Sunday, August 14, 2011

Misplaced Sense of Security

I've noticed something strange in the past few months.

To be clear, this refers to my parts and tech support job, not my telemarketing job.

People have starting becoming hesitant on giving out their email addresses, which is very good for them. I've even spoken to someone who didn't want to give out her phone number out of fear we might sell it, until I had spent five minutes assuring her that the only purpose we use phone numbers for is if there's a problem with her credit card or as an alternative way to look up her account.

However, after I had rung up the order, she gave me her credit card number and let me read it back to her without the slightest concern. No inquiries on whether we stored it, whether the call center I was sitting in was secure (some places won't read it back because they don't trust their own employees), no nothing.

She felt more of a cause for concern giving out her phone number than her credit card. In my mind, that's just wrong.

People seem to think technology is dangerous, and indeed it is, but only if you refuse to understand it. People seem to think that they're safer buying something in the store or over the phone than over the internet; that is blatantly untrue.

I remember hearing a few years back (but can't remember the source) that only forty percent of stolen credit card numbers were from internet traps (and most of those were avoidable if people had bothered to educate themselves); the other sixty percent came from non-internet sources (duh, process of elimination, no?).

What kinds of non-internet sources?

Well, for one, cell phone cameras have advanced enough to the person at the grocery store who you think is just texting near the checkout aisles might actually be taking pictures of your card. I also have received calls from plenty of people placing orders from work, and I can't believe that all those people work in offices (and I know for a fact from hearing the background noises that they don't!).

People instead turn to something they don't fully understand, and put all the blame on that, especially when it comes to technology, instead of admitting that they might have done something really stupid while grocery shopping.

Please: take the time to learn about technology around you. You don't have to be an expert, you just have to know how to stay safe. It doesn't take a black belt in karate to keep yourself safe from muggers on the street, just a healthy dose of (un)common sense.