BAGUIO CITY (Sept. 26) — A Filipino web-master who lives in Honolulu, Hawaii is amazed at the developments in cyber technology here, but warns of some evils of a “paperless society”.
Atty. Juny La Putt said internet and websites are the in-thing in the United States, where he came from, and that he is surprised to see internet cafes mushrooming in downtown Baguio. He said he was impressed at meeting computer-literate high school and college students here.
“In my time, we do not know the computer. I only learned to use the computer at age 50,” La Putt, known in the cyber world as “The Hawaiian Web-master” said.
In a Nordis interview, however, La Putt warns of identity theft, especially on the net. “Identity theft has become a serious problem in the US,” he said, clarifying that it does not only exist on the internet but also in hard files. Identity theft occurs when personal information is stolen and used without the person’s knowledge to commit fraud crimes.
According to La Putt, most residents in advanced countries usually shred all documents pertaining to bank accounts, credit and debit cards and other personal information. “Identity thieves can rob people of their hard-earned savings by cloning their identification,” he said, adding that once the vital personal informations were taken, the thief could withdraw a large amount from one’s bank account or use one’s credit cards unnoticed.
La Putt warned of any paper thrown into the trash bins. “Akala mo binasura mo na, may pupulot pa niyan, at pag nagkataong identity theft ang nakatsamba, lagot ka,” (You may think it is just rubbish you were throwing, but an identity theft may chance on it, you’re done for), La Putt elaborated.
With the advent of Internet in our midst and the paperless society not so far behind, expect this kind of crime now regarded as a federal offense in the US, La Putt warned. He said in the US almost all transactions may be done on-line.
Imagine paying your telephone, water and electric bills, ordering a piece of furniture, a week’s supply of groceries and even filing your income tax returns on the computer, and see the volume of crimes an identity thief could commit against a person, La Putt stressed.
La Putt used to teach at the University of Baguio and the Philippine Military Academy. He has developed websites for Baguio, Corregidor, Camiguin Islands and is in the process of putting up a Pangasinan website. “All for the fun of it,” he said. # Lyn V. Ramo for NORDIS