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Old 02-23-2012, 02:25 PM   #1
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Online banking and card protection

Please help us out with any advice about the different products that monitor your credit cards and bank accounts. Any recommendations? It is scary to be out on the road accessing accounts and paying bills online.

Thanks,
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Old 02-23-2012, 03:01 PM   #2
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As a full timer I have a SD address but my bank is still back east. I pay bills on line and have an ATM/debit card. I never use the debit part. I have not had any problems so far and that is since 7/06. I pay mostly with a cash back credit card and settle up in total each month.
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Old 02-23-2012, 03:12 PM   #3
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Hi bobnshirlene,
This is not even on my list of things to worry about. I have been banking online since before Al Gore invented the Internet. When employed, I traveled the world. Mainly in third world countries. Did banking, paid bills, bought and sold stocks, you name it I did it (financially). At a high level, as long as the address line in your browser (top of the page) begins with https you're good to go. My assumption is you have a firewall and antivirus on your P/C up and running with the latest updates.
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Old 02-23-2012, 04:00 PM   #4
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You do not need to use a commercial agency. Save your money and do it yourself. Only use web sites with https. Every quarter get (you can view online or print) a free credit report from www.annualcreditreport.com. Rotate among the three bureaus so that you see one each quarter. Use credit instead of debit cards so that if someone steals your number you will not have a drained bank account by the time you notice. I know you get it back with fraudulent debit but still takes a couple days, and credit cards do a much better job of watching for fraud. If you are real paranoid you can, in most states, lock your credit so if someone tries to apply for new credit they can't. Kind of a pain if you need credit but works.

DW travels 80% of the time worldwide (air/hotels/restaurants). Every year one of her credit cards is compromised. It is really not a big deal. The cc company overnights a new card (with new account number) and she keeps going. Online banking is safe. Forget about the headlines and scare stories and live your life. JMHO.
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Old 02-23-2012, 04:01 PM   #5
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Using a public or CG wireless connection is safe. Banking and CC transactions the same but make sure the page address says https, the s is for secure. Your firewall should be on and 'file and printer sharing' should be off.

But, before you connect to a wireless network you should know the name of the one provided that you want to use, the exact name. example - RiverRun RV is not the same as Riverrun RV or RiverRun RV2. It is far to easy to set up a wireless network these days. If you sign onto a wireless network hosted by crook your internet traffic is much more vulnerable. Even though you want to connect do not assume it is safe because of a name.
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Old 02-23-2012, 04:20 PM   #6
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Look up SHOPSAFE for credit card transactions. It works great and Good Sam's can't automatically renew.
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Old 02-23-2012, 05:25 PM   #7
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Using a public or CG wireless connection is safe. Banking and CC transactions the same but make sure the page address says https, the s is for secure. Your firewall should be on and 'file and printer sharing' should be off.

But, before you connect to a wireless network you should know the name of the one provided that you want to use, the exact name. example - RiverRun RV is not the same as Riverrun RV or RiverRun RV2. It is far to easy to set up a wireless network these days. If you sign onto a wireless network hosted by crook your internet traffic is much more vulnerable. Even though you want to connect do not assume it is safe because of a name.
Sorry, I beg to differ. Using a public wifi network is NOT safe. The guy in the coach next to you could be sniffing the network, encrypted or not. I would NEVER use a public network for banking transactions. Even worse is using a public computer, like at a campground office or library.
I am extremely careful. I use Ubuntu Linux in a virtual machine on my Mac. My debit card is not linked to my savings account. I have a self-imposed limit on one credit card which I try to use for online purchases only. That way I can monitor accurately what goes on it.
That said, we STILL had fraudulent charges on our Visa card in December. I don't think it was anything I did, I think somebody's database got hacked. The credit union was really good about it, closed the account, deleted the charges and re-issued the cards. But you don't want to take any chances if you don't have to.
We use a Verizon card attached to a WPA2 secured router when we travel.
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Old 02-23-2012, 06:06 PM   #8
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We've used public wi-fi to pay bills using Kaspersky's internet protection. (we do try to stick with using Verizon mi-fi card however) Kespersky has a virtual keyboard(using the mouse) that keystrokes can't be detected. We use our debit cards at gas stations and ATMs but NEVER let them leave our posession...regular credit cards offer more protection on those occasions when that's not possible. For two years this has worked very well while traveling. Bob
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Old 02-23-2012, 06:16 PM   #9
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My advice:

1) Use a CREDIT CARD, not a debit card. Law says you are only responsible for $50 of fraudulent charges on a credit card. No such law governs debit cards. YOU are responsible for money lost due to fraudulent activity on your debit card. (some banks may offer you additional protection, the law does not) Bad guys can CLEAN OUT your account and the bank has no legal responsibility to refund any of it (though some will anyway).

2) Never write paper checks. A paper check contains all the information a crook needs to steal your identity. There is no more insecure financial instrument than a paper check.

3) Make sure any computer you use to access your account online is free of malware. Even if you see 'https' on the location bar, if your computer has a keylogger on it, they can get your passwords. Clark Howard was once advising people to buy a separate computer JUST for online banking, never ever used for any other purpose. You can get a PC for around $300 these days. Not bad advice for otherwise virus-prone types.

4) Shopping online with a credit card is a LOT safer than using your card in a restaurant. Most online transactions complete beginning to end without a human ever seeing it. Handing your card to a pimply faced waitress who disappears for 15 minutes with it is FAR riskier than shopping online at reputible merchants.

5) I have banked online since 1996. I have NEVER had any problems associated with it. On the other hand, I don't generally use Windows or Mac, and so the malware problem is non-existent for me.

