Receipts Fight Crime!

If you read this blog regularly, you know that I get a kick out of news stories involving receipts, especially if receipts are somehow involved in fighting crime. I came across a story a few days ago online where a woman was arrested because a receipt proved her guilt in a credit card scam.

Basically, a woman tried to use a credit card to buy $630 worth of gift cards. First of all, who buys $630 worth of gift cards at one time? But what was more surprising is that she had replaced the magnetic strip on the back of the card with one from another card. So when the limited information printed on the receipt about the credit card didn’t match up with the card, the cashier got suspicious.

The Federal Trade Commission only allows retailers to print the type of credit card and no more than 5 digits of your credit card number. It basically impossible for anyone to track that number back to any individual person. But it is enough to get you in trouble if you are using a Discover card with a magnetic strip from Visa.

Never forget: receipts run the world.

ID Theft Protect: 10 Smart Ways to Protect Your Online Identity

Shoeboxed has always been dedicated to helping you stay safe online by helping you get organized and limiting the amount of information you have to share with stores. There are lots of other things that you can do to protect yourself, so we sought out the experts to lay it on ya. Julian from ID Theft Protect shared some thoughts with us.

Written by: Julian Evans, Identity Theft Expert and CEO from ID Theft Protect

1. Why use shoeboxed.com?

Shoeboxed.com is a safe and secure way to track what you buy and when. Never print out a receipt nor provide your personal email address to online shopping sites ever again! Shoeboxed.com will help to simplify your life and give you more control over your personal online shopping data which we all at ID Theft Protect believe is an important step in giving the control back to the individual: you!

2. Web filters and safe browsing

Web filtering software allows you and your family the opportunity to control content, blacklist or white list websites and set up passwords. Other powerful options included with some software include, popup and personal information blocking and chat room monitoring.

Safe browsing software allows you to control access to all but selected websites. If you want to control which websites your children see, then this is the solution for you. Other types of safe browsing tools include browser plug-ins which helps you avoid web pages with unwanted content and hidden threats, by rating each page and pages listed in Google, MSN and Yahoo for example.

3. Spam filter

Spam Filter software is an essential tool in today’s world as more and more of us are being spammed. This type of software can be purchased with an Internet Security Suite or as a standalone. Spam filters reduce not eliminate those annoying spam emails and place them into a quarantined folder before they reach your inbox. ID Theft Protect suggests you also consider using an Email Signature Generator which is a service that creates an image file that can be read by humans but not spammers’ robots.

4. Anti-virus

Anti-virus software is an essential tool in protecting your computer. Nearly everyone understands the need for anti-virus, but very few people understand what it does. Anti-virus software detects, repairs, cleans and removes malicious software from your computer. There are currently two types of anti-virus software: one which is signature based (relies on regular updates) and the other is heuristic – which learns and adapts from user and application behaviour (i.e. monitors what you do and when and which applications are running and when)

5. Password Managers

Never have the same password for more than one computer program. Use a password manager software program. You can find information on password managers at ID Theft Protect. You are safe and secure to store your bank chip and pin, national insurance number (NINO), social security number (SSN), banking/checking account details and more in these programs.

6. Prepaid Credit cards and web cards

The prepaid credit card allows you to top your card up with money which you can use at retailers and online shopping websites. The main security advantages of these cards are you do not expose your bank and credit card accounts and you can also control the amount you wish to top up. Another card offered by some banks include what is called a ‘web card’ – it’s not plastic (it’s a virtual online payment card) and best of all your card details are never exposed online. ID Theft Protect suggests individuals should use a “pre-paid” or “web” credit card when shopping on the internet.

7. Firewall

A firewall acts as a barrier between your computer and the internet. The barrier will open and close dependent on the rules set by the firewall. Most firewall programs use default settings as standard, and this will be sufficient to protect your computer from attack. For those of you wishing to have more control, most Firewall software allows you access to advanced settings. TIP: ID Theft Protect suggests you do not use the default Windows Firewall as it only filters incoming traffic. Outgoing traffic should also be filtered as your computer may already be compromised.

8. Anti-Malware

Malware (malicious software) is software that compromises computers to steal personal information or damage your computer system. Anti-Malware software will protect your computer from Adware, Bots, Root kits, Pharming and Spyware. Anti-Malware software should be used in addition to your anti-virus and firewall software.

9. Use Encryption Software

Instead of using your C and/or D drive to store your computer data, you should always use a software encryption program. This software program creates a secure drive in which to work from as well as protect your data from malicious programs, and best of all most work, look and feel the same as Windows XP. TIP: Store your outlook.pst and password manager file on the secure drive for added security!

10. Wi-Fi and Hotspot security

Make sure your home or office Wi-Fi network is secure using WPA encryption instead of the default WEP security setting. Refer to the user manual, or why not visit ID Theft Protect to learn more about the WPA setting. For those of you who use Wi-Fi hotspots in cafes, hotels and airports for example, ID Theft Protect suggests you use Hotspot security software.

TIP: Keep your Microsoft Windows and Office updated with the latest security updates. Remember to keep your security software (anti-Malware, anti-virus, anti-spam, anti-spyware and firewall) updated as well. Finally do not forget to visit ID Theft Protect for all the latest on identity fraud and data privacy.

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ID Theft Protect is a leading resource for individuals and small enterprises who want to protect themselves against Identity Theft, Identity Fraud and Data Privacy. The website is designed to identify how at threat individuals are personally, and provide information and solutions to both current and future threats to their privacy. The site is interactive allowing individuals to build their own personal profile, and take the steps necessary to protect themselves.

Check out their quiz here.

A Safer Way to Get Organized Online

There has been a decent amount of chatter recently about the security of financial applications on the Internet. Lots of people are scared to tell a company that they don’t know what all their financial information is. We totally get that. I’m not comfortable with it either.

But I still track my online and offline spending at Shoeboxed, and it’s because I don’t have to tell anyone my personal financial data, AND I can still get all of it organized. How?

The Federal Trade Commission requires that businesses cannot print or electronically send receipts with more than the last 5 digits of a credit card number or any information regarding the expiration date. Limiting this information makes the receipt untraceable back to the credit card number and associated sensitive data. Credit card numbers and expiration dates are common targets for identity thieves and scammers, so it makes sense for businesses to exclude that information on their receipts to protect their customers.

This is important to remember when signing up for and using Shoeboxed. Many people are worried about storing financial information like credit card and bank account numbers online, but with Shoeboxed, the receipts you organize have none of that information. Nothing that you upload or send to your account would be personally identifiable, and this makes your data much more secure.

This makes Shoeboxed unique from most every other financial application on the Internet. You can get control of your finances and organize receipts with just as much ease on Shoeboxed as any other site, but with Shoeboxed, we never ask for all that sensitive data.