Online Invitations Invite Cyber Crooks As Well As Guests

Nov 24, 2006 3:16pm

People like sending invitations to parties through a Web site, like Evite.com, because it’s considered a cheap and easy way to organize an event. 

But this holiday season, one security expert warns popular online invitations are not just inviting party guests but identity thieves too.

Chris Faulkner, the CEO of CI Host, a Texas-based online security company, says online invitations are also an easy way to access personal information because after a person replies to the invitation, they are often directed to register for the site or purchase other products.

"Cyber crooks are actually taking it to the next level and trying to get people to be fooled into giving their credit card information, phone number, social security numbers and other things they can use to start stealing their identity," says Faulkner. "The currency of choice right now among cyber criminals is data."

Faulkner says the best way for people to protect themselves is to double-check the Web site they’re replying to is well-known and legitimate by looking at their privacy policy on the bottom of the page. Evite, the most well-known, online invitation Web site, clearly states its privacy policy.

"It lays out all the rules and all of the procedures and processes they follow," says Faulkner. "What data they collect, what data they’re going to use, are they gonna sell your data to third parties? Or are they gonna protect your data, and how are they gonna do it?"

Still even with a privacy policy, Faulkner advises that people not give any more personal information than an R.S.V.P.

"Be very wary when using these sites," he says. "Don’t give any more information than yes or no; I’ll be there, or I can’t come to the party."

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