Few Things to Consider When Contacting a Blogger Online
Thanks to the Internet, a whole new industry has opened. In fact, several new industries have opened up, and new careers had been created with the Internet continues to become a staple of life. One emerging online industry is pro-blogging, or professional blogging. Pro-blogging sounds like a very interesting new field, right? It is glamorous indeed for those who have been in the industry for long. These pro-bloggers have built their name, their branding, and even expanded their portfolio to include other online businesses. Should you want to learn more about the industry, it's certainly a great idea to contact a blogger online, right? However, like in any transaction involving someone you don't know, you really should take measures to guard your identity.
While it is a far-fetched notion that an established blogger would commit identity fraud, it is still important to seek identity theft protection. Influential bloggers already have their name as a by-word in online circles, and if they've ever done anything wrong, there really would be an expository article or two buried in Google's search results. If they don't, their misdeeds could actually be whispered amongst colleagues. From Yahoo! Messenger logs to Facebook Messenger chats, no secret is safe. So if you're ever wary about a certain blogger you're thinking of approaching, do a Google search on his name. Chances are, you'll eventually find juicy stories. If you come up with nothing, however, trust that the person has kept his name pristine by never doing anything wrong.
To prevent credit scams, however, here are a few guidelines:
1. Never give out your credit card number, especially your CVV. If you're buying anything off the blogger's online store, or if you need to pay for a consultation session with him, surely, he has a payment processor. Whether it's a business PayPal "Buy It Now" button or any other payment processor, no self-respecting online consultant wouldn't be without a decent payment processor. If he has to get your credit card details manually, RUN.
2. There is NO reason for you to give out your SSN AT ALL. There is one and only one reason why anyone would want your SSN: to commit identity theft or credit card fraud. When consulting with a professional blogger, you have ZERO reasons to give out your SSN. When he asks for it, report him to the police or the Better Business Bureau. Better yet, after you report your case to the authorities, write an anonymous Press Release article about your experience. An anonymous PR would be a better idea than one on your blog because it will only start a word war and could ruin your own reputation. So report the case to the authorities, and should you want to warn other people of the blogger you contacted, post that anonymous Press Release.
3. Take advantage of credit monitoring services. Let's say that your transaction went uneventful. Well and good. However, just to be on the safe side, still enroll your credit card accounts on a good and comprehensive credit monitoring service. You really should get one anyway, simply because it's a good idea to be alerted when other people, not necessarily the blogger you contacted, would get into your accounts and use your credit.
More than making sure that you will never be a victim of identity fraud by safeguarding your info online, also be wary of other ways that your credit and identity data could be stolen:
1. Mail theft. When an identity or credit card thief lifts your information off the mails that your banks or credit card issuer sends you, this crime is called Mail Theft. This mail theft can then turn into Identity Theft or Identity Fraud, if your Social Security Card got stolen. So make sure your mail gets to you in a safer place and prying, evil eyes won't be there to intercept these.
2. Trash theft. Do you realize that your trash could be a gold mine? Identity thieves will simply stop at nothing until they can get more money off of people. They will even go through other people's trash bins and steal SSN and other credit card info from there! So make sure that nobody can ever make you an identity theft victim through your trash by always shredding your documents, especially those that contain your SSN and credit card info, before you toss them into the trash.
3. Phishing. If you've ever felt tempted to click those links that come in otherwise blank emails, DON'T. Some of these links could lead to "phishing" portals. Phishing portals are webpages disguised as your bank, email or any other crucial account that you use. The objective of these pages is to capture your usernames and passwords. When the ID thieves get your usernames and passwords, they can either steal your money, use your credit, or even hijack your account and send more phishing spam with it. Creepy, but true. And it could happen to you. So don't click on random links that come in your e-mail, and be wary with the online banking pages you use. Always make sure that the URL matches the website you want to access. It's also safer if the website is on "SSL," marked by the "httpS://" prefix.
The basics of identity theft protection are very doable. Identity fraud is highly preventable. All it takes is for you to be wary, aware, and on the lookout to guard your identity. Bear these in mind, especially when contacting a blogger online.