Electronic payments are so stress-free, right? This technology makes shopping at a store much more convenient versus pulling out cash and counting out coins…or worse, getting coins back to weigh down your purse, or pocket, whichever you prefer. As far as check-writing…that’s gone by the wayside. Checks are much larger to transport and take longer to complete versus that sleek card with a 4-digit PIN.
But, have you ever thought about what happens when you scan that magnetic strip on the back of your card, or more recently, insert the card into the new and improved chip reader? Your personal information connected to your bank account is warehoused in that store’s database…which is connected to the Internet…which is all over the world (i.e. WORLD-wide web). And as great as the Internet is, there are destructive people and programs on the Internet looking for your personal information to steal your identity. Any store that takes Internet-based electronic payments has a due diligence to their customers to have a commercial grade firewall in place and keep it updated to protect their customer’s personal information and numbers.
A commercial grade firewall goes beyond protecting just the credit and debit card machines in any office or store. The firewall will actually protect a business’ entire Internet connection from identity thieves, aka hackers, who want to break into their computers and files to obtain passwords, tax information, credit/debit card numbers and any other private information they can get their virtual hands on. Once they get passwords and personal information, they can hijack things like your email, social media profiles, bank accounts…you get the idea.
So the next time you’re doing any type of business, you can ask the clerk, representative, sales person, or waiter if they protect YOUR information by securing their Internet connection with a commercial grade firewall. If they don’t, I guess you have a choice to make whether you are willing to take the risk of having your identity stolen or not.