Worried About Identity Theft, Scams and More

"Hi Lynn. I have been looking to start a blog for quite some time now (I would love to make money from it and make it a successful online business) but cannot seem to get the push to do so.

I am worried about all of the identity theft, scams and such that have been going on and putting my personal information in when signing up for a domain name. I have heard also that sites have been hacked and certainly would not want that to happen. I would love some reassurance that this is safe. Thank you for any answer. -Stephanie"

I received this email from Stephanie yesterday, and decided to bring up the topic for open discussion. I'll weigh in with my own thoughts as well, but would love to hear your thoughts. Any advice for Stephanie?

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...more»

Discussion

  1. You can do several different things. One is if you have the blog on your own website is to register it privately and then your contact details are hidden when registering your domain, also make sure that the site you are registering it from is Https and not just Http.
    Another is to get a PO Box (or Mailboxes Etc, Eagle Postal Center, UPS Box) and then use that address as your contact address. If worried about email spam then set up a gmail address or specific email address just for that website. Lynn for example has a PO Box for Clicknewz, although I am pretty sure she doesn't live at the Post Office. 8)

  2. There really is no guarantee when it comes to the Internet. We all take a gamble by putting our information online. You have to be a risk taker to have an online business. If you're asking people to purchase things from your website, are you not asking them to do something that you're skeptical about yourself?

  3. Stephanie,
    Regarding giving your personal information for a domain name, you shouldn't have any trouble if you have a credit card and you use a reputable domain registrar like http://www.godaddy.com/ . (Drat, I should have an affiliate link! 😉 We keep just one credit card for online purchases so if something were to happen, you could report it and you'd be fine as long as you reported it as soon as you discovered the problem. Your card is generally more at risk when you give it to a live person than when you use it online with a reputable company.

    I only use a credit card, never a debit card because I believe it is easier to cancel a fraudulent credit card transaction than to get your money back from a fraudulent debit card transaction.

    Also, sites get hacked sometimes but if you keep your site software updated (We use WordPress), it is unlikely to happen to you. It's also important to use complex passwords. Also, if you back up your site regularly, you'd have a backup if your site went down.

    Don't be afraid! You can do it!

  4. I agree with Tracy up there - setting up an e-mail address and P.O. box that are specifically designated for your blog are both great ideas! This way nothing too private is published on the web. Tiffany's right too - the internet is risky, it's just up to you to decide whether or not the risk is worth the possible rewards! 🙂

  5. Well, securing one's identity is of utmost concern now a days with so many scams being generated from a single identity theft, we people need to secure our online assets as securely as we can as to avert the same happening to us.

  6. Justin Dupre says:

    Sometimes you have to take the risk to succeed. Although there are lots of identity thefts happening lately, there are various ways for you to secure your online identity. Searching in Google alone will reveal several useful tips.

  7. Peter Lawlor says:

    I privatize all domain registrations and leave it at that. The PO Box idea is a good that I'll have to consider.

    All I have to say is the best decision I ever made was to learn how to promote my offline business with IM as well as publishing blogs to build a business. It's worth it big time. It's the best work I've ever done. If it interests you, then go for it. You'll make mistakes, but if you love it and keep at it, you can create something great.

    About domains - be sure to also set it to auto-renew. I read a story of a guy who built up a site to PR 6 that was a great business and due to failing to auto-renew it, lost the site. Big lesson to be learned here.

    Don't be afraid to start with a pen name if you're concerned about your identity online. Tons of people do. Baby steps. In time you can decide to reveal your real self or stay with your pen name.

  8. private whois records don't work for all tlds. com/org/net accept this practice, but usually country-domains don't.
    Also in some countries it is required by law to have a real person with a real (no PO Box) address associated with a website. So a good measure you can take is minimizing the information about you on your website, obfuscate the email address (and your name) so they are not spiderable by web robots or email scapers. Also setting a noindex meta tag to your about or contact page helps.

