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Information Card Foundation and How it Can Protect You on Line

Jul 14, 2008
Identity theft is a criminal activity that continues to inconvenience online users and, taken to its extremes, it can cause financial disaster to its innocent victims. Several different means exist to help individuals avoid identity theft but no matter how careful a person might be to protect their identity, these internet security problems continue unabated and identity thieves continue to look for ways to outsmart the typical consumer. But there are ways that consumers can remain ahead in the identity theft game and one organization that is ready to help is the Information Card Foundation: A non- profit organization dedicated to reducing the instance of identity theft by securing digital identities in place of traditional logons and passwords. Steering members of the foundation include representatives from Google, Microsoft, PayPal, Oracle Novell and Equifax.

How Does This System Protect the Consumer?

The Information Card Foundation has devised a unique system that protects the consumer by eliminating the need for a logon and password, thereby removing personal information from a web site. It achieves its goal by mimicking the electronic code that is used with debit cards, credit cards, and driver's licenses, replacing the code with a digital information card. This digital "card" contains the individual's personal information and each individual will be required to carry several different cards: one for each secured web site that the individual uses.

At present, most all web sites require the establishment of an account by setting up a user name and password. This method is simple, but it isn't very secure, as any identity thief will point out. All that is necessary to get this personal information is for the identity thief to hack the web sites system and tap into the database containing usernames and passwords. With digital cards, the identity thief is stopped quickly in his/her tracks because these cards are not linked to a web site. Since they are not linked, they are not part of the web site's database so if a thief successfully hacks a web site, the person who uses these digital cards will not exist in the records.

How Does This Work?

Digital cards are a unique service and they are the key behind the success of this system. Each individual who uses this system must setup a separate digital card for each web site commonly used. These digital cards are then stored on an individual's personal computer, either in its browser, on the desktop, or on a mobile device. When an individual decides to make an online purchase or enter into a secured site for some other reason, all he/she has to do is click the I- card link within the web site. The individual can then logon without the need for a logon id or password.

What are the Pros and Cons?

The system offered by the Information Card Foundation offers plenty of reasons to consider using it and chief among these is the direct protection against identity theft and phishing. There are many who would like to use the internet for online purchasing, conducting banking transactions, etc., but they avoid using this modern technology because they fear having their identities stolen. With this system, the need for inputting personal information into a web site is eliminated, greatly reducing the chances for the occurrence of identity theft. As a side benefit, this system also eliminates the need to memorize logon ids and passwords.

Even though this system offers great protection against identity theft and phishing, it still has a few issues that prevent it from achieving the level of greatness of which it is capable. The greatest problem with this system is that it only works if the web used by the consumer is participating in the digital card system and accepts I- Cards. If this affiliation is not present, then the digital card is useless. As more and more web sites accept I- Cards, this system will become more and more useful, but until that time, digital cards have limited use.

How Can I Obtain and Install This Service?

The Information Card Foundation offers easy installation of its system. To initiate the setup, a person must establish an Identity Selector on his/her pc. This is usually already available because it often exists on some pc browsers. If it isn't in the browser, it should be searched for on the computer desktop. Once the identity selector is located, the next step is to setup your own digital cards for use at specific internet web sites. After completing this step, the Information Card Foundation's system will be installed and ready for use. When a web site is accessed, it will no longer ask for a logon id and password.

Identity theft continues to cause problems for millions of consumers each year but, fortunately, there are many effective software products designed to help stop identity theft before it begins. The Information Card Foundation has devised a very effective means to eliminate or greatly reduce the incidence of identity theft and phishing with its system of digital cards. These cards help protect consumers by eliminating the need for logon ids and passwords, keeping personal information private and well out of reach of cyber- thieves everywhere. It's a very good product for consumers who worry about shopping or conducting other transactions online.
About the Author
Lisa Carey is a contributing author for Identity Theft Secrets: prevention and protection. You can get tips on Identity theft protection, software, and monitoring your credit as well as learn more about the secrets used by identity thieves at the Identity Theft Secrets blog.
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