personal security http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/12503/all en-US How to Avoid Phishing Scams http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-phishing-scams <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-avoid-phishing-scams" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000014773673Small-2.jpg" alt="Burglar" title="Burglar" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="134" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I offer up advertising space on some of my websites. Most transactions are fairly simple, and there's no need to exchange personal information.</p> <p>Recently I received an initial email, and after following up with my standard rates and services, things took a little bit of an unexpected turn. First, the woman emailing accepted my first offer, which rarely happens. I always offer a price higher than what I expect to settle for. By offering a high rate, I leave room for some negotiation that will result in a fair price. While it's not typical, that alone wasn't enough for me to get concerned. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/conversation-killers-what-s-holding-you-back-from-negotiating">What's Holding You Back From Negotiating?</a>)</p> <p>The deal was for a one-time payment of $250, but along with the agreement was a request for me to fill out a W-9 (which requires my social security number and address) so they could send me a 1099-MISC at the end of the year. This wasn't an absurd request, and with companies based in the U.S., it's expected at times. What was strange was that the requirement typically kicks in after receiving $600 or more from a company, and since we were at less than half of that, it raised a question in my mind &mdash; could I be getting scammed?</p> <p>After several emails back and forth, it became apparent that it was simply company policy and the company was a trustworthy one, so in this case, there was nothing to worry about.</p> <p>While this woman was working for a legitimate business, though, phishing scams are a very real concern. In fact, phising was listed as one of the <a href="http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=238262,00.html">2011 Dirty Dozen Tax Scams</a> that the IRS puts out each year. <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phishing">According to Wikipedia</a>, &quot;phishing is a way of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity.&quot;</p> <p>Here are some tips on how to avoid phishing scams.</p> <h3>Be suspicious of any requests for your personal information.</h3> <p>Banks and credit card companies will never ask you for your personal information (because they already have it), especially via email or phone, so if you receive something asking you to verify your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/identity-theft">identity</a>, stay away!</p> <h3>Don't click on links from people you don't know or trust.</h3> <p>If the Prince of Africa tries to contact us, we all know to stay away. But the same thing should be true of an old friend you never thought you'd hear from again.</p> <h3>Don't be scared of emails.</h3> <p>If there really was an issue with your bank account or your home being foreclosed on, you would get something via snail mail. Even urgent messages likely won't be coming via the Internet, so be cautious.</p> <h3>Use truly secure websites.</h3> <p>Most of the time, if the URL begins with <em>https</em> instead of <em>http</em>, you are on a secure website. However, phishers are getting more sophisticated and can forge certificates in order to fool people, so also <a href="http://www.us-cert.gov/cas/tips/ST05-010.html">check the site's security certificate for validity</a>. If it's not valid, stay far away!</p> <p>Whenever someone requests your social security number or address, whether it's a part of a business or some other transaction, always think about why they want the details and be sure to confirm that they are who you think they are.</p> <p><em>What other tips do you have for avoid phishing scams?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/daniel-packer">Daniel Packer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-phishing-scams">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-mystery-shopping-scam-that-could-cost-you-a-fortune">The mystery shopping scam that could cost you a fortune.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-the-nasty-secret-of-the-craigslist-free-section">Beware, The Nasty Secret Of The Craigslist Free Section</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-vicious-home-rental-scam-dont-get-conned">The vicious Home Rental Scam – don’t get conned.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-being-had-learn-from-5-crazy-ponzi-schemes">Are You Being Had? Learn From 5 Crazy Ponzi Schemes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/five-quick-and-simple-scams-that-could-happen-to-you-today">Five quick and simple scams that could happen to you today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs personal security scam social security number Thu, 14 Jul 2011 10:24:06 +0000 Daniel Packer 600085 at http://www.wisebread.com Travel and Money: Carrying Decoy Wallets http://www.wisebread.com/travel-and-money-carrying-decoy-wallets <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/travel-and-money-carrying-decoy-wallets" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/6084776479_e3b6478aa1_z.jpg" alt="man with wallet" title="man with wallet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Traveling safely and managing your money along the way is an exercise in balancing multiple risks: theft, loss, high surcharges, and confusing discrepancies. This <strong>Travel and Money series </strong>discusses various ways to address money and security issues while you are abroad.</em></p> <p>A friend of mine left the bar he had enjoyed a few drinks at to walk back to his hotel. It wasn&rsquo;t late, but it was late enough. He wasn&rsquo;t drunk, but he had certainly drunk enough. And he wasn&rsquo;t in an unsafe area, but it was dodgy enough. