Warning, Loaning Out Your Identity May Be Harzardous to Your Wallet

August 29, 2007

Having someone steal your identity is bad enough, it really sucks when you loan it out to someone else and they do something stupid with it. A username and password are often all that’s needed to assume someone’s identity on the Internet, lending yours out can turn out to be an expensive or embarrassing mistake.

Rouge eBay Shopper
Have you ever told a friend or family member the username and password to an account of yours so they could use it “just this once”?  Just yesterday, I had a customer’s relative spend almost $150 in my eBay store then decide minutes later it wasn’t what they wanted.  That left the eBay user to try and reclaim her $150 without getting negative feedback. Here is her email:

“I have been a positive ebayer for over 2 years now.  I am very conscientious about keeping 100% positive feedback. I am sorry about the purchase. My sister in law asked to use my account because she couldn’t find the backpack anywhere else and needed them for her soccer team.  I explained to her the process and to read everything carefully.  I am a very good ebayer and read everything completely so none of this happens.  I guess it teaches me a lesson.  I am really sorry.”

Of course I’m refunding her money and canceling the sale, I’m not going to ship her something she can’t use.  But what if I was a jerk and refused to work with her?  Or what if I returned her money but left her negative feedback? She’d either be out $150 or have ruined a perfect feedback rating because she loaned out her eBay and Pay Pal identity.

Email Slander
It can take a long time to build trust with others and only a few minutes to ruin that trust; I’ll give you an example. I went to school with a guy named Niraj that let a friend use his email account to send an urgent email.  Later that day I was shocked to find a very rude email from Niraj that had been sent to the whole computer science department. 

It turns out that his friend had sent the email from Niraj’s account in jest but it didn’t much matter.  The damage had been done; Niraj’s credibility had been tainted.  He was able to work things out with the administration but the email could have ended up losing Niraj his job with the school. 

Guard Your Offline Information
Loaning out your identity isn’t just a mistake online; it can cost you a lot of money in the non-virtual world as well.  Another episode I witnessed back in school had to do with telephone access codes in dorm rooms.  One guy loaned out his authentication code for the phone service to several people and one of them used it to access adult phone content and ran up a bill for hundreds of dollars.  Of course he didn’t know who it was and couldn’t prove he didn’t make the calls so he was stuck with the bill.

Careful Who You Trust


Protect your Identity with LifeLock!

It’s hard enough protecting your information and identity from people you don’t know. If you don’t want to end up out a big chunk of change, majorly embarrassed, or in trouble its safest not to loan out your identity to friends or family, as harmless as it may seem at the time.

Ben

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Ben

Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn’t like the other kids… His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he’s helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.


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