How to navigate one of the world’s most confusing customs.>>
Protect Your Privacy Online
Clever crooks are using Internet schemes to grab your personal information. Telemarketers are calling us during dinner. Our mailboxes are filling up with junk mail. Here's how to protect your privacy online and at home.
Protect Personal Info on Your Laptop
Insurance statistics shows that if you own a laptop, there is a 1 in 14 chance it will be stolen. The Computer Insurance Institute estimates that 1.2 million laptops are lost in hotels and airports each year. If you have any personal information stored on your laptop, you need to protect it!
To protect sensitive information stored on yours, there are several options. One, for $59.99 per year (or $109.99 for three years), is Computrace LoJack for Laptops. The software provides the backing of a
“theft recovery team” that will track your stolen computer and report its location to police. The Premium edition software remotely deletes personal data. Computrace LoJack has been a top seller for years.
Cover Your Tracks Online
Just as your computer's browser maintains a history of the websites you visit, your Internet service provider (ISP) may keep an electronic log of the ones you peruse. Until recently, this was all just worthless data. But now some ISPs are considering selling these lists to companies that analyze them and then send targeted ads back to you. If you're bothered by this, there are three things you can do:
- Use the International Computer Science Institute (ICSI) Netalyzr and let the site automatically check whether your ISP is using monitoring devices.
- Since this check is not comprehensive, call your ISP and ask if it's contemplating selling browsing data; if so, object.
- Download a free software program from Tor, which will help block those prying ISP eyes.
Similarly, when you type a phrase into a search engine, you're broadcasting your interests and personal information. Like ISPs, some search companies routinely gather, store and sell analyses of such data strings. That's why you should never search your full name and Social Security number or your name and password. Some other tips from the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF):
- Don't sign up for e-mail with your favourite search engine. This makes it easier to link you and your interests.
- Use a variety of engines and computers for searching. This makes it more difficult to profile you.
- Find out if your ISP uses a static IP address system, and if it does, periodically request a new IP address (essentially your computer's address).
- Use software that masks your computer's address, like anonymizer.com and anonymouse.org.
Temporary E-mail Address
If you're ordering something from a website and want to avoid future spam, or if there's someone you'd really like to be honest with but only if you can remain anonymous, then register for a Guerilla temporary e-mail account. It's free, and you'll be able to use the address to receive messages for 15 minutes and send them for 60 minutes. After that, poof!—you never existed.
No Calls From Telemarketers
In 2008, the Canadian government put the National Do Not Call Registry into effect. If you add your home and/or cell number (sorry, no work numbers) to this list, telemarketers should stop bothering you within 31 days.
Registration is valid for a three year period, but you won’t be notified when it expires. Charities, political organizations and telephone surveys are exempt, as are businesses you have called or dealt with in the last six to 18 months.
Register your phone number online and then you can check the status of your registration. You can also register by calling 886-580-3625, but make sure you’re calling from the number you wish to register.
Stop Junk Mailers
Stop those annoying “preapproved” credit and insurance offers, along with rest of junk mailing by participating in the Red Dot Campaign.
Placing one of the Red Dot stickers or a “No Admail” or “No Junk Mail” on your mailbox lets delivery people know you don’t want to receive junk mail.
Since this opt-out policy varies by letter carrier and region in Canada if may be ignored. Contact your nearest post office or call 866-607-6301 to let them know you don’t want to receive junk mail.
Get more tips on saving money and building your career when you sign up for our weekly newsletters..
As we get older, it becomes more important to have all our affairs in order in case something happens. These tips can help you find ways to talk to your adult children or parents about this delicate topic.>>
It’s hard to know exactly what is worth buying secondhand, but these are good bets. (See also: 10 things you should never buy at garage sales.)>>
Blending families involves careful financial planning and everyone knows divorce can wreak financial havoc, but entering a new marriage can be just as dicey, particularly when two families—complete with kids, assets, debts and expectations—come together. >>
As your little ones grow up (or if you're expecting your first), you'll want to consider signing them up for daycare. Here are 13 points to keep in mind when making your big decision.>>
’Tis the season to overspend. Each year, we promise ourselves that we’re not going to go overboard with holiday spending. Each year, it seems it’s difficult to pay the bills in January and beyond. But you can be festive and save money. Here's how.>>