Friday, April 02, 2010

What is it with our society that DEMANDS you conduct financial business electronically?

I dislike this trend a lot. Yeah, call me a dinosaur or a Luddite. But I have already had one instance of someone scamming my wife's Paypal account and running up thousands of dollars of charges on it. In the last couple of weeks:

- I have tried to use a iTunes gift card I got as a Christmas present. They demand that you give them all your personal information, like address and telephone number, in order to redeem something that has already been paid for. Why is this necessary?

- I have tried to sign my daughter up with the AAU website so she can play on an AAU basketball team. It appears there is no way you can pay the fee without giving them your credit card number.

- I have already complained about the fact that eBay now requires you to have a Paypal account to do the transactions. The only benefit is to them, of course, since they own Paypal and charge $45 yearly to have such an account. There is no other reason.

This is stupid, unnecessary and absolutely dangerous. I work for a government agency and have gotten briefings about safeguarding personal information. We even got an FBI agent to come out from the local office to give us a briefing once. She said something like, "If people really knew how all this worked and knew the risks involved, no one would ever use a computer again." I just had my yearly required security briefing that made me just absolutely despondent about how many frikkin' crooks there are out there in the world, waiting to pounce.

I am refusing, as much as I can, to play along with this trend. Why am I being required to open up my personal and financial information, in a world we know is full of risks regarding identity theft, just to do the simplest transactions?

I am not sure what to do yet about my daughter's desire to play AAU basketball. I may have to go ahead and bite the bullet. But I really, really hate this.

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