Why is this a Members Only website?

Choice Slides has been online for about a year and a half now.  Before that, Choice Backgrounds was my website, online since 2006.  The internet is a big place...its arms welcoming the entire world.  Good...and bad.

Starting in 2010 my website began to be targeted by some hackers and a very determined thief (for those of you who have been with me for awhile, my "thief" and my "hackers" were two different people).  My move to Choice Slides was my solution for fighting both.  The Hackers, who were from Romania, were stopped simply by moving my site to a Closed Source host.  Done.  My thief, on the other hand, is an ongoing battle.

I know who he is.  He is from Vietnam.  He uses stolen credit cards to buy my items, then post them on his website for sale.  The identities he has used have been from the United States, Canada, Great Britain and Australia.  He is, most likely, just buying them from a Black Market list of stolen credit cards.

So, why has it been so hard for me to stop him?  Why doesn't my Credit Card processor stop the purchases?  Because he goes through his list until he finds a card that hasn't been reported as stolen yet.  So, I can't rely on technology.  I have to stop him before he attempts to use a card.

This is why I ask for new customers to fill out a registration form.  I don't collect the information for any other purpose other than to verify that the person who signed up really is that person.  This isn't possible all the time.  If I can't verify someone, I don't let them in.  Do I lose customers that way?  Sure.  Have I made a few honest people upset by not letting them in?  Probably.  But I've also been able to contact at least a dozen people who had no idea what Choice Slides was and who didn't realize that someone had stolen their identity (and, most likely, their credit cards).

In fact, I just caught him again today.  The gentleman I called was both horrified to find out someone had registered on my site with his information (all of which was correct) and thankful that I had taken the time to call before letting this scoundrel in.

So, in a nutshell, please don't be offended by having to jump through a few extra hoops to join this website.  As much as you don't want your information stolen online, I don't want to be the website where that information is used.

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