Part one

Identity theft is a major ethical issue that faces many people today. It occurs when malicious people obtain personal information from an unsuspecting victim. They then use this information to obtain services, make payments or withdraw the money contained in the credit cards. The prevention of credit card fraud involves efforts by both the credit card companies and individuals.

This ethical issue is of utmost significance since it causes various ethical problems to clients even when it is solved promptly. The advancement in technology has intensified identity theft. Nowadays, numerous services are offered via the websites of businesses and other service providers. However, offering services online has contributed to the rise of identity theft cases. This is because a majority of the services online require that the clients pay using online schemes. One of the most used schemes entails the use of credit cards. However, use of credit card exposes clients to identity theft which causes the following problems to clients.

Ethical problems resulting from identity theft

Identity theft causespeople to pay for services and goods that they did not consume. Malicious people can obtain personal information of clients such as credit card numbers, social security number, address, and emails. They can then use this information to purchase services which will be billed on the account of unsuspecting victims. The victims will be forced to pay for these services in future. However, the effect of identity theft will not stop immediately it is detected and corrected. The victims will have a bad debt that will reduce the investment they can make.

Identity theft can grant illegal access to the checking and savings account of other people. Therefore, identity thieves can drain all the money contained in these accounts. The victims will become bankrupt and will be unable to pay for basic goods and services that they require. Victims of identity theft can result to extreme measures such as committing suicide. For instance, when an identity thief uses personal information to blackmail a person hence making them lose all their moneythe victim may be depressed and end up committing suicide. This is evidenced by the Ashley madison cheating website hack in Canada that resulted to two people committing suicide.

Emotional stress is another problem caused by identity theft. Identity thieves can usepersonal information of other people to commit crimes such robbery. These crimes are reported to the local authorities. Victims may be unaware that some crimes were conducted without their knowledge. It would be difficult for these people to convince the authorities that they did not commit the crimes they are accused of.In numerous instances, unsuspecting victims are taken to court and they are forced to pay for crimes that they did not commit. For instance, they may be sentenced to long terms in prison.

This fact causes emotional stress to victims. It affects their productivity and the lives of their loved ones. For instance, being accused of robbery will entail the suspect being held in custody until his case is decided. During this time, the unsuspecting victim may have a hard time convincing the people around him and the authorities that he did not commit this crime.

The illegal activities engaged by identity thieves can tarnish the names of victims. It may take a very long time before an individual clears their name. During this time, the illegal activities will be included on the records of the victims. They may hence not be liable to certain services owing to the information being displayed in their records. For instance, a person may be locked out from applying for a job when he or she has a record that displays robbery with violence. This record may deny the victims several services that they require promptly. Furthermore, clearing a person’s name from an identity theft situation is costly and takes up a lot of time.

Advancing technology has transformed how we live, how we play, how we work and how we learn. One of the major technologies employed by businesses includes selling of goods and services online. Online shopping has brought with it a vast majority of benefits that encompass better prices, variety, convenience, fewer traps and discreet shopping amongst many others. Online businesses understand that most of the shoppers search online for cheaper prices. They hence set their profit margins a little bit lower to attract the attention of the online shoppers. The appropriateness that arises from online shopping is also outstanding. Clients do not require traversing through traffic to their favorite store to obtain the product they are looking for.

Cultural influence on identity theft

The majority of the identity theft cases are intentional. They involve a person looking for means to gain illegal access to the personal information of other people. Culture has a great effect on the decision to commit fraud. For instance, current lifestyle trends trigger hackers to engage in identity theft. Fraud enables people to obtain money that they can use to live a lavish lifestyle. The type of upbringing determines the decisions made by individuals regarding hacking. For instance, people that have been brought up in a morally upright background would not engage in theft fraud and other types of fraud. This is because they know that the process is wrong and is against their principles. These people embrace virtues such as honesty and truth.

However, the society nowadays is structured in a way where money is the utmost thing sought by individuals. Therefore, many people will engage in credit card fraud when they get a chance to commit the crime or when they possess the knowledge and skills required to conduct the crime.

Virtuous people take part in honest activities. This culture emphasizes on what type of a person one should become other than the action that the person commits. Virtue ethicsentails a person evolving a vision for his or her life. This vision is not concentrated on material objects. It is a vision for an individual to decide on being a good person. The actions done are intended to transform people from their current self to a better self.

Culture determines values that are accepted by the community. For instance, a truthful person chooses to relate with honest people and to have truthful colleagues. He or she disapproves dishonesty and is not pleased by deception cases such as credit card fraud. An honest person prefers to flourish in life using honest means. Success from dishonest methods is unacceptable. Such a person will hence not engage in identity theft.

Right and wrong actions have a clear distinction in all cultures. An act is considered right if it is done for the right reasons. A right action that is done for the wrong reason is not considered a virtuous act. Culture has a great influence on credit card fraud. Most people take decisions based on the norms that are accepted in the society. The values that were taught to people while growing up such as honesty will determine whether a person will commit fraud. The western culture applauds fraud since it is considered as a display of superiority in knowledge.

