UNITED STATES—I would be lying to you if I didn’t say I’m so concerned with anything I do online nowadays because it seems every single day you hear a new tale about a retailer, credit reporting agency or some social media platform that has had their systems compromised. I mean the recent news about Facebook had so many people in uproar for the sheer fact that Facebook apparently received revenue in response to delivering its consumers information to a third party that was involved in the political game. Yes, that sucks, but I think when it comes to social media you should want to divulge more than just your name and email address. Why in the world should they need anything else?

Then comes the retailers and this is where it gets scary because it seems so many Americans have totally transitioned to utilizing plastic more than cash nowadays. Trust me I have another column this week completely dedicated to why cash is the best form of currency. However, I’ve had my personal information compromised and I know people personally who have dealt with the issue as well. I mean imagine the credit card that you received from a retailer was compromised, and the best that the retailer can provide you is with credit monitoring services. Hmm, that’s not enough when I no longer feel safe utilizing my credit card either online or at a brick-and-mortar establishment.

You sending that letter in the mail just reiterated for me that I cannot trust your establishment with my personal information. I mean why these companies aren’t taking more precautions to ensure their data encryption systems are more safely guarded from potential hackers. Yes, I understand anything can be hacked, but at the same time, the goal should be to limit the possibility of a hack as much as possible. You have Eddie Bauer, Sears, Lord and Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue, and now talk has emerged that Best Buy may have been compromised as well.

Is anyone safe from being hacked? At this point the answer to that question is a flat out: no. This idea of privacy no longer exists because of the internet. We’ve become so comfortable just handing over our information without any reservation with the thought that all is well. It’s not America, and you have to be aware that certain details you just should not divulge. At this point, I don’t even think it’s a bad idea to consider using a pseudonym when setting up social media accounts. Yes, you want to be honest with others, but when it comes to your identity you can use the right picture, but change up the name or perhaps not use your real name.

We already receive a ton of junk mail from third parties trying to get us to sign up for credit cards or offering their services when it comes to knocking down credit card debt, student loan debt or some other ploy. I hate and I mean hate getting the same thing over and over and over again every single week. If I did not respond to you in 2014, what the hell makes you think I’ll respond in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018? I’m not, and of course we know we get these emails or notices because we agree or don’t really agree to our information being shipped out to third parties.

It’s like examining your email. Jeez, I have thousands of emails that need to be deleted and I just haven’t gotten around to it because it’s so much I don’t know where to start. I’m certain when you give these retailers your information they give it to others and before you know it a weekly email because 20 daily emails with the same crap each time. Stop emailing me already!

America I know you feel my pain, but the point of this column is to send the message that we are in control to a degree of what information is out there. The less we give the less we have to worry about floating on the web or as some call it the dark web. Don’t open emails from people you don’t know, don’t give out details that someone like a retailer or social media outlet should NOT know. As for retailers having hack after hack, the other option is to limit your credit card usage and simply use cash.