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Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Interestingly, I read this post shortly after I saw the article below describing how Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Fed was a victim of identity theft. It can happen to anyone. Thanks for the tips Howard.


Thanks for the good word(s) Howard. Earlier this summer I received a phone call from Capital One asking if I'd made 3 purchases in El Paso, TX -- I'm in CA. Somehow someone had gotten my card number and actually created a new credit card! They spent almost $500 before the card was cancelled. Capital One has a zero liability policy, so I was okay. But it was definitely unnerving to know that someone had the ability to actually create a new card and then use it out of state.

One thing I did in response to this was to notify Capital One when I took my big trip throughout CA this summer. I wanted them to know that I'd be charging lots of gas to my card up and down the state, but that it would only be within CA. They appreciated the information and flagged my account, noting when I'd be home also. Kind of reassuring.

Excellent post, if I may add. While not exactly the same, you can get a free credit report every 2 months using your spouse. You every Jan, May, and Sept, spouse every Mar, July and Nov using the website you provided.
Thanks and see you in October.

Stay Safe

I'm sure I'll hear from critics, but I have to point out that Apple's Macintosh computers require NO anti virus software. I've been running all my Macs for almost a decade with absolutely NO security software. It's just not required. Maybe one day, maybe, but for now they just don't need it. Macs are safe and secure. Period. And not because nobody writes bad stuff aimed at the Mac. It's because it's so darn HARD to write bad code for the Mac. It's inherent security measures are designed in and it just won't let that bad stuff run.

-- jcw

Great information and a lot of valuable tips... Thanks!

Have Fun & Travel Safe

About a year ago I started using a USB drive to store documents and programs I use regularly because I use so many computers. This allowed me to keep things in one spot, move between computers, easily back up data, etc. But the point of this comment is to tell people about a program called KeePass (and programs like it), that let you securely keep your ID/password information. This thing is wonderful. It lets me keep different/unique passwords for all my accounts and to let them be incredibly difficult and long. In the past I used one or two passwords that were fairly short for everything--not smart, but the only way to really do it without writing them down. Now, my passwords are very long and a random mess. When I need to login to something, I bring up KeePass, enter my one master password, select where I want to go, and just copy/paste my ID/password. I don't even have to type in that big ole' mess of a password!

Bonus--the program will run on many PDA/mobile phones. So I just copy the data file from my USB drive to my PC and phone from time to time. I only make changes on the USB drive.

I also have a different encryption program on my USB drive that lets me store my bank/stock/etc. statements in a secure way, plus other things like our Will, Living Will, etc.

Having everything on the thumb drive makes backups easy. I just copy all the files to my desktop or a CD from time to time. Plus, since everything is encrypted, if I do lose it, no big deal. I have one "master" password that I do not use for anything else. My wife knows it, and it is with our paper copies of wills and important docs.

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