Be Tech Savvy this Holiday Season

The First Thanksgiving, painting by Jean Louis...

The First Thanksgiving, painting by Jean Louis Gerome Ferris (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ok folks, I realize this does not REALLY fall under the technology category, but I just wanted to take a moment and post my thoughts on the upcoming spam happy, identity thieving, separate your from your money holidays that will be taking place the next few weeks.  And it’s simple really.  Be alert, and you will be fine.  There are only three things I would share with you to protect yourself this year and in the future.

First, get a free email account that is NOT the main account you use.  I recommend having three different accounts.  One for your personal use.  Only give it to your family and close friends.  That way, you should not get spammed, or if you do, you will know where it came from. One is for your professional use.  Use it ONLY at work.  Never give it to your family or friends.  You do not want chain emails circulating.  One is for use at stores and online sites that require an email.  Get a GMail or Hotmail or Yahoo Mail account.  Use it with anyone you do not know, or any retailer.  That way, you can just cut it off if you start getting massively spammed on that account.

Second, get yourself a Google Voice account.  This is a free phone number that you can link to your home or mobile phone.  Why a Google Voice account? Same as the email account: to cut down on the robo calls and phone spam.  If a retailer asks for your phone number, just give them the Google Voice number, and it acts as an answering machine, without you having to hear the phone ring.  It is free, PLUS it allows you to call anyone in the US or Canada for free.  So you can spread the holiday joy  to everyone you want, without running up massive phone bills.

Third, get a prepaid credit/debit card for use with any online purchases specifically, and just to use during the holiday season.  Why a prepaid card?  So if any unscrupulous individuals find a way to hack your computer or order, they only a limited amount of funds.  So if you have a $45 dollar purchase, get a card for $50.  If your account is hacked, the joke’s on them.  They go to order something and find out how cheap you are!!  hahaha.  Also, if you are in large shopping centers, having a prepaid card with limited funds is a good thing in case you are accidentally bumped into by The Artful Dodger and separated from your wallet.

So those are my thoughts on how to have a peaceful, enjoyable and financially safe holiday season: Get a special email account just for the holidays, get a Google Voice account, and use a prepaid credit/debit card for any and all online purchases.

Gobble gobble, and enjoy your shopping excursions this weekend.

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