Tag Archives: hackers

Visa Hackers & Free Banking

Researchers at Newcastle University found that criminals can hack your Visa card in less than 10 seconds. All they have is your card number and what they’re missing is the three digit security code and the expiry date.

With just a laptop and a simple computer program, they run all the possible combinations of your security code and the expiry. In just a few seconds they have all the information they need to start shopping online.

It only works with Visa who doesn’t have a blocking system when multiple tries are made with your card. MasterCard and Amex block the criminal after just a few incorrect attempts. Now don’t panic. You’re never liable if your card is misused – ever! But wouldn’t you think Visa would care about absorbing millions of dollars in fraudulent charges?

If you’re turning 60 or 65 this year, write a note on your calendar: You’ll be able to get much of your banking service charges stopped! Credit unions are at age 60, but you’ll have to check with your specific bank if they’re at 60 or 65. I do know the Royal is now age 65 as they just changed it. Ah, how to legally rip off tens of thousands of seniors for millions of dollars…it’s detailed in the Money Tools book in the banking chapter.

More Heads Up and Updates (Part II)

According to the Washington Post, the on-line cost of hiring a hacker to break into someone’s e mail accounts is now down to $30. And hackers have an almost 100% success rate. But the majority of the buyers from these hackers are actually boyfriends, girlfriends, or spouses. The point is, that for your on-line banking, or anything on-line, you need a better password than most people have! Because the most common password is still 1234 and that’s nuts.

When is a deal actually a deal when we’re financing huge amounts of money? Here, and in the U.S., I keep seeing ads for houses and lots that are supposed to be incredible deals at 50% off. Off what? I’ve seen these ads in Ontario, and for resorts in BC. Lots that were originally listed at $500,000 are now half price. But that’s a phony figure, because the original price of the lots are just made up, and hoping that someone will pay it. What matters is what the house or the lot is appraised at TODAY, not what it’s listed for. Whether you’re selling your home, your car, or anything else, it’s the TODAY value, no what it was somewhere in the past! Careful with that, and don’t get trapped in the hype of an advertisement.

Kelly Blue Book just published their 2010 list of vehicles with their retained value and depreciation: Less than HALF of all new vehicles this year are projected to be worth 20% or more after five years. That is a staggering figure. The brands that will best hold their values:
Number one is Lexus, followed by Toyota (and that’s not accurate anymore with their current problems) and Honda. The only European brand in the top tier of vehicles that hold their resale value is BMW, which is fourth, and Subaru rounds up the top five.

Overall, the average vehicle will be worth 32% of new vehicle price in five years. So remember that the longer you keep the vehicle, the less it matters. But the shorter buying cycle, or anyone fleasing…I mean leasing the vehicle, the more you will feel some real financial pain of paying for the depreciation.

Have you heard of the Visa Black credit card? Well, they just sent me an invite. It’s a great looking, high quality, wedding-type invitation. But inside, it’s just another credit card application with great marketing. You are hereby invited to join an exclusive club limited to only one percent of the population. But at 13.25%, the rate isn’t very exclusive, and the annual fee is $495. But the card is made with actual carbon and guaranteed to get you noticed. Really? Is that why I need a credit card? It also talks about “fantastic rewards,” but doesn’t list any of them at all. I’m afraid I’d be getting a plain burger for the price of a steak.

Good old CBC is now getting into the product placement market. A lot of it will be with TD/Canada Trust. The bank will show up (OK, not show up – pay to be included is more like it) on Being Erica, Little Mosque on the Prairie and Hartland.

Some Financial Christmas Presents For Yourself

Ah, the week before Christmas. That means a lot of people should just about be at the stage where any logic, budgeting, or living within our means, goes out the window. It’s normally right about now that lots of us go nuts with our spending. Don’t do it – slow down, go to the bank and get some cash. Paying with $20 bills has a real money feeling, instead of just swiping away with plastic! And your wallet will thank you for it in January.

Presents are not what Christmas is all about, at least for us adults. If you think back, some of the most memorable gifts weren’t the expensive ones. Better yet, can you remember exactly what you got for gifts last year? And it’s certainly not a contest to see who can be the most irresponsible and spend the largest amount of money.

Gift cards: Remember what we talked about last month. Be careful. You’re parting with cash and getting an I.O.U. That merchant has to be in business when the person goes to use the I.O.U. It’s perfectly fine to give cash. There’s no expiry date, no fees, and no limitations. Just put a note in there that your financial advisor (that’d be me you can blame) suggested you care enough not to send a risky gift card.

We talked a couple of times this past year about internet security and hackers getting into people’s bank accounts and on-line transactions. Are you, or do you know, a high net-worth individual that does on-line banking or accesses their brokerage accounts? If so, one of the best presents is a small notebook computer that ONLY gets used for on-line banking. That way, there’s no chance for anyone to hack into it, as it doesn’t get used for anything else on the internet!

Did you know that the Salvation Army just announced that their annual Kettle Drive is now credit card ready? You can just swipe and donate. I’m pretty ambivalent about that. I love people donating to charities and helping others, but I’m not sure it needs to be on 20% credit cards.