The Internet and Identity Theft


The Internet is the platform for information exchange and a communication channel for the uplift of science and technology but in recent years, the Internet has also become an appealing place for criminals to obtain identifying data, such as passwords or even banking information. In their routine to explore the exciting features of the Internet, many people respond to "spam" –and/or unsolicited e-mail(s)¬ that promises them some benefit but requests identifying data, without realizing that in many cases, the requester has no intention of keeping his promise. In some cases, criminals reportedly have used computer technology to obtain large amounts of personal data and use them for their malicious purposes. With enough identifying information about an individual (who attends to those spam unsolicited e-mails), a criminal can take over that individual's identity to conduct a wide range of crimes. These crimes range from small degree crime to high degrees such as false applications for loans and credit cards, fraud withdrawals from bank accounts, fraud use of telephone calling cards, or obtaining other goods or privileges which the criminal might be denied if he were to use his real name. If the criminal takes steps to ensure that bills for the falsely obtained credit cards, or bank statements showing the unauthorized withdrawals, are sent to an address other than the victim's, the victim may not become aware of what is happening until the criminal has already inflicted substantial damage on the victim's assets, credit, and reputation.

The Internet and Identity Theft

To avoid such problems; and blaming internet as bane instead of boon, you should avoid responding to spam and unsolicited mails. Also, one should never disclose one-self’s personal information and data openly in front of first encounter individual. Because you are never sure of the one sitting across peers and talking to you is a new friend or a evil identity thief. Also, while marketing online you should take care while transacting. Some key steps to follow while transacting online are:

1.  Always perform Address Verification Service (AVS) and Card Verification Value (CVV) checks. If the order passes both checks, accept the order for further processing but do not in any case accept the credit card charge. Instead, select the "Authorization/Pending Capture" option because fraudsters can easily obtain information to pass these checks. This helps in putting a check on fraudsters who surpass the first two checks. Failing the CVV check indicates that the purchaser may not be in possession of the actual card. Orders that fail the AVS check should be processed with more caution.

2.  Search for the customer's IP address with a geo location service provider that also detects anonymous proxies and other such software that setup fake IP. In most cases, the general geographical location of the IP address should match either the billing or shipping address until and unless the client is not out of place (that could be confirmed some other ways). Orders from anonymous proxies are considered to have higher risks because fraudsters often use anonymous proxies to hide their true IP addresses.

3.  Check for the geographical location of the IP address against known high-risk countries such as Egypt, Ghana, Indonesia, Lebanon, Macedonia, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Ukraine, and Vietnam. These are the places from where due to liberal laws fraudsters are most active.

4.  Check if the goods will be shipped to a mail-forwarding company when the shipping and billing address are different. An order with a mail-forward address is considered risky since the goods may be shipped overseas.
5.  Ensure that the provided zip code corresponds to the city and state fields for both billing and shipping address. AVS only checks the zip code and the numeric portion of the street address. Fraudsters may not always have the complete address and may be too lazy do zip codes reverse lookup for additional information.

6.  Request that the customer fax a signed authorization form with copies of the front and back of the credit card if the order is suspicious. This is usually fairly effective but fraudsters have been known to be able to create images of the front and back of credit cards using graphic design software.

7.  Ask the customer to provide the bank name and customer service phone number as listed on the credit card. Call customer service to verify if the given phone number matches records for the cardholder. If it matches, call the customer to authorize the transaction. If they are unaware of the purchase, suggest that they call the credit card company and report the card as stolen. This is one of the most effective methods, but is time-consuming.

These listed up check points ensure safe and secure online marketing. There are further more precautions while you surf and shop online. There are schemes designed for nothing more than to get your personal information. Adjust your browser settings to reject cookies whenever possible. However, despite your most diligent efforts, you may need to consult experts for some specific cases. Never hesitate to do so; because a simple hesitation can cost a big identity theft hazard for you.