RFID ~ protect your data

I have the pleasure of calling fellow scam fighter Denise Richardson my friend, and she introduced me to a product that can help protect everyone, and I had to share it with you.

First off, do you know what a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag is?  A RFID tag holds your name, credit card number and anything else that your bank or credit card company decides to embed on it.

Now this is where I say “Why don’t these people use their minds for good instead of evil” . . . I say this because there are also Radio Frequency Readers and Remote Frequency Readers that allow you to read, or skim, the information off of someone else’s RFID tags without ever touching the card that those tags are embedded on!  Yes, someone actually went out and created a hand held device that you can use to collect the credit card information of other people . . . people sitting next to you on the bus, or walking down the street.

So, how do the REST of us protect ourselves from those that are using their minds for evil instead of good, or those that have purchased the products that these evil thinkers have created?  There are companies like Kena Kai and Magellan’s that have wallets that actually block RFID reading products.  See . . . now THAT is someone using their minds for GOOD and not evil!

How did I find out about these wallets?  From Denise Richardson of GiveMeBackMyCredit.com If you would like to read what Denise has to say about these products you can read her blog on the topic.

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Scams and Trying to Educate People

I had a former co-worker email me the other day and she told me she was reading her Homemade Simple Magazine, and saw my name in it.
While I was VERY happy to see this article about scams, since this helps to educate people to what is going on, I was disappointed to see that some of the facts were not accurate.  Here is a portion of the article that is speaking about how to verify the status of a cashier’s check . . .
To find out a check’s status, call your bank twice (talk to two different workers in case one doesn’t understand the process) to verify that the check has been fully processed. Otherwise you lose the money if the check is a fake.
This would not be accurate.  In the case of our story, I spoke with two different bank employees BEFORE I withdrew the money from the account, and both of them told me that the check was “good”, “clear”, “verified”, “funds were available” and that I “had nothing to worry about”.  Once we found out the check was counterfeit and were dealing with the bank’s loss prevention department we asked them the same question, and we had two different people from THAT department tell us that “a cashier’s check is verified as good within 24 hours”.  These people in the loss prevention department knew what had happened to us, yet they were still giving us the same inaccurate information.
The ONLY real way to find out if the check is counterfeit or not is to call the bank that is listed on the check as the issuing bank.  Also, you cannot trust the phone number listed on the check.  The scammers have gotten smart and have started altering those also so that they go to one of the people within their group who will tell you that the check is good.  You need to do a Google search to find the official website of the issuing bank, or the Yellow Pages listing for that bank, and then call that phone number.
The advice from this article in regards to counterfeit cashier’s checks would not save anyone from becoming a victim of these types of scams.  It is sad, because the point of the article was to show real world situations that the everyday person could become involved in, and how they can be aware and protect themselves from these scams.
It looks like we still have a LOT of education to do, especially to the people that are trying to help educate the average American.

MyMoney.gov

MyMoney.gov is the Federal Government’s website dedicated to helping Americans understand more about their money – how to save it, invest it, and manage it to meet their personal goals. You can use the resources on this site to learn how to manage your money better – and we hope you’ll share what you learn with others.

There are sections of this website devoted to
Knowing your consumer rights
Scams and Fraud

What are they thinking!?!?!

A fellow scam fighter alerted me to an article this past week about a new feature in mobile banking.  Soon you will be able to take a photo of a check with your phone and then get that check deposited into your banking account.  My first thought was that the banks need to fix the problems and issues that they already have with check deposits before they create a whole new way for people to deposit their checks.

The article says

Banks have already offered smartphone applications that let customers check balances, transfer funds and make payments.

Yes, they do.  I have even heard some banks say that they can send you an email to alert you when a check has cleared.  If you read this blog on a regular basis, you will know that I have a big problem with the banks using the term “cleared” to customers.  Our bank told us that our cashier’s check was “cleared” and then one week later they called us to tell us that it was counterfeit.

Back to the article that I was talking about.  It goes on to explain how this new technology would work.

A bank customer takes a photo of the front of the check and the back of the check that has been signed by the customer. The photo gets sent to the bank through its mobile application. In most cases, funds are in the customers account immediately.

Wait a minute . . . immediately!?!?!  So now if someone were to take a picture of a cashier’s check, they could start using that money right away?  What about waiting for the check to be verified at a legitimate check?  What about protecting the banking customer’s funds by holding the check until it has passed through the system?  Oh wait, they don’t do that now with paper checks so why would they do it with electronic image checks.

Here is the ONLY positive side I could see about this.  There are some people that have taken a cashier’s check that they wanted verified into the bank and have been arrested for presenting a counterfeit check.  With this technology they could send a picture of the check into the bank instead of actually going into a branch location.  Of course, if the check is found to be counterfeit the bank could probably send the police to the person’s house to arrest them for trying to pass a counterfeit check.

More banks are expected to add the feature, especially as consumers demand 24 hour banking.

I would think that those same customers who are demanding 24 hour banking would also demand that the bank is looking out for their best interest.  How about giving us accurate information on when the money from a check is truly ours to use and spend without any worries?  How about telling the customer that the funds are available, but it could take 10 business days or more for the check to be verified as legitimate.  That is what this bank customer demands.

Florida, in two weeks

It is less than two weeks until the National Consumer Empowerment Conference and Expo in Hollywood, Florida

http://www.givemebackmycredit.com/blog/2009/08/31/Expo%20Invite.pdf

Both consumers and advocates coming together to share resources, ideas and discuss the issues.

Join us!

Sammy Rabbit

 

Yesterday I spoke on the phone with a wonderful man by the name of Sam Renick.  His site, www.itsahabit.com helps to teach children about good habits when it comes to money and saving.  I spoke with him about a possible partnership where we could teach children about scams and fraud.  My thought is that you need to teach the next generation about these issues so that they can have the tools to better protect themselves when they are out on their own.  How does scam and fraud education tie into financial education?  Well, once you have your money in your wallet/pocket/bank account, you have to know about scams and fraud otherwise the scammers will try to take that money from you.  Now I just have to figure out how to take this idea down to a young child’s level.  I need a good saying, like the old fire safety “Stop, Drop and Roll” that kids can remember and relate to . . . and then Sammy Rabbit and Scam Victims United can bring this message to the kids.

 

Please check out Sam Renick’s site. 

Author, Founder, CEO, Social Entrepreneur
The It’s a Habit! Company, Inc.
Award Winning Financial Education Products & Programs Since 2001
www.itsahabit.com
www.sammyrabbitblog.com
http://twitter.com/sammysays