Although the population owes the majority of its advancements and conveniences to technology, its continuous rise equally heightened the people’s risk for identity theft. With various forms of identity theft getting more and more advanced, here’s the good news – our technology works just as hard to catch perpetrators and recover stolen identities.
Here are five ways technology such as ecommerce software assists a development company and its customers from potential identity theft:
Chip Technology for Added PIN Protection
Led by financial institutions such as EuroPay, Mastercard, and Visa, chip technology prevents customer details and identity from being stolen. Chip technology works by inserting security chips in credit and debit cards issued to customers.
The chips present in these cards require customers to enter a PIN as proof of ownership for their accounts. If either the signature or PIN is left unmatched, the chips alert the merchant of the potential misuse and theft of the card. Furthermore, the two-step authentication these chips require prevents hackers from using the card for online transactions.
Encryption for Secure, Authorized Access
Known as one of the basic methods that merchants use to protect customers doing business with their companies, encryption prevents identity thieves from accessing the customers’ private information such as their account or routing numbers, credit or debit card PINs, and Social Security numbers, among others.
Encryption often takes action during a transaction’s point-of-sale or when information from the purchase is being sent to an authorized bank for payment. When an identity thief attempts to steal a customer’s private details during the mentioned processes, the encryption ensures that the subjected information will be inaccessible to the perpetrator – halting a case of identity theft from taking place.
Multi-factor Authentication for Maximum Protection
Another form of identity verification that companies use is multi-factor authentication. This method works by using features or information that would be unique and/or exclusive to each customer. Meaning, no customer will have the same set of answers. Among the private details often required with transactions using this verification method include the following:
- PIN (Personal Identification Number)
- Case-sensitive Password
- Answer to a Security Question
- Biological features such as fingerprint, iris, or voice
- Throughout the transaction, customers may be asked to correctly answer two or more of these mentioned details before purchases or accounts can be accessed
Touch-to-Pay Technology for Reduced Risks on Online Payment
The last method is something that is becoming more common in the US today – which is touch-to-pay technology. This reduces the amount of information that customers need to hand in to their merchants. For example, Apple Pay allows customers to store both their credit and debit card information into their devices such as their smartphones and laptops. This approach allows customers to conduct online payments without actually forwarding their account information to corresponding merchants.
How Customers Can Protect Their Identities via Technology
As the prevention of any other fraudulent schemes, the successful reduction (or even elimination) of identity theft cases is a two-way street. Just as how companies utilize the latest technologies to protect their customers, customers should likewise do their part in ensuring that their accounts won’t fall prey to identity thieves. Here are six ways to do so:
- Avoid giving out your PINs and passwords to others
- Avoid sharing your identity and banking information via email, letter, or the phone
- Instead of storing them in purses and wallets, keep your letters, cards, and other important documents which include your Social Security numbers in a secure lockbox
- Make it a habit to shred or destroy documents and letters that contain personal information such as banking statements and credit card offers
- Regularly check your credit reports, bank statements, and bills for any suspicious activity
- Use only secured and authorized websites in making purchases and other financial transactions
Key Take Away
Did you know that victims of identity theft may suffer an astounding $50,000 of financial losses? Add that to the thousands of dollars needed to fix their credit histories, and you’re left with a well-fabricated crime that affects millions of Americans annually – in exchange for billions of dollars in damage to the economy.
While alarming, new technology is thankfully keeping up with newer innovations for heightened verification and security features. However, our dependence on today’s technology shouldn’t strip off individual vigilance – as these two elements go hand-in-hand to prevent thousands and millions of identities from falling victim to identity theft – including yours.