We've all seen the movies where some evil government agency wants to get someone, and so they cut off their access to credit cards.
Before the identity theft explosion, it was usually a bad credit report, not bad spies, causing the problem.
But now, thanks to hacks of financial institutions, social media and the U.S. government, we have entered a new era of digital larceny. Nothing on the internet is safe, and it is not unrealistic to believe that your credit card information is already in the hands of identity thieves. It is time to think about escaping from the internet.
Before the computer age, people safely did business with green cash and paper checks. They knew their bankers and the people they did business with. Credit cards were often issued by the business selling to cardholders, and general-purpose cards like American Express were hard to get. The vast government and private databases, spawned by computers and the internet, did not exist.
Nostalgia for the past won't help you, but returning to some of the practices of years past can protect you from danger, even if you can't completely escape from the internet. Here are some ideas to consider:
- Do all the business you can with green cash. Nobody ever hacked a dollar bill.
- Pay your bills with paper checks. Your bank is obligated to protect you if someone presents a forged check.
- Develop personal relationships at your bank and where you shop. If you have a problem, you will be heard, because they know you.
- Avoid shopping on the internet because your confidential information will be hacked if it isn't already.
- Avoid credit cards and instead use debit cards tied to a special bank account with limited funds. You can count on that card number being stolen, and you will probably get the money back, but only a limited amount of your money and information will be at risk.
- Do not let anyone autodraft your accounts. It is just a matter of time until your account will be compromised.
- Do not avail yourself of online banking which allows you to send funds from your accounts electronically. Hackers can do the same, and your bank may not be liable to repay you.
- Put a freeze on credit inquiries at the credit bureau. You shouldn't be getting new credit if you're out of the net.
- Don't use social media. But if you must, do not give out personal information like birthdates unless you want to "friend" a hacker.
- Get rid of your smartphone. Scientific studies show that smartphone users suffer substantial reductions in mental and social skills. Smartphones make dumb people.
As Solomon said: "Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird" (Prov. 1:17).
Now that you can clearly see the trap set for you by the internet, you can escape.
Ron Allen is a Christian businessman, CPA and author who serves in local, national and international ministries, spreading a message of reconciliation to God, to men and between believers. He is founder of the International Star Bible Society, telling how the heavens declare the glory of God; the Emancipation Network, which helps people escape from financial bondage; and co-founder with his wife, Pat, of Corporate Prayer Resources, dedicated to helping intercessors.
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