Eye on identity theft

Michael Russell (left) and Randy Dixon.

Barbadians may be a lot more aware of security when it comes to electronic identity theft than may be believed.

In fact, a local technology services company, Regal Resource, says the efficiency of some banking institutions in keeping an eye on what clients are doing with credit card might be helping.

Managing Director Randy Dixon said while technology skills were once something few people had, the Internet had made such capabilities easier to come by.

However, he said, there were still some services for which people preferred to seek the professional, though overall they were technologically savvy.

“I think that the issues attacking computers now, like viruses and identity theft, those might be things that everybody can’t deal with. When it comes to the hardware it is fine, they might be able to buy a couple parts and put together a system, but when it comes to preventative maintenance and that kind of stuff that is one of our areas of specialty and everybody can’t do that because you have to know what you are doing,” he said.

Asked about Internet usage with more and more personal information now online and the craze of online shopping, Dixon added that he had faith in Bajans’ ability to be savvy in what information they allowed out there.

“Because of the international media, people are very aware of what is happening. Even in the Caribbean, Barbados and all over, they are trying really hard to protect identity because of things like passport fraud, ID card fraud and that kind of stuff. So identity theft is a big thing in the Caribbean right now and online you are being made aware of it.

“It is also being monitored carefully because only recently I made a purchase with my wife’s card and it is not a site that I would usually buy from and when I made the order, five minutes later my wife called and said the bank had just called her and told her that someone was trying to use the credit card.

“So she called me and asked me if it was me and I said yes. So she was able to call the bank and alert them it was me. So the banks too are really looking to crack down on it,” he said.

Sales and marketing manager, Michael Russell, commented that it helped that unlike elsewhere, banks in Barbados did not offer credit cards “willy nilly”.

Credit card companies and banks, he noted, were helping to make people more aware of how to protect themselves when shopping or doing business online.

“I think that in Barbados, different to the United States where, when you hit a certain age, credit card companies start sending cards at you, down here that doesn’t really happen. Here everyone that has a credit card would have actively gone into a bank to set up and get advice and that kind of thing,” said Russell. (LB)

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