Roles played by credit companies in preventing fraud

Credit card companies have an obligation of enforcing data integrity and safety amongst the consumers. Prior to offering credit card services, credit card companies should take measures to ensure that the personal information of clients is not accessed by illegal means.  Companies are now employing the use of an embedded chip that stores personal information of clients. The chip is a mini computer that stores code which are unique for every transaction and purchase made by the clients. This chip makes it hard for hackers to use the magnetic stripe to gain illegal access to information.

The companies use the latest antivirus programs which offer protection against hacking(Archer 69). This role is of utmost significance since it completely depends on the company. The clients have no means and resources to protect their data from fraudsters. This is because when they make online payments, they have to provide details of their account numbers. Provision of antivirus programs is hence an obligation that is performed by credit card companies.

Advancing technology has provided novel ways for enforcing data privacy. The credit companies nowadays employ the service of cloud computing to protect the data of clients. Cloud computing is a revolutionary technique that companies use to manage big data. Since the information of clients is huge, the companies are using cloud computing to protect the data of clients. Cloud computing offers a huge storage space and tools that protect the data that is stored in the cloud. Cloud computing services are provided by established software companies such as Google and Amazon. These companies have excellent mechanisms to protect the data of consumers. Therefore, credit companies are using cloud services as it greatly reduces the chances of fraud by hackers.

Moreover, cloud computing has an option of storing data in a private cloud. The private clouds offer additional protection from online fraud. This is because private networks cannot be accessed via online schemes. Hackers rely on public networks to gain illegal access to the personal information of clients. Private clouds are not connected to public networks. Therefore, they deny hackers the platform they require to hack the personal information of clients.

Credit companies track the services often requested for by clients. They use neural networks and algorithms to track these services. Therefore, when a client makes a request for a service that is completely outside of their normal services, the credit companies contact the clients and confirm whether the clients have requested the unusual service. This move by the credit card companies helps in detecting identity theft cases when they are still at the early stages and not much harm has been done.

 

Part two

Personal experience section

I was lately a casualty of identity theft. This problem wasted my time and money. Moreover, it caused me to undergo immense worries and stress. A website requested for my email so that they could send me updates on an area I am interested in. Initially, only my email address was required. I was lured by the website since it offered to provide me with free content on articles, pictures, and latest trends in technology and sports. Since I greatly have a passion for these two fields, I was very interested in the services provided by the website. However, after receiving several articles on the two areas, I received an email from the website indicating that due to online scams, I had to provide details of my account number so that they could verify my details and ensure that I was not involved with scams.

I could not access any article before I sent the details. The email assured me that the account number would only be used to obtain my details from the credit card company. After much consideration, I decided to provide details of my account number so that I could continue accessing the services offered by the website. I convinced myself that there was no harm in providing account number details since I would not provide my passcode. However, after providing details of my credit card number, I started receiving emails from my credit card number indicating that I had subscribed to several services. I was concerned and hence decided to visit my credit card company to obtain the details of the services they indicated I had recently subscribed to. If I did not take this action, I would have continued paying for services that I had not consented to paying.

I was surprised to find out that all the services I received from the alleged free websites were charged on my account. I was immediately unsubscribed from all the services that were billing me without my approval. Hackers can track the services that people request when using the internet. They then send attractive offers on areas that interest unsuspecting victims. For instance, I was lured by the fields of technology and sports to accept the services of the website.

Once hackers obtain information of the account number, they proceed to use their knowledge and expertise to obtain the passcodes. With this information, they can subscribe to services that enable them gain money in their personal accounts. Moreover, certain types of fraud such behavioral fraud only requires account details. In these instances, it is easy for malicious people to commit credit card fraud.

Credit card requires that both the clients and the credit card companies collaborate to enforce data integrity and safety.  Credit card companies should track the expenditure of clients and the services they commonly request for. They should then send instant messages to clients whenever they request for a service. This practice will help the companies identify fraud at early stages before the fraudsters commit much harm.

The credit company advised me to decline all free services that request for my account numbers. This is because hackers can obtain information from other sources such as social media to generate a passcode for the password that I sent them. After the incident, I informed all my colleagues on how I was tricked by the website to accept free services which were later changed to premium services without my consent. The credit company decided to conduct a campaign to enlighten the clients on the recent tricks used by fraudsters to obtain the account numbers. Emails were sent to clients from the company indicating the incidence I had. Surprisingly, several clients had experienced the same issue. Most of them had not taken action since they had not yet opened their email. My incidence helped increase the awareness of clients about the need to protect their data privacy

Conclusion

Prevention of credit card fraud is a joint effort by both the credit card companies and the clients requesting for these services. Credit companies can use latest technology trends such as cloud computing and antivirus programs to protect the identity of clients online. Clients on another hand need to ensure that they do not provide their account details to unknown websites requesting for the credit card numbers. Credit companies should track the services consumed by individual clients so that they can notice a deviation from the normal spending. The companies should also use the latest fraud detection schemes such as neural networks.

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