    If you are really paranoid about this stuff, don't do anything on the net 🙂

  9. 1- Assign a strong password to your primary email address that no one could guess. The reason for me emphasizing on this is the fact that your primary email address is the one you're going to use to register to all the services you want. If you keep it safe, then every other thing will be safe.

    2- Before you register with a service or use a plugin or something, you need to search for reviews and complaints first. I do this with every service i'm about to use.

    3- Install and anti spyware/adware in your computer to prevent any suspicious web activity. Avira now has released the free web guard for this.

    4- Don't accept from anyone, and if you do make sure to scan them with your updated Antivirus before you open them.

    5- If you're using WordPress, keep it always updated so you don't get in trouble (WordPress team fixes always bugs that are exploitable as soon as they find them).

    6- There is nothing wrong for making your Whois domain public, as this is a good sign for authority and transparency.

    7- Use an ssl encryption key with your domains.

    8- Back up your databases every week, so if things go wrong, you'll be able to restore everything.

    9- Don't use any script or plugin on your website unless you verified it.

    10- Stay away from those cracked software, because all of them has either trojans or viruses.

    11- Don't let these things stop you from starting a business. Because if all of us for example thought about these things as obstacles, we wouldn't be here now.

  10. I'm always reading that we should buy domain names and hosting from two different places, but why? Does it have anything to do with identity theft, scams, or more?

  11. Domains by proxy or some other domain privatization. I think Namecheap does that for free.

    I am thinking of doing a similar website.

    • Namecheap does it free with each NEW domain but is only good for ONE year then you start paying for it yearly thereafter. Still is cheaper than most other registrars, tho.

      Rick Wilson aka CorpRebel 😎

  12. There are a number of good measures you can take, some noted in these comments. However, I've never had a serious means of income that didn't have some risks or tradeoffs. I had a job once that cost me a portion of my hearing. Another gave me a lifelong back problem. If you wish to succeed online-- or any other way-- you're going to have to assess the tradeoffs and deal with or accept them.

    It is a fact that, with reasonable precautions, you won't ever suffer from identity theft, but it is a risk of being online-- or putting your trash on the street. We all takes risks all the time whether we intend to or not, so why do so conscientiously and in a way that can reap substantial benefits, as online marketing can?

  13. Some good suggestions on here already. But there will be potential risk everytime you log on to the Internet. Only thing you can do is try to minimize any possible risks by using more difficult passwords, avoiding links that you don't know where they've come from, keeping your site files backed up and watching your security settings on your favorite social networking sites like FaceBook.

    Also keep close track of your credit card statements each month. I know alot of people that just pay their monthly payment and don't really look over all their charges on their statements.

    Most of this is just common sense if you really think about it. Don't let from getting started! 😉

    Rick Wilson aka CorpRebel 😎

  14. Cynthia Jermin says:

    Edgar, Michael and the rest of the community have really given you good ideas. I, too, use a specific low balance debit card for all my online purchases. Also, I use a ID protection service the scans the net for any vulnerabilities and sends me alerts. See http://tinyurl.com/4y29j64. It also comes with insurance.

    Lastly, as an internet entrepreneur, it is good to be an internet consumer. In this manner of you can analyze the customer experience and improve you business accordingly.

    CJ

  15. Using P.O. Boxes and such are a good idea but if you cloak your domain registration info so there is no way to contact you, you may inadvertently get yourself into trouble. There are times where people need to get a hold of you about your website. We have had to contact several people who were violating our trademark. This would normally start with a nice "Please stop using our mark" message and usually results in a pleasant resolution. A couple of times, there was no way to contact the person because the domain info was cloaked, so we instead contacted the web host. The host didn't want to bother with connecting us with the private client so, after checking our trademark info, they just took down the website without notifying the website owner.
    Just saying that I agree with many of the others. P.O. Boxes and similar privacy methods might be wise, but don't make it impossible for people to contact you at all or it might bite you later.
    Also, be wise but don't be too paranoid about identity theft. If you worry too much, you'll never do anything at all.

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