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Is shopping online really safe?
September 29, 2007|BlatheringsOp/Ed

Is shopping online really safe?

This is the third card I have received now on my MasterCard account, because the account number has been compromised. I am beginning to think that I should not be shopping online at all anymore.

Once

The first time it happened I am unsure if initially it was an online issue, or if some unscrupulous knit in the agency took the card, but I do know for a fact it was someone who worked at the Rental car agency I rented a car from while I was on vacation – the last time I went back left. There were like 6 airline tickets purchased, some when I picked the car up – and some when I dropped it off. All purchased on the exact days of the pickup/drop off; tough deduction there. I don’t know if they ever did anything about it – but I did write a letter complaining about it.

Twice

Just the other week apparently. I tried to use my card online the week before, and I couldn’t – came up declined. The next day I received the new card. This was, weird – since my card had an expiration date of a few years out. The best part? I received no phone call from the Credit Card holder, nor did it say anything about suspicious activity on the page of barf that accompanied my card. I found out by looking online at my statement. Nice; very nice. I called their customer service and they won’t tell me who the chuckleheads are who had their database hacked, and got my data stolen. This is important to me! I want to know so I cannot shop with them anymore.

Third time’s the charm

Now I am on card #3. I’m not happy with them right now any way, they hiked up my interest rate a ton, and won’t lower it – so I paid the balance and will most likely cancel the card altogether. Don’t get me wrong, I like CitiBank, they handled the theft issue very well and I paid not a single cent. Since we missed a couple of payments while I was going through the Transplant party in Pittsburgh, they are taking me to the cleaners on the APR. And they could care less about the circumstances. Not surprising really, they must get great song and dance routines. Still – I’m not real big on throwing money down a hole – so I am switching back to American Express.

One thing I am doing right now is getting rid of all of the online data in the sites I have shopped at where they store the Credit Card information for you to make your shopping experience more pleasant. There are a couple of companies that I have recurring billing with, so hopefully it wasn’t those dodos that resulted in my data being stolen.

Anymore it appears as if consumers have very little, if any, control over what companies do with their data and how (well or poorly) they store it. The Corporate Privacy Policy expounds for paragraphs how securely it’s stored, and how judiciously it is used; existing only to lull people into buying more stuff from them. The only exception could be Amazon. I have had my data lost by the VA at least 3 times now, my credit card number stolen twice – Lord only knows what else might be out there that just hasn’t happened yet. None of this was through negligence on my part – always by the hand of some third party.

I’m not sure what can be done about it though, and it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

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