jinasphinx: (Sphinx)
[personal profile] jinasphinx
What do you do to keep your financial information safe, and why?

Examples: never pay with physical checks because bank account number is in plaintext, not use online banking because of fear of hacking, shred all financial statements because of dumpster-divers, etc.

oooh, a short answer test! I love those! :-)

Date: 2015-05-02 04:14 pm (UTC)
walkitout: (Default)
From: [personal profile] walkitout
(1) I never, ever, ever give my credit card number to anyone who calls _me_. If they have it on file, I may authorize a charge to it, but only if I don't have to give them the number. I'm happy to confirm last four.

(2) When my financial institution(s) send me email, I never click on links in the email. I go to the website, log into my account, and figure out how to do whatever I wanted to do from there.

(3) When my financial institutions ask me questions in email (this happens occasionally), I usually call them on the phone and talk to them about it. I use the number I already have for them, not one included in the email (this is _so_ overkill in the situations I use it that it makes me laugh, but I do it anyway).

(4) I use physical checks for about three situations (paying someone to do something around the house, the play therapist, the agency cut for the babysitter). In two of those circumstances, I physically hand the check over. In the other, I mail it. (I also pay some tax bills with physical checks, now that I think about it.). However, I _never_ carry a checkbook with me. If I need to hand over a check in person, I leave the book of blanks at home and bring _one_ check with me, often filled out in advance if I have the number. This is the minimize risk of losing a book of checks and the monster ensuing risk/hassle that ensues.

(5) I have LastPass, to support maximum use of online bill pay (otherwise, I would avoid setting up accounts to pay through, because of the hassle of round tripping password reminders). This is also to minimize the amount of paper mail, which in turn minimizes the need to shred paper statements which have account numbers on them.

(6) I occasionally go on a purge-and-shred binge through the files, to get rid of older documents and make space for new. This happens less and less, as there is less paper to file.

(7) I do not have electronic trading set up on accounts. Trades have to be verbally confirmed by my people, and I have long standing (shortest is close to a decade now; the longest is close to two) relationships and they know that (a) no one, not even my husband, is authorized to trade on my behalf and (b) they recognize my voice.

If I think of more, I will let you know!

Re: oooh, a short answer test! I love those! :-)

Date: 2015-05-02 04:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jinasphinx.livejournal.com
Thank you for the answers!

If you don't mind a followup question: from your mention of online bill-pay, I'm guessing you use online banking? How did you decide it was safe to use?

Re: oooh, a short answer test! I love those! :-)

Date: 2015-05-02 05:28 pm (UTC)
walkitout: (Default)
From: [personal profile] walkitout
I am never _entirely_ certain what some of these words mean. When I say I pay bills online, what I mean is I sign up with the people I owe money to (like, Verizon, or the water company or a credit card company, or the State of Massachusetts Department of Revenue) and use their website. So it pulls money from either a credit card account or a checking account, depending on which I use in each particular case. I realize there are ways to make it work the other direction (you use a bank's website or whatever to send money out to various bills you owe), but I could never figure out how the hell to make that work.

As for safety, I did _not_ decide that it was safe to use, because that's an impossible determination to make. What I decided was that my legal liability in the event of something awful happening somewhere in the process was not different than if I paid by sending a check in the mail in response to a paper statement and attached bill (still owe the money, and if someone commits fraud, the account the money is coming from is on the hook for it, not me, as long as I am paying attention and appropriately notify the institution in the event of weird badness). I concluded that it was as easy or easier for me to make the payment AND pay attention for weird badness online as on paper (actually, def easier!), so the deciding factor was not safety (nothing is safe and the liability is identical) but rather ease of use. I'm happy to continue providing follow up information/opinion on this topic -- it's one of my favorites and few people are actually interested most of the time.

Re: oooh, a short answer test! I love those! :-)

Date: 2015-05-02 05:49 pm (UTC)
walkitout: (Default)
From: [personal profile] walkitout
For example, here is USA Today coverage of the kind of bill pay that I never could figure out:

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/industries/banking/2011-06-17-what-banks-dont-tell-you-about-automatic-bill-pay_n.htm

In fact, I am fairly certain that there are services that exist to help people figure out how to set up automatic bill pay.

And more, I assume about the same thing. http://www.marketplace.org/topics/your-money/why-dont-more-consumers-use-automatic-bill-pay

When I first moved across country, I set everything up with paperless statements and pay online through the vendor. I had actually forgotten I did this years later when I went to set a lot of this stuff up a second time; the original stuff had all reverted to paper due to vendor error, a bounced or delayed email, etc. Things don't revert to paper as readily any more, thank goddess.
Edited Date: 2015-05-02 05:51 pm (UTC)

Date: 2015-05-04 04:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] maniakes.livejournal.com
1. I don't click links in emails to get to financial institution websites or sites where I'll be entering payment information, for fear of phishing. Instead I type the URL by hand if I already know it or I google the company's name to find their webpage.

2. I take care when disposing of documents with financial info on them (statements, credit card offers, expired cards, etc). I used to shred them until my shredder broke. Now I either burn them or tear them up and toss them in the bucket with the used kitty litter.

3. I check my account activity periodically for charges I don't recognize, and I check my credit reports every year or two.

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