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Good suggestions to protect your personal identity

  1. Apr 1, 2010 #1


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    After reading an e-mail about a lawyer's identity being stolen and what he did to fight back I thought it was good enough to pass on.

    See what you think..
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 1, 2010 #2


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    Looks like good info. Thanks rhody.
  4. Apr 1, 2010 #3
    Why do credit cards still exist? and most importantly, why do some companies only accept them?

    Credit cards are the least safe way to trade ever, if they came on the market today, they would be banned for a ridiculously high risk of fraud. A mate of mine once ordered a thing for free, how? He typed the number and details of the example image credit card on the site.

    You can probably Google an image of a credit card and use that to fraud in a lot of instances.

    Luckily I don't live in the US, credit cards are hardly needed in the Netherlands, we use some-thing that's a thousand times more awesome, it's called a bank pas, it has a code which can take 1 000 different combinations and you get three tries before it blocks, best of all, the code isn't on the pas, neither are your details, the details themselves are stored magnetically on the pass, the code isn't, the details and the code you enter are sent to the database of the bank which checks them with each other there. Amazing invention, and a lot more secure too. To shop on line, we use a thing that's even more awesome, it's called bank transfer.

    Seriously, credit cards should be banned, I will never take one of those, as soon as you have one you've opened yourself to fraud, it's easy to train your memory to the point that visiting a random store leaves you with 7 different names to make out the stuff to you buy on Amazon.
  5. Apr 1, 2010 #4


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    http://thefinancebuff.com/2009/01/one-time-credit-card-numbers-for-more-security.html" [Broken]

    Using the method described below pretty much ensures that your account will never be compromised. A one time transaction number, configurable by date and charge limit, tied to the vendor providing the product/service, after that the number is charged it is useless if compromised.

    Sounds pretty safe to me. I don't have any of the card(s) listed below, but know of a few folks who have been using them this way flawlessly for years. Something to consider.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  6. Apr 1, 2010 #5


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    Just curious, did you run it through snopes.com, or verify the phone numbers ?

    I ran the phone numbers on a free reverse phone search and three out of the four came up a match, if you actually do need to use them, search on their names just to be sure.

    Rhody... :devil:
  7. Apr 1, 2010 #6
    Don't use your real name on forums
  8. Apr 1, 2010 #7


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    The phone numbers match at Snopes? Yikes. The rest of the info seemed valid, but I did not check the phone numbers. Thanks for doing that Rhody.
  9. Apr 1, 2010 #8


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    Voice of experience, Greg (if that's really your name)?
  10. Apr 1, 2010 #9
    Some are useless, or just plain bad advice, and some are good.

    This is pretty much useless. Most merchants don't check anyways. I used to manage a gas station, and anyone who came in with "Photo ID" or similar written on their card told me that I was one of very few who actually asked for their ID. In addition, it's easy enough to rub the writing off the back of the card, and re-sign it, or just use the card online. Better advice is to keep a record of what you've purchased on your card, and reconcile it with your bill as soon as it comes, reporting any fraudulent transactions to your credit card company immediately. They carry insurance, so they don't mind reversing fraudulent transactions.

    If you're reading this, you have internet. Pay your bills through your online banking.

    People still use checks? I can't even remember the last time I wrote a check. Half the time banks don't even confirm that the check is made out to whoever's trying to cash it. Someone stole one of my wife's maternity leave checks and managed to cash it. The bank, apparently, never asked a single question until after we reported the check missing. I've cashed checks made out to my brother and sister before (with their permission), but the bank never asked me about it (my sister's even had a different last name). Point is, checks are insecure. Better advice than above is to simply not use them.

    The rest of it seems to be reasonable.
  11. Apr 2, 2010 #10
    I heard there is some restaurant in New York that will not except currency except for tips. Only credit cards are allowed to pay the bill.
    Link: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125260838282300453.html

    Last I saw, my U.S. paper currency, for transactions in the U.S. says "THIS NOTE IS LEGAL TENDER FOR ALL DEBTS, PUBLIC AND PRIVATE"

    Anyway, not to get off subject. Identity theft through standard currency ALONE is impossible. Identity theft through credit cards is a viable given possibility.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2010
  12. Apr 2, 2010 #11


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    What would you recommend be used in their place, for the main purpose of credit cards, which is credit?

    And how is a credit card less safe than a bank transfer? A bank transfer is also just a string of numbers, but unlike a credit card there is no buffer between the seller and your money: the instant the transfer goes through, the money is gone. A credit card provides you with a buffer and time to deal with a problem.

    And this "bank pas" just sounds like a credit card without the numbers printed on the card. It can only be used in person.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2010
  13. Apr 2, 2010 #12
    Yeah, I think they have to accept it, it's legal currency.

    There was some debate here when the euro first came, starting from 2000, the euro became legal currency together with the guilder, and companies had to accept both, in 2002, only the euro was legal currency.

    Some companies refused to accept euros early on, which led to some lawsuits, because it's state endorsed legal currency, they have no choice.

    You guys don't have bank passes?

