Find a local seller
I went looking for another way to buy bitcoin, preferably a quicker and more anonymous way.
I went to LocalBitcoins.com, which connects nearby bitcoin buyers and sellers. I opted for an in-person cash transaction and offered to buy from someone named eric101995, who agreed to sell me a tenth of a bitcoin for $67.25.
I arrived at the rendezvous site, Barnes & Noble, with a transaction verify code and my cash.
Eric101995 turned out to be a friendly high school student. He got on his computer and released the 0.1 bitcoin to my digital wallet, then showed me the same transaction verify code to prove the bitcoin had been transferred.
I handed him my cash. No sharing bank account information or credit cards. Just a simple cash transaction and I had my first bitcoin.