Shop online, protect your privacy

Like many people, I buy things online. Unlike many people, I’m a bit of a privacy freak. I only use anonymous prepaid debit cards, and I don’t give out my real name, address, birthdate, or other personal information. If I’m buying something that needs to be shipped, I use a mail drop, not my home address.

Of course, most web sites ask for name, address, and phone number whether or not they need it. Some also check them against the name and address on your credit card using AVS.

Regardless, I avoid giving out my information. I’ve been keeping track of what can be ignored, what can be faked, and what has to be real on many ecommerce web sites I’ve used.

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4 thoughts on “Shop online, protect your privacy

  1. Privacy concern in Internet is really a big issue. I usually look for https when i’m on my office network to ensure those data is encrypted. It really scare me off to read news of credit card fraud throughout the newspaper.. :/


  2. Here is a major dilema

    Given the choice which one would you take

    1) A payment option that keeps 0 information on, no sign up, no transaction info, nothing, just an email address, would you use it? What if this option open you up for fraud?
    2) Suppose this payment option asks you for a sign on, or a one time verification of your identity but never again does it track your transactions, would you use it?

    Are people willing to give up some information (once) to guarantee their security and privacy?


    – Sam

  3. hrm. good question.

    i’d probably be ok with #1. fraud is usually borne by the merchant, not the customer…but regardless, it’s just a cost of doing business. as long as the average cost of fraud to me was no more than, say, 2% of my total transaction volume, i’d accept that as another cost of protecting my privacy.

    i probably wouldn’t be ok with #2. actually, let me rephrase. if it was a one-time id verification, after which they threw out my information, and i could guarantee that, i’d be ok with it.

    that’s pretty doubtful, though. if they keep the information, they’re going to be very tempted to use it. they might just use it in aggregate (doubtful), or they might connect it with my information in other databases but sanitize the personally identifying parts (still doubtful)…but regardless, they’ve used it, and negated any privacy protection i might have otherwise had.

  4. I hear you, except of cource that no matter what the company says they will do with the information, no one would believe them. Too many bad apples have created distrust online.

    But I completley understand what you are saying.


    – Sam

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