if you are visiting a store or shopping online, one thing still remains – you need to protect your identity! Here are some of those over heard but under heeded tips to follow all year long:
- Keep an eye on your credit card every time you use it – whether in a store or in a restaurant, and make sure you get it back as quickly as possible. Try not to let your credit card out of your sight whenever possible.
- Don’t use a debit card for online shopping. If there is a problem, a debit card could give phishers or hackers access to your entire checking and/or savings account. Plus, most debit cards don’t have the same protections that credit cards offer. And along those lines, never provide your credit card information on a website that is not a secure site. You can tell if a site is secure because the web address starts with “https:” (s means it’s secure!) For added safety check for a site certificate before submitting information on a secure page. Confirm the owner of the certificate by clicking on the padlock icon at the bottom of most browsers. You should see the owner listed as well as the site address. This address should match the Web site address at the top of the page; if they do not match, you may be at a fraudulent Web site and should not enter personal data.
- Make sure all of your security software is up-to-date before you do your online shopping. That includes anti-virus software, anti-spyware software, and firewalls.
- Use a separate email account for your online shopping.
- Never enter personal information into a pop-up screen. Unauthorized pop-up screens can be created by identity thieves and the screen may be completely unrelated to the websites you are visiting.
- Never respond to emails asking you to “confirm” recent transactions after you shop. These are phishing scams that coincidentally are sent around the time you shop.
- Trust your instincts. If you feel something isn’t right, investigate more or buy from another vendor.
I do realize that my dedication to posting has been rather sporadic lately. What can I say; it is a busy time of year.
I spent some time this week catching up on what others have been blogging about lately and there are some good posts I want to point out for you.
First, Kim Cameron is back in high gear commenting on identity happenings of late. Be sure to read Ready or Not: Barbie becoming an identity provider which is based on an article by Kevin Poulsen on Wired’s Threat Level last week. You also need to check out Massive breach could involve 94 million credit cards which discusses the update to the TJX breach that happened almost a year ago; Breached which describes the most recent hack to Kim’s blog; and That Elusive Privacy which is a funny look at Kim’s self proclaimed “digital birthday” by Craig Burton and why it couldn’t survive social networking sites. By the way, I also see that Kim was named No 33 on the Top 50 Agenda Setters for 2007. Congratulations.
While you could get lost reading lots of good stuff in/from Kim’s blog there are some more items you should check out elsewhere, including Valleywag’s post about the bank intern who got busted by Facebook. He missed work for a “family emergency” and then posted a picture of himself at a Halloween party in NYC (dressed as a fairy) on his Facebook profile. You might also want to read InformationWeek’s Richard Martin’s post titled Facebook, Feds, Close In On Online Privacy discussing online privacy issues, Google’s OpenSocial and Facebook Ads. Finally, Mark Dixon’s synopsis from Mobile Internet World which took place in Boston this week provides some good insight into the mobile market in general.
What a month. I’ve been back from DIDW for (almost) three weeks and I still haven’t had a chance to blog about the show (or anything else for that matter).
Overall I thought the show was good. I was very pleased to see that there are a lot of smart people at smart companies focused on the issues of identity and working together to take steps toward a solution. Granted Id 2.0 has some hurdles still to overcome (like finding the right economic model for everyone!) but it is good to see that progress is being made because the identity issues we are facing are not going to just go away.
It was nice to finally put a face with some of the names in the identity space too. I’ve added a new name to my suggested links –Doc Searls – who was one of the keynote speakers the first day and very good (both in content and in style).
Since I’ve been back, I’ve been buried with work so I’m keeping this blog post short. I hope to post again soon.