Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Did You Win the Nigerian Lottery?

The holidays are behind us now, with their massive amounts of online spending. I remember hearing someone joke that Black Friday and Cyber Monday were followed by Identity-Theft Tuesday. Well, in a way, they were right. But according to this article every day is "Identity Theft Day" in the underworld of the internet. Nefarious nere-do-wells can buy a person's credit information for reasonably cheap (I can just hear it now: "what do you mean MY credit information was only worth $500!")

While some retailers are utilizing ways to combat this, making sure your IP address and credit card number are from the same region of the US, etc. But what about you? What can you do, to proactively take responsibility for your rear end? Well, first off, don't respond to phishing emails (Go ahead, roll your eyes, but apparently some people really do believe they won the Nigerian lottery.) After that, just be aware. Look at the website you're going to make a transaction with. Does it say "https://....." (emphasis on the "S") in the checkout address bar? Is there a little padlock on the bottom right side of your window? Does something just not "feel right" about the website? If the answer to any of these three is "no" then don't do business with them. Find what you need elsewhere, it is the interwebz after all.

*At least I'm not beating the "secure password" drum again, right? But you do need one, you know.

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