Saturday, February 11, 2012

Identity security without the fees -- just how far should one go?

Alina Tegund has an important piece in the New York Times, “preventing identity theft without paying th the monthly fees”, link.

She say that you can get the banks to warn you about every debit card withdrawal, and lists a lot of other things to check.  And she does recommend shredding of paper.  I would add, have a maximum ATM withdrawal or debit card transaction for any 24-hour period.  All banks will offer this. 

Why go to some much trouble?  Shouldn’t the banks be responsible for protecting you?  Well, they do, to a great extent (watch it with debit cards).   The biggest problem isn’t so much stolen cards as counterfeit ones. 
The ethical issue or philosophical one is that the buck stops somewhere, and ultimately it’s still the consumer.  Why?  You can’t have freedom without it.  True, banks may be in a position to protect their customers, but then must other businesses always protect everyone from any form of downstream liability?  What would this mean on the Web?

Admittedly, many people, in practice, are much harder to forge than others.  Many people, in practice, are not a much risk.  It pays to check your accounts online regularly. 

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