Keeping your cash hidden under your matress is not safe, but putting into your bank account does not guarantee that it is safe either. Banks invest millions of dollars to try and safeguard our funds, but theives and electronic wizardry are continually finding new ways to fleece our accounts of cash!
I have been lucky, and so far have not become a victim of online cash theft, but I do know people who have been stung, including my ex who has been hit twice in the last 12 months. $450.00 the first time, and just two weeks ago, over $700.00. The first lot he did get back and the second lot is under investigation now, fingers crossed he will have the same positive outcome.
I have had the bank call me a couple of times, in relation to purchases made online from overseas, but fortunately they were all mine and it is good to know the banks are watching and trying to protect us.
When the first theft occured, I did a lot of homework to help find simple ways to protect my money, rather than just hoping that it would not happen to me.
EVERYDAY BANKING – For my day to day banking, I use an ING ‘Orange’ Online Account. Fee free banking and as they don’t have branches, if I need to deposit money I simply go to any Australia Post Office to pop it in to my account, which is handy because they are open on Saturday mornings. I also have a ‘Savings’ account which I can switch money to and from whenever I like with a few clicks of the mouse or even on my phone. I earn intrest on this account, and instead of having large amounts sitting in my everyday account which has Visa Debit access, I keep my extra funds in my savings account, which cannot be touched unless I transfer it into my everyday account. I aim to never have more than $200.00 in my everyday account, keep the balance in my savings account and simply transfer it over if I need to top it up. If someone gets my card details, the maximum they will get to access is $200.00. There are no fee’s to transfer in between accounts or waiting times, the transaction is instantly done as soon as you hit the button.
Where ever possible I try to use EFTPOS at a supermarket or large chain store (Big W, Target, Kmart etc.) if I need to top up cash for my wallet. I avoid teller machines like the plague, as this is where information skimming devices are often planted and your information is collected.
ONLINE SHOPPING – Reputable businesses offer secure payment facilities, but there are many that don’t, and it is through these transactions that your information is often collected.
A safe way to have access to online purchases is with a pre-paid Visa card. Originally designed to improve safety whilst travelling, they work perfectly well from the comfort of your own home, for any online shopping you might like to make. You can purchase them from Australia Post for $26.95, which includes initial $20.00 in credit. You can top them up from your bank account whenever required. The best part is that your bank details are not linked to this card in any way. Woolworths have a Mastercard that works the same way, you can top it up at any supermarket or online.
These cards let you shop online but keep your information safe, awesome!
PAYPAL – I have had a Paypal account for years, as Ebay and I are VERY good friends. I have bought and sold many items and love using paypal to instantly send or receive money, it makes transactions fast and simple. Paypal store all your financial details and these are NEVER shared with the other parties involved. An account is easy to set up, and they also now offer a huge range of stores and services that will accept Paypal as a payment method.
I have had a few ‘strange’ emails from crooks, pretending to be from Paypal, but just as with all banks/financial institutions, they never email you asking for your personal details, so I know to just delete these than fall into that trap. I use AVG for my computer safety at home, and when I get a real Paypal email, it has a lovely big green tick next to it, just to let me know it is the real thing.
We work hard for our money, these simple stratergies are worth the little effort required to keep our money safe, so far so good, and I certainly want to keep it that way!
Have you been a victim of credit card theft and what have you done to keep your money safe?