Identity theft is rampant, especially now that the present technology is capable of producing us the ways by which we could infringe upon the privacy of another. The victims of identity theft are the customers whose personal information is obtained. The Direct Marketing community is also in the danger of demise because of the negative perception that most people have regarding Direct Marketing. Perpetrators of identity theft tarnish the reputations of legitimate Direct Marketers by performing unscrupulous acts of infringing upon one's privacy. Identity theft is referred to as the crime of wrongfully obtaining and using another person's personal data in such a way that involves deception or fraud, usually for economic gain. The victim of identity theft is susceptible to having out-of-pocket financial losses as well as financial costs in trying to restore his reputation that has been besmirched. In today's world, the internet has made the crime of identity theft a problem of many internet users. Criminals use the internet in obtaining data such as bank information and passwords. In some cases, responding to spam emails that are sent by direct marketers make one susceptible to being a victim of identity theft. The perpetrators of identity theft may use one's identity in applying for loans and credit cards, making fraudulent withdrawals from bank accounts, or obtaining privileges that the criminal might not have if he were to use his true identity.
[...] The credit card accounts were billed for fictitious internet entertainment services. Some of the consumers who were billed did not even own computers or did not have access to the internet. The consumers tried to contest the charge the credit card companies, but they refused to block the additional charges. The only remedy that the consumers saw, was to cancel their credit or debit cards. Another case of identity theft was that of Dan Marius Stefan who stole almost $ 500,000 by sending phishing emails to customers, inviting users to log on to legitimate looking sites (European commission directorate general joint research centre). [...]
[...] This identity theft is not necessarily committed by direct marketers. There are times when criminals take advantage of customers who respond to direct marketers. The criminal may have been spying at the customer's credit card number while it was being given to the marketer. Effects of Identity Theft on Direct Marketing and on Consumers Direct marketing is efficacious marketing strategy. However, there are some direct marketing strategies that are invasive to the privacy of the individual, and particularly that of the customer. [...]
[...] In many cases, prospective customers are annoyed as they receive emails from marketers who are selling the products or services. There are various channels that may be used in direct marketing. Of these, conventional channels include the use of snail mail, fax, and phone. Then there are electronic channels, which are products of the advancement of technology. Electronic channels include electronic mail or email, web based communications, push technologies, and private and public kiosks. Digital marketing employs all kinds of digital advertisements, and not only the internet. [...]
[...] One way to prevent identity theft is for internet users to be vigilant. Yet, there are ways in which even if the internet user is vigilant, criminals would still be able to obtain personal history data. This is because of the emergence of technological advancements of the workings, which are not fully understood by users. Hence, marketers involved in direct marketing must employ some solutions to this worldwide problem. Roger Clarke indicates ways to provide responsible direct marketing. According to him, direct marketing strategies must respect the interests of the consumers. [...]
[...] The association has created the "privacy promise" that requires the companies to inform the consumers of their privacy policies (direct marketing association). Conclusion In order to have a successful marketer-customer relationship, there must be reciprocal trust and respect. Without these two, the relationship will soon collapse. If marketer-customer relationships are not founded upon trust and respect, direct marketing faces the risk of falling down. Hence, ways must be devised in order to put a stop to the crime of identity theft. [...]
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