6) Previous advice about annualcreditreport.com is sound. They will provide you with one copy of each of your 3 credit reports once a year for free, no catch. I grab one every 4 months from each different agency.

7) Assuming you have a virus/malware free computer (you have to be 100% sure), and you see 'https' in the location bar, your online banking session is theoretically safe, even over public networks. 'https' means end-to-end encryption between your browser, and the web site you're on. Nothing is 100%, use your judgment. If it worries you, you should get an air card and avoid public networks. I wouldn't use public networks for sensitive stuff unless I absolutely cannot avoid it.

8) If you must use Windows, set up and use a USER LEVEL account, instead of an Administrartor account. This will thwart a lot of malware from being able to root itself deeply in your operating system. You rarely need administrator level access for day-to-day computing. If you do get a bug, often you can just delete the user level account to get rid of it.

9) Obvious advice: Never ever use a public computer to access your accounts. If you don't OWN and CONTROL it, never enter any passwords into it.

10) Change your passwords often. Use something that's difficult to guess, but easy to remember. Don't write them down, or store them in a file on your PC.
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Old 02-23-2012, 06:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
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My advice:

1) Use a CREDIT CARD, not a debit card. Law says you are only responsible for $50 of fraudulent charges on a credit card. No such law governs debit cards. YOU are responsible for money lost due to fraudulent activity on your debit card. (some banks may offer you additional protection, the law does not) Bad guys can CLEAN OUT your account and the bank has no legal responsibility to refund any of it (though some will anyway).

2) Never write paper checks. A paper check contains all the information a crook needs to steal your identity. There is no more insecure financial instrument than a paper check.

3) Make sure any computer you use to access your account online is free of malware. Even if you see 'https' on the location bar, if your computer has a keylogger on it, they can get your passwords. Clark Howard was once advising people to buy a separate computer JUST for online banking, never ever used for any other purpose. You can get a PC for around $300 these days. Not bad advice for otherwise virus-prone types.

4) Shopping online with a credit card is a LOT safer than using your card in a restaurant. Most online transactions complete beginning to end without a human ever seeing it. Handing your card to a pimply faced waitress who disappears for 15 minutes with it is FAR riskier than shopping online at reputible merchants.

5) I have banked online since 1996. I have NEVER had any problems associated with it. On the other hand, I don't generally use Windows or Mac, and so the malware problem is non-existent for me.

6) Previous advice about annualcreditreport.com is sound. They will provide you with one copy of each of your 3 credit reports once a year for free, no catch. I grab one every 4 months from each different agency.

7) Assuming you have a virus/malware free computer (you have to be 100% sure), and you see 'https' in the location bar, your online banking session is theoretically safe, even over public networks. 'https' means end-to-end encryption between your browser, and the web site you're on. Nothing is 100%, use your judgment. If it worries you, you should get an air card and avoid public networks. I wouldn't use public networks for sensitive stuff unless I absolutely cannot avoid it.

8) If you must use Windows, set up and use a USER LEVEL account, instead of an Administrartor account. This will thwart a lot of malware from being able to root itself deeply in your operating system. You rarely need administrator level access for day-to-day computing. If you do get a bug, often you can just delete the user level account to get rid of it.

9) Obvious advice: Never ever use a public computer to access your accounts. If you don't OWN and CONTROL it, never enter any passwords into it.

10) Change your passwords often. Use something that's difficult to guess, but easy to remember. Don't write them down, or store them in a file on your PC.
All good advice. On the subject of passwords, the site Password Strength Checker will let you test your password strength. You want to try for something over 80%.
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Old 02-23-2012, 07:40 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by bobnshirlene View Post
Please help us out with any advice about the different products that monitor your credit cards and bank accounts. Any recommendations? It is scary to be out on the road accessing accounts and paying bills on line.

Thanks,

For the last twenty or more years we have traveled around the US & Canada & Alaska using credit cards - one from a San Diego Credit Union and the other a Costco American Express. At some point each have called and left a message on my home answering machine to call them. They apparently have some "flags" that indicate fraud or misuse. Our address is Oregon and when several charges show up in say New York that flags the system and they call. I don't know if all credit card companies do that but you might ask about that for the cards you use. There is no additional charge - they just do it.
Safe Travels
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Old 02-23-2012, 08:10 PM   #12
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I use auto-pay for all my recurring bills. I am notified either online, or by mail as to how much, and when the bill will be paid from my checking account. I usually use my Visa card for gasoline and other purchases when traveling. My Visa card is from my bank, so when it comes time to pay for the previous months purchases, its a simple matter of transferring funds via my laptop from checking to credit card account. For things such as license plates, yearly or semi-yearly bills, I still like to use paper checks.
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Old 02-24-2012, 06:56 AM   #13
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Thanks to all for the great advice, we are "debating" the best way to handle this issue. I'm sure after 33 years he will see that I am right.
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Old 02-24-2012, 01:48 PM   #14
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All good advice. On the subject of passwords, the site Password Strength Checker will let you test your password strength. You want to try for something over 80%.
Password strength is subjective. The password strength checker would probably see "Hns8h3&^93j n&^%nsdf7834n" as a really strong password, but it's one that most people would have to write down or store somewhere on their computer. A password that's written on a post-it stuck on your computer is not very secure no matter what the online password checker thinks.

I advise my clients to concatenate two names, and an important year with symbol characters. For instance "Mary%Bill#1969" is a really difficult password for hackers to guess using brute-force methods, but is really easy to memorize.

Another good tip is to memorize at least three passwords. One strong one for highly sensitive sites (banking, investing, etc), one medium strength one for less critical sites (ebay, craigslist, amazon, etc), and one for trivial sites (online forums, tech support, etc).
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