I’ve been pick-pocketed at haymarket( I was naive), passport stolen in a hotel lobby (I let my guard down), hacked while ordering holiday gifts from the internet at an airport (bad guys bought shoes from Zappos minutes later), hacked while ordering theater tickets from a hotel wifi, bumped in the subway and the handsome young man looked me in the eye, and almost got my $ (it was hooked in my purse).
When I wired euros to a bank in Spain for a recent trip, a phish e mail came to my investment co. to send more $ and they called me immediately.
Per their advice: I changed my e mail and password for financials to be different than my personal e mail.

We know NOT to send money to the Prince of Nigeria when asking for a contribution.
We know NOT to open any attachments from people we know that look strange.
We know NOT to open any attachments from companies where the logo is slightly different than the real thing. (UPS and Fedex have been hacked)
We know NOT to give our social security number to anyone.

What can we do to prevent the bad guys from depleting our bank accounts?
I recently went to a discussion on How to Protect Yourself from Cyberfraud sponsored by Fidelity.
This is not an endorsement; however I better understood that both Fidelity and Crestwood use Voltage Security which has
data encryption ensuring sensitive information secure, user ID and Passwords created only with explicit authorization, security through InvestCloud, firewall in place to help screen out hackers, viruses, and worms that reach computers. Fidelity is investing heavily to make their customers secure. Most financial institutions are going green so information is not sent in the mail.

For all client requests via e mail for a wire/check they call the client to verify and require ID verification-last 4 digits of social sec # and birth date, follow up with appropriate paperwork, and calling when complete. Wire fraud was a $40 million business last year. Money mules target a higher percentage of women (because they are on dating sites).

How do these hackers work?
They send out thousands for phish e mails and only get a small percentage back to start creating a profile to get to you. They look at behavior, what you buy, what you do in social media, what information you share, where you have been, when you might not be home, what pictures you take and share, what property and cars you might buy.

Fidelity suggested pulling up your credit report on all 3 credit bureaus annually and make sure there are no inquiries i.e. searching the line of credit on your house especially if you have made a recent purchase.
Elderly exploitation (senior investors) is big business too, so help our parents not to get dupped. ‘Diminished capacity’ is vulnerable. Many of those have AOL…and are targets.

What can you do?
-stop looking at sensitive information in public wifi places (airport and hotels)
-order things from the security of your home
-call your credit card companies when traveling to let them know (Amex does not require this as they have an extensive fraud dept)
-empty your trash every night if your computer does not do this automatically…and shred…and don’t forget to log out
-change your passwords once a year (this is frightening) and don’t keep passwords on your contacts
-have a different e mail and passwords for financials
-only work with institutions and credit card companies (and e mail links) that invest continually in technology for fraud
-ATM’s have cameras that can see what numbers you enter so cover your entry
-give push back to anyone needing your social security number…even the last 4 digits

Target’s breach will in the end cost them $1 billion of business with loss of customer confidence. Takes 20 yrs to build a reputation and a 5 minutes to loose it. Give transparency to customers. Here’s how it happened. 
American banks will have to do what the rest of the world has done in having the chip placed in credit cards. Because the US does not have this program (ten years behind) it is responsible for more than half of the fraud in the world. Adding this technology platform is slated for end of 2015.

My cousin’s son Max works for Lowe’s in Charlotte and shared with me that they ask their tech employees to try to break into their systems to make sure there is quality control in their secure technology.  Lowe’s has continued training and mtgs for the IT employees and more departments are focused on fraud to understand the Target security breach. That’s a good thing.

MONEY IN THE NEWS: BitCoin-Digital On Line Currency is coming. It is only a matter of when. You order dollars at one price, and then use coins as if the were money to buy stuff.  Overstock.com is the only retailer now that accepts bit coins in the form of payment.  The #on the account has no real name, and coins are transferred through wireless devices so you cannot be tracked. Today one BitCoin is worth $464 and one can pay with decimal points. I hear someone bought a house worth a half million # with BitCoins…

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE BAG?

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I have the best purse ever! From Roots in Canada from friends…
Zippers inside for money and passport, and outside for phone, Hooks, Shoulder Strap, Handles to hold or under arm.
Big enough for travel brochure and map and not heavy. I’m ready to go. Bad Guys Beware…