fairly new to computers or don't feel very knowledgeable, tend to be
distrustful of doing business online.
When I say doing business online, in this case I mean dealing with any kind
of financial transactions or information (both for personal reasons or for
your job or business), including ordering something from a website, or
doing online banking.
I wanted to share a few thoughts on this and tell you about an unpleasant surprise I just got recently.
I went to check my business bank account online and saw a pretty big
charge that I didn't recognize showing as "in process". In process means
that the money hadn't been taken out of my account yet but it is in the
process of happening. You don't normally see this on a printed or mailed
bank statement, but it's a common enough thing to see when you check
your account activity online.
In the description I saw a phone number and decided to Google it to make
sure I hadn't somehow forgotten that I'd ordered something. What came
up was a website for "Anytime Meds", one of those websites (which can
often be pretty shady and risky to buy from) that sells prescription
Now as soon as I saw that I knew the charge was fraudulent since I take
care of myself pretty well and am fortunate enough to be healthy and so
don't need to take prescription meds (and wouldn't buy them from a
random overseas site since they may not be safe to take). So I
immediately called my bank and started the process of getting the
charges reversed, and had them issue a replacement card as a precaution.
Now if I relied on traditional mailed bank statements, it would have been
close to two weeks before I would've found out about the problem, and in
that time not only would I have had a lower balance than I thought
because of this first charge, but would have had to wait even longer
before getting the money back, and might have had even more fraudulent
charges put on my card!
Thanks to the fact that I could check my bank account activity instantly
online, I was saved what could have been pretty serious problems. So
if you've ever been worried about using online banking, ordering online,
etc. in many ways it can actually be safer.
For example, people often feel uncomfortable ordering things with a
credit card online, but here's the thing -- most theft happens because
people are greedy or unethical, right?
Well which is safer then? Using your credit card at a restaurant (where
most people never think twice about it) or on a secure website like mine
I would say it's using it on a secure website. Why? Think about how easy
it could be for a waiter or waitress to pull their cell phone out of their
back pocket when they walk off with your card, and snap a picture of it
and the number?
Now I'm not saying most wait staff would do this, but it's been known to
happen. Somebody gets greedy, or is in a financial fix and makes a bad
On the other hand, I've never heard of a greedy computer.
Here's a few tips to keep you safe:
1) If you use online banking, use a unique username and password
that you never use anywhere else. This is always a good idea, but
2) Many times you are asked if you want to save your password on
a website. This is usually OK, but I would never do it on a bank site
because if someone gets in front of your computer they are a few
clicks away from your bank account!
(Listen to my free "Secrets of Computer Security" MP3 for more on this)
Memorize your password instead, at least for this one site.
3) If you order online, all websites accept bank cards with a Visa or
MasterCard logo on them, so you don't have to use a "real" credit card.
Not only does this save you on interest payments, you can set up a
special bank account that you only keep a relatively low balance in.
This way in the worst case scenario, you can never be out more than
whatever limited amount you've put into that special account.
Hopefully these ideas will help you feel more confident and be more
safe on the Internet and in the world.
until next time, take care and enjoy,
P.S. Remember, you can download my special report "Secrets of
Computer Security" now by subscribing to my free computer
newsletter and filling out a quick 6-question survey that will help
me to better help you with your computer challenges. Just use
the form below this post, or go to the front page of my website
and use the form there.