|English: Sample ATM card which can be distinguished from a credit card or debit card by the absence of such features as network logotype on the front. Created by Sergio Ortega on April 16, 2008, based on existing standards. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Friday, February 21, 2014
It's all about security. What precautions have you taken to protect your identity?
There is no guarantee that our accounts will not be hacked - just take a look around. We no longer just sit and hope that no one hacks into our bank account and robs us blind, we have to worry about our credit card companies and favorite stores being ripe for the picking. And, it seems that no one is exempt.
But, you can take precautions and I am literally appalled at the people I come across that do not try to do all that they can to protect themselves from fraud. People are walking around with phones that have no pass code; unsecured apps housing their passwords - get the picture. I am going to use iPhone as an example, but this goes for any advanced phone in which you house information.
The first thing I did was set up a pass code and my phone locks almost immediately. It may not always be convenient to have the pass code in place, but it's worth it. Second, I also set up Find My Phone, so in the event my phone is lost or stolen, I can remotely access it by another iPhone or computer and wipe it free of all content and set up an alarm that needs my pass code to stop the alarm.
On the lock screen you will see my ugly mug shot along with a message that says - If found, call (Hubby's phone no.) so if an honest person finds the phone and I'm anywhere around, they know what I look like, and second they have a number to call to report that they have the phone. If only the entire world were honest. But, I feel like I'm covering my bases.
Next, any app on my phone that can be locked, is locked - whether or not the information is private.
I think I've covered the phone. If I think of anything else, I'll come back and add it.
Next, is your credit cards. If I had a nickel for every person I have informed on protecting their credit cards, I'd be one rich lady. You can do this for free! Why have you not done it? Go to your credit card site and click on Manage Account Alerts. There, you can set up your alerts. The company will also help you over the phone if need be. My cards are set up to text me when any charge is made over a certain amount. When I check out at Wal-Mart, my phone is beeping before I put my name in the little machine. That's security.
You set up the amounts according your preferences. I set it low, because sometimes, only small amounts are being used fraudulently. You need to make your own decisions on this. If my phone beeps and I'm not using my card, then I know it's fraud. This has saved me on several occasions. There is a list of options for you to choose from, ranging from amounts, balances, to charges being made in the country or out of the country. Set your alerts today. You'll be glad you did.
*I did think of something else. I never sign the back of my cards. Instead, I write in marker - Request ID. There are a load of merchants that do not check this and you would be surprised - or maybe not. No wonder so many cards are used fraudulently. I traveled to New York City and only had one merchant ask for an ID. A couple of them I even questioned why they didn't ask - a shrug of the shoulders was their answer.
Next up is your bank debit card. Sure, it says Debit/Credit, but it is linked directly to your checking account. It does not matter if you use it as a debit card or a credit card. Funds will still come out of your checking account. We've had fraud in our area linked to debit cards so we no longer use them. I have one credit card that I use for everything. You have to be a disciplined person to use this option. I use only one card and at the end of that week, all receipts are tallied and a payment from my bank (online bill pay) gets sent to the credit card company. If you are a disciplined person, this is an option you may want to think about. It will prevent access to your checking account. Not to say you won't get hacked, but you will know about it soon enough to notify the bank. And, that folks, can make all the difference in the world.
This is only basic information to encourage you to begin protecting your assets (yes, your ass in other words.) I hope you heed the advice and if you have comments or other helpful hints, be sure and leave them. We are each other's teachers.
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