The Internet has changed our world a lot since it became widely available to the public about 15 years ago. In today’s world, we can go online and buy things or get information from anywhere in the world! Twenty years ago or more, if we wanted to buy something from a shop in Paris, we had to jump on a plane, go there and buy it. With some shops we could call on the phone, but that was largely the exception, most commerce was conducted in person. Getting information was just as bad too. Let’s say we needed to know something that could only be studied at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C., we basically had to go there. Today, virtually every major museum in the world is Online! How can we go wrong?
There is a problem, if you are in the Philippines, though. You see, there is a lot of Online Fraud here in the Philippines. There are a lot of people here who are hackers, credit card thieves and such. It makes it harder for the rest of us in the Philippines to take full advantage of the wonders of the Internet.
One area where nearly all of us take advantage of the Internet is with our banking. These days, virtually every bank account in the world can be accessed over the Internet. We have to be very careful to keep the password secure and such so that we don’t allow access to unwanted people, but there are many things we can do online with our bank accounts. We can transfer money between accounts, check balances, pay our bills online, etc. And, we can do this from anywhere in the world where we happen to be, right? Well, not really! Yes, I accessed my bank account in the USA regularly when I was in the USA. However, when I moved to the Philippines and started using online banking from here, after a while, it wouldn’t work. I had notified my bank that I was now living in the Philippines, and they didn’t have a problem with that. However, if I would access my account from here, after a while they would shut down access. If I called them on the phone and asked if there was a problem, after getting sent to a few different people on the other end of the phone, finally somebody would come on and say “well, we notice that somebody in the Philippines keeps accessing your account.” Hmm… “well, I live in the Philippines, that is me accessing my account.” “Oh, OK, sir, we will restore access.” After a few months I’d go through the whole process again.
How about ordering something online? In my case it’s a nightmare! Why? Well, I log on from here in the Philippines, and place my order. I use my credit or debit card that is issued by a bank in the USA. I generally have the goods shipped to my address in the USA, and from there it is re-shipped to the Philippines. Most US businesses don’t ship overseas, or charge an arm and a leg for that, so it’s better to have it shipped to the States. Also, my address that is associated with the debit card is a US address, and it’s best to have the goods shipped to that address, or the store is suspicious. So, you jump through all these hoops, and then it still doesn’t work. Why? The online business can still see through your IP address that you are in the Philippines. The bells and whistles all start going off on their end – FRAUD – Philippines – Don’t accept. Etc. I have even called business and talked to them on the phone to explain what is going on, but 90% of them still won’t do business with me. What can I do?
Well, I did figure out a way to do business over the Internet without setting off those alarm bells. If you plan to live here, it’s important for you to know how to do it too, because if you don’t you will find that any kind of online business activity is going to be nearly impossible to do from here on a regular basis.
How do you do it? Check my column tomorrow, and I’ll explain how it can be done!