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/disguise-your-stuff-to-prevent-car-break-ins" title="Disguise Your Stuff to Prevent Car Break-ins ">Disguise Your Stuff to Prevent Car Break-ins</a>)</p> <p>He had visited this town before, and had all the street sense of a seasoned city-dweller &mdash; even with a few drinks in him. So he had relatively little to worry about.</p> <p>Alert and aware of his surroundings, he crossed the street and rounded a corner. Wham! Face to face he came with a group of big guys with even bigger scowls on their faces. The exchange of minced English and foreign words that took place was fast and furious. It all ended with my friend receiving a body-doubling punch in the stomach, and a not entirely cordial request for his money.</p> <p>He reached into his pocket and reluctantly drew out his wallet. His perpetrator grabbed it, quickly opened it to reveal a few small bills and a few cards. He sneered at this paltry take and ran off with his friends, wallet in hand, before they could create too much of a ruckus and attract attention.</p> <p>My friend slowly stood up, and once he determined they were out of sight and not coming back, smiled &mdash; just a bit. His robbers hadn&rsquo;t actually robbed him. They had run off with his decoy wallet.</p> <h2>Carrying a Decoy Wallet</h2> <p>Two risks you face when traveling in certain areas of the world are mugging and pick-pocketing. (Heck, you might just as easily get mugged or pick-pocketed in your hometown, however your chances are often lessened if you don&rsquo;t look like a tourist and don&rsquo;t hang out in tourist places. Tourists are prime targets for theft.)</p> <p>The best way to stay safe in the event of a mugging is to give your perpetrator what they want. That is, without giving up what you need.</p> <h2>Decoy Wallet Components</h2> <p>My friend carries his decoy wallet in his jeans pocket, where most people have their wallets. It isn&rsquo;t flashy, and doesn&rsquo;t stand out. But a savvy pickpocket can relieve him of his wallet in a crowded marketplace or subway, and he could give it up on duress and his robber would be none the wiser. Because to most people, this wallet seems as real as it can be.</p> <p>He carries a few small bills in the wallet, and even uses this wallet to pay for items while out and about. He only carries the cash he anticipates needing for each day in his wallet, locking the rest safely up at his hotel. If he needs more than he is comfortable losing in one go, he carries the bulk of his cash somewhere else on his body (like a money belt, hidden inside pocket, or in his shoe), and steals away to the bathroom to replenish his wallet when needs be.</p> <p>He also has a few cards to bulk out the wallet, including:</p> <ul> <li>Blockbuster membership card</li> <li>Library card</li> <li>Inactivated credit card</li> </ul> <p>He ensures that the possessor of these cards can&rsquo;t <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-your-own-identity-what-to-do-when-yours-is-stolen">steal his identity</a> or access his funds. They are essentially useless. But on first &mdash; and even second &mdash; glance, they appear to be real.</p> <p>The inactivated credit card is the stroke of genius in this plot. No perpetrator will know that the card hasn&rsquo;t been activated until they try to use it, at which time they&rsquo;ll simply be out of luck.</p> <h2>Over-Compensation?</h2> <p>Some people might suggest that this strategy is an act of over-compensation, and according to the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/budgeting-projection-of-prophecy">law of attraction</a> may actually cause more problems. I say it all depends on where you are traveling to, and how travel-savvy you are.</p> <p>There are many people (around the world, but especially in developing countries) who commit acts of theft and robbery as a way of life. A friend of mine who is an incredibly seasoned traveler was drugged in Bangkok &mdash; where he lived for six months no less &mdash; when he ordered a drink that had been spiked. A couple I know who was traveling through South America got in the wrong taxi and ended up having all their bags stolen. And another friend had her purse snatched in Rome.</p> <p>Would I go to the trouble of putting together a decoy wallet in a city where I blend in and feel entirely comfortable? Probably not; instead I&rsquo;d just use some street-sense (and of course, I still wouldn&rsquo;t <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-and-money-how-to-get-and-carry-cash-safely-and-securely">carry all my cash</a> and ID in one place).</p> <p>But in an area known for petty theft and crime? Absolutely; I&rsquo;d rather be safe than sorry.</p> <h2>Other articles in this Travel and Money Series:</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-and-money-using-your-debit-card-on-the-road">Using your Debit Card on the Road</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-and-money-using-your-credit-card-on-the-road">Using Your Credit Card on the Road</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-and-money-how-to-get-and-carry-cash-safely-and-securely">How to Get and Carry Cash Safely and Securely</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-and-money-using-prepaid-travel-cards">Prepaid Travel Cards</a></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-and-money-carrying-decoy-wallets">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/23-travel-hacks-that-will-save-time-money-and-your-sanity">23 Travel Hacks That Will Save Time, Money, and Your Sanity</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/passport-pictures-for-under-a-dollar">Passport Pictures for Under a Dollar</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-and-money-using-prepaid-travel-cards">Travel and Money: Using Prepaid Travel Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-insane-life-affirming-and-cheap-things-you-must-do-before-you-die">10 Insane, Life-Affirming, and Cheap Things You Must Do Before You Die</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/23-airport-hacks-to-remember-before-your-next-flight">23 Airport Hacks to Remember Before Your Next Flight</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Travel decoy wallets personal security travel and money Mon, 20 Sep 2010 12:00:10 +0000 Nora Dunn 241267 at http://www.wisebread.com