Saturday, July 07, 2007

Philippine Identity Theft

Identity theft is fast becoming a major problem in the world today, and the Philippines is no exception. Although Pinoys seldom buy things online using credit cards or conduct business and banking transaction via the internet compared to some of our Asian neighbors, the number of people doing so will continue to rise. For business owners, securing our online site will prevent unnecessary loss arising from fraud. We live in an age where everything from our tax record, social security number, bank account and credit card information can be hacked or phished by individuals with the intention to steal from us. Those of us who open our emails everyday are greeted with spam messages from people who have claimed we won something, inherited a fortune, offering us a great job or saying that our bank or credit card records needs updating or there has been a suspicious transaction and they need to verify some information with us. Take caution, these are design to get our personal information so its best to delete these types of email as soon as you receive them and do not bother opening them if you don't know the person who send it to you.

The sad thing about this is identity thieves will not stop thinking of new ways to scam us because there is a lot of easy money to be made and people need to be more aware how to secure their computer. Installing security software like anti virus and firewalls and update them regularly and install a pop up blocker. When purchasing in the store using your credit card, never let it out of your sight and watch out for skimmers where you use your card. use debit cards that uses a signature rather than punching in a PIN code. When shopping online, shop only on secure websites by looking at the padlock or https in the address bar. This is very important as you will need to enter your credit card details. Another scam that has been wide spread in the Philippines is the text scam where the victim will receive a text message that he or she have won a certain amount of cash but they must first deposit money in a bank account or give them load money for taxes. Be aware of this scam and remember the rule that if you did not join any contest in the first place then be on your guard and report the suspicious activity to the proper authorities.

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