    It's basically tied to your bank account, we have on every street an awesome machine in the wall, you put your pass in it, it greets you with 'Hello Mr. .... please input your Personal identification number', you've got three attempts in a month, third wrong, and your card is blocked. Once you've put it in you can ask for money (I think it should be the reverse, but whatever).

    Also, about any shop here allows to 'pay by pin', you simply insert your pas at the cassier there, input that same number, and you've paid for what you bought in 2 seconds of time, no business with change or what-not, a lot of people here don't even carry cash because of the ubiquity of the support for this.

    Also, we have what's called the 'chip wallet', it's a no-contact chip on most bank passes here, you can put electronic currency on it by the aforementioned machine, you then put it on a metal plate and some one can extract it from it. It goes even faster to pay by this, takes less than a second, don't even have to take it out of your wallet. Downside is that it becomes 'money' once it's on it, and if people steal your pass they don't need your code to access whatever's on the chip.

    Surely you have some-thing similar?

    Anyway, credit cards here are viewed as a dangerous thing, a lot of people don't take them for fraud alone, they aren't needed to operate in the EU, if it wasn't for international commerce, they would probably be illegal, they're just too sensitive to fraud. A bank pas is directly connected to your bank account and transfers from there. It has a 4 digit code but it's not visible on it. Most banks also credit you, as in, they're willing to let you get about 500 EUR in the red.

    Bank transfers are safer because you can't just instigate them by simply using information that can be looked up at google image search.

    Also, our latest technological novelty to ensure and protect our decadent lifestyle of being willing to invent technology to safe us from menial tasks: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OV-chipkaart
  14. Apr 2, 2010 #13


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    Regarding the OP itself:

    1. All credit cards should have photos on them. I'd also agree with the suggestion that the number not be printed on cards that you carry with you.

    2. Why would you write your credit card number on a check to your credit card company? :confused:

    4. Sounded like a good ide at first, but then I realized I know exactly what is in my wallet (a drivers' license, a debit card and sometimes a credit card). If this guy needs a photocopy of everything, he's carrying too much crap in his wallet. And his methods are out of date: any bank or credit card company website will allow you to report a card stolen. You don't need the phone number (and don't have to wait on hold!).

    In addition:
    -I buy most things in person with a debit card for money management reasons. I only carry a credit card (sometimes) as a back-up. If I were more concerned about safety, I'd buy everything with a credit card and keep the debit card at home unless I needed cashe.

    -Buy online with credit cards, not debit cards or direct bank transfers. They are safer because they add a buffer between the world and your money.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2010
  15. Apr 2, 2010 #14


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    That doesn't sound different from a debit/atm card. Since they have been combined, you can use it either in debit mode (where you need to enter the pin) or credit card mode (where you don't need to enter the pin). The two should probably be separated into different cards.

    But you didn't answer my question: how can this replace or be safer than credit? These cards directly access your bank account so if someone steals one, they can quickly steal all the money in your bank account. A credit card, on the other hand, is not linked to your bank account and thus lowers your exposure to theft.
    Of course you can! A bank transfer uses the information found on every check you've ever written. Lose a check (or have the number stolen online) and whoever finds it can now directly access your bank account. I'd never use such a thing except for the most trusted transactions (paying regular bills) and would always do it via mail.
  16. Apr 2, 2010 #15
    Like Russ notes it is similar to our "ATM/Debit" cards. They are attached to your checking account and make a transaction against your account when ever you use it. Ours do not always go through immediately, though it seems that they are speeding the process up, and the "wallet chip" I have heard of similar things but they are not yet common here.
    These cards have the number on them though and with how forgetful people are if they cut your account every time you forgot your pin a lot of people here would get really mad.

    About a year ago mine was canceled without my knowledge apparently due to some suspicious activity in regard to my card number. They could not fix it without my going to a bank, which sort of angered me since banks are not open during the time of day that I am up and working and such. And on top of that under no circumstances would they tell me anything about what happened with my card number. I had no idea who where or when regarding the people who had apparently attempted to fraudulently use my card number.
  17. Apr 2, 2010 #16


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    and I thought this would be one of those simple bit of advice threads, that everyone who wished could use. I guess for some, nothing is that simple or straighforward.

    Rhody... :cry:
  18. Apr 2, 2010 #17


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    I don't understand your dissatisfaction. From this thread, I've obtained some useful knowledge, enjoyed a few laughs, and acquired some new perspectives. Cheer up! :wink:
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2010
  19. Apr 2, 2010 #18


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    Thanks Dembadon,

    I appreciate the good words...

    Rhody... :smile:
  20. Apr 2, 2010 #19
  21. Apr 2, 2010 #20


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    It is also a good idea to check your three credit reports regularly. It may not have helped the person in the original post but, it can still be helpful. One of my coworkers recently had problems getting a loan because his credit report indicated that he had seven homes. Several belonged to his father and one to a guy on the other side of the country. Everyone had the same name and he had them all lumped on his account. This is the second time that they've mixed up the records like this.
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