Become a Tangerine client today

I received the following email graphic from Starbucks today. I thought, hey that’s a good idea, but then I remembered something from 2015.

Reloading for Points !

A while back, I was the victim of a scam using this system. Starbucks’ customer list had been breached. Using that information, bogus Loyalty Cards were created.

The scam is well described in the graphic below. This outlines the importance of not turning on Automatic Reloads on any card like the Starbucks Reward Card.

It is important to audit your automatic bill payments as well.

The graphic shows how simple it is to start up a quick scam. I only clued in when my phone had many messages about the auto-reloads happening.

Loyalty Card Scam
A Graphic Rendition of the Scam

Things to take from this

  1. If you use your Credit Card to “refill” your Loyalty card, do not allow auto-reload.
  2. Turn on messaging, for the system to tell you when things happen. This will at least warn you about all activity.
  3. If you hear that your loyalty system has been hacked, change your card and log ins, right away. Do not assume it will not happen to you.
  4. Are the points that important? What is the risk to reward giving out your credit card for this reward?

Glad I wrote about this a while ago, or I might have done something silly.

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Free Credit Bureau Access

I received the good news is that I have EquiFax for long period of time to check my credit bureau status. The better news is it is Free. The really bad news is the reason why. I was part of the Desjardins data-breach so now I am being “compensated” for this by getting Free Equifax.

Previously, I had access due to Home Depot having a data-breach. Surprisingly, my account with Equifax still existed (with the same password?). My access was granted for a long period of time, and I did notice a few things when I logged in.

  1. My first name is still incorrectly written in my report. This mis-spelling makes me wonder how accurate this report is. I tried to have it changed a while ago, but it never happened.
  2. I have a lot of Desjardins credit vehicles on my report. Makes me think someone DID create them and was simply waiting to use them? Will try to cancel all of those.
  3. A very large credit vehicle that should be on my report is not. That is interesting as well.
Credit Score
Credit Score by percentage in Canada

I am glad to see I have such an excellent Credit Rating, but it means nothing to me. It is most likely inaccurate, and unless I plan on buying another house I don’t really need it. The other danger is that given my Personal Info is compromised, any perpetrator could get away with a lot of money fraudulently.


Epilogue

Interesting that 57% of Canadians have Excellent Credit Ratings? That seems a little skewed, in terms of a data set. Either that or the actual term “excellent” has little or no meaning?

EQ Bank Savings Plus Account

Related Topics

Free is a good price for things, however, things are rarely without some cost associated with them. This is how I got free EquiFax, the first time!

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Financial Redundancy

In the high-tech world the term redundant is actually a good thing. Most folks think of redundant in terms of jobs, and being declared redundant (i.e. being laid off, or the like). In the high-tech world redundant is actually a vital part of reliability. If there are redundant systems in place, or redundant connections then there are backups in place to take over if one of the systems fails, and that is what I mean by Financial Redundancy.

Last week there was a very good tweet that inspired me to think about this concept.

The point being made is that you need to have a separate bank account in a different bank or savings concept (trust company or the like) just in case your main bank account or bank gets compromised in some way. What do I mean by compromised?

  • Your account has been hacked and thus locked out so you have no access to it, until the issues with the security intrusion is remedied.
  • Your bank “goes down”. This can be a myriad of possible issues including: Interac failure, Computer system crash, bank is hacked (as mentioned in the tweet), etc.,
  • Your bank fails? Yes, this is ridiculously drastic, but it has happened, and I am sad to say, it will happen again (ask the folks who had money in Savings and Loans in the states)

Redundancy ?

Really the question is what do you do if you don’t have a redundant money supply to fall back on? You could use your credit cards, and you already have a redundant system there don’t you (pretty much everyone has more than 1 credit card, a Visa, a Mastercard, an Amex, maybe even a Diners Club), so why don’t you have some redundant savings in place too?

Redundancy

This Seems Redundant

An idea is maybe putting your Emergency Fund (which we all should have in some fashion) at a different bank? That way it really can help in an emergency.

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Near Field Communication and Android Phones for Payment

Interesting, I received an E-mail from my bank (TD) pointing out that they now support using my Android -or- Blackberry phone ( no mention of the iPhone 6, since it only supports NFC for Apple Pay) to make small payments (tap and go), as a Near Field Communication (tap and go) device, if I have a supported credit card with them (which surprisingly, I do).

near field communication
Now Your Phone is Your Wallet?

To quote TD’s e-mail to me:

Any TD EasyWeb customer with a supported Android or BlackBerry smartphone, eligible TD Credit Card and the TD app can enjoy using TD Mobile Payment.  The Android or Blackberry smartphone must be certified and enabled with Near Field Communication (NFC) technology (contactless) and a NFC SIM Card to securely store your payment information, and have a mobile plan with a participating carrier/service provider.

The nice part is that this is integrated into the TD Banking App, so there is a degree of security (I hope) with the app. I am not sure, but I hope I have to log into the App to be able to use the NFC capabilities of the app and phone (together), and not just enable it once, and then be able to willy nilly tap and pay (thus enabling anyone with my phone to do the same).

Is this a secure method of payment? I am not sure of the mechanics in the Android and Blackberry phones, however, the Android phones do have a reputation as being a little less secure than other phones (as all open systems do, when you let everyone see the source code, that includes the bad guys). Google has been working hard to improve Android’s reputation in the security area, but it is going to take a while to do that.

Am I recommending this service and TD? No, I am simply pointing out yet another interesting new way to spend your money. They keep making it easier and easier to spend your money.

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If they can get Celebrity Nude Photos

How hard is it to get all of your information? One of the major victims, Ms. Kardashian™ has a plethora of security folks, and Kanye West™ to protect her on-line, who do you have?

This is really sad but true, but the folks hunting down all the information “in the Cloud” (skip that movie too) and trying to extricate your personal info for their own nefarious deeds, are the same (type) of folks that are hacking your home computer, bank’s computer, Internet Service Provider’s Database, Google’s Info DB, etc., etc., .

RRSP, RESP, RDSP

Everybody is watching, including the bad guys

Remember only a few weeks back, my info got hacked from Home Depot (sure I have free Equifax, but that is a small pay back given I am now being inundated with spam e-mails). I have written countless articles about security:

Are You Safe?

This is all to point out that assuming that you are safe, might be a little naive (oh and did you read about ISIS threatening your bed rooms too?), this world is getting scarier and scarier. If you are looking for me, I will be hiding under YOUR bed (they won’t think to look for me there).

Oh and my apologies on the cheap pop for the title as well.

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