It seems like online security is the topic of the day. Equifax, Capital One, Target and so many other companies have been front page of the news when it comes to Cyber attacks. At the center of this dilemma is your online security.
Years ago before the Internet was as advanced it is today we didn’t really worry over the the amount of work thats required to manage all of the business accounts that we have with different vendors and businesses–utilities, cell phone, gym membership–along with the headache of managing passwords and the frequency and timing of payments.
Before the Internet, we would pay for things in cash–although many of us still do pay for things in cash–we would also write checks or money orders and that would solve it. Pay for something once, and you’re done. No worries over tracking payments, multiple overdraft fees per declined transaction, etc., and paying for things in cash is great but most businesses today are digital.
Digital meaning that they allow you to transact for their products and services over the Internet, and for most businesses it’s the preferred method.
**Sidenote: If you still operate a cash business thats cool but cash businesses don’t scale so get with the times!**
So in todays always “on” digital landscape, the pervasiveness of the Internet, and the ease at which Technology allows us to pay for services online, almost ALL of our transactions for products and services take place on the Internet. However, with this comes some very inherent flaws in how the Internet works and how our data is stored, managed, and manipulated.
Because out data sits on computers, kinda like the ones we have at home, they are susceptible to being hacked and tampered with by individuals seeking to fraudulently use our information for their own financial gain.
Data Protection and Cyber Security is a byproduct of this wonderful technological invention that we call “The Internet”, and its a result of some very smart people designing something that inherently had flaws within it’s design. As amazing as it is for all of us to be able to use the Internet, the downside is that it’s also become something that has caused a lot of financial loss to many of those that use it.
You use your credit cards to authorize businesses to debit (take, subtract funds) from your account to pay for things. You take the information off of your card and you enter it into a webpage online. That data gets stored in a database that the company owns and manages.
The reason why we see so many data breaches these days is because it is very difficult for large organizations to secure that data given the size and scope of the systems that they have to manage. To add to that, you also have to manage the “people” aspect in securing those Information Systems.
So for someone like myself that has to keep up with all of my account information it increasingly becomes a challenge. I have to manage my own accounts, maintain my logins, ensure I change my passwords regularly, be mindful of HOW I connect to the Internet (religious use of VPN’s), plus worry about the other aspects of my online experience that I CAN’T control, being the businesses that I trust with my personal data.
It’s a lot and most consumers aren’t aware of the dangers.
So HOW is this a real issue?
I’ll use myself as an example:
I pay for everything either online or via mobile, and when I say everything I mean EVERYTHING. I very rarely carry cash and I am big proponent of Paypal, CashApp, and another website called Privacy.com, which I’m going to talk about in a moment.
But, why you might ask?
Convenience is the primary reason.
For Businesses they ultimately want to ensure that they can create the ideal and quickest path to you paying for whatever they’re selling. Businesses want to make it easier for you to transact with them and that makes perfect sense…
But what about YOU, the consumer?
One of the issues I often run into is that I find it hard to keep up with my recurring transactions that come out of my checking account. I’ve never really been concerned about someone fraudulently gaining access to my account since I do monitor it very closely and make good use of things like two-factor authentication (2FA) and Password Managers, but it has become a hassle to keep up specifically with all of my online account details and my passwords.
Case and point: Below is a screenshot of my vault inside the Password Manager that I use across all of my devices. As you can see I have 285 online accounts, give or take, that I use to login to different websites.
However, this has been an issue for me for a very LONG time in trying to control when and how much money comes out of my account for products and services that I signed up for.
This particularly becomes an issue when emergencies comes up (broken water heater, car repairs) that can cost thousands of dollars that you weren’t expecting to have to pay for at a short notice.
When it comes to managing recurring payments from your checking account or credit cards here are the concerns:
- Your account goes into the negative because of a charge or a subscription you authorized and forgot
- You’re charged overdraft fees as a result (Compound Problem)
- It may be difficult to contact the vendors in a timely fashion to tell them that you want to cancel a subscription because you can’t afford to pay for it this month.
- You tell the bank to cancel out the charges but they in turn tell you to contact the vendor or business. (More compound problems and time consuming)
- If you use your one debit or credit card on multiple sites and one of those sites is hacked or compromised so will your card details.
- In your bank account statements online, it isn’t easy to see all of the recurring charges you have without scrolling through the statement yourself. (Again, a compound problem and time consuming)
In addition to that, the much BIGGER issue that we have to deal with in this modern online age is the sheer number of Cyber Security incidents that we see in the news regularly where someone has hacked a database containing YOUR personal information (Credit Card number, social security numbers, and the like).
A very recent example of this was the Capital One Data Breach where a hacker gained access to over 100 million credit applications and accounts.
I’ve heard stories of people having had their checking accounts emptied out with little or no recourse from the bank in rectifying the situation, or getting their money back.
Today I’m sharing this service with you all because first and foremost I would in Tech and I am a staunch advocate of using Tech the right way and using it securely.
I’ve been using this service for about 2 months now and I absolutely love it.
It’s called Privacy.com
I watch a LOT of YouTube videos and I came across one of my favorite Tech bloggers talking about privacy.com and how it could help protect your online identity and I had to try it out!
Here is how simple it is:
First, you sign up and create an account at www.privacy.com
Second, add a funding source. This would be your primary bank account.
Third, create a new card.
What privacy.com does is they allow you to create “virtual” cards with the same 16 digits, security code, and expiration date of the existing debit card that you have in your pocket, but the idea here is that the actual information that is on your physical card is masked online with privacy.com virtual card so in the event the card information is compromised or intercepted by a bad actor you can easily logon to privacy.com and pause or delete the virtual card linked to your primary checking account.
No need to call the bank or the merchant, you can retain power and control over your finances and your online security with privacy.com ability to allow you to create and link these virtual cards.
The virtual card looks like this.
It generates a card number in the same way you would have on your physical card but with different numbers. This way you don’t have to worry about your actual cards details being compromised
You can “pause” the card temporarily so that no transactions are allowed and you can also set a spending limit on the card as well.
I’ve used this service to help protect my online identity but I’ve also used it to control my subscriptions so that I can have control over what comes out of my bank account.
This has been a huge source of frustration for me and this solution has proven to be a value add!
You can sign up for an account for FREE at www.privacy.com and see how well it can work for you.