Friday, September 5, 2008

Online banking in your underwear--Good, Online banking in the coffee shop--Bad

photo by Daquella manera

Okay I didn't take that photo above and that's not my local ;) coffee shop ;), but if I had been thinking last Sunday I would have had my camera out because right before my very eyes was the most amazingly foolish person doing something no one smart enough to have a broker account should ever do. (Hey, stop correcting my grammar in that run-on sentence, just go with it.)
My friend and I were headed outside with our super designer coffees to enjoy the parking lot tables when we both spied said guy. He was sitting with his back to the door, laptop open and checking his Fidelity investments. We paused long enough that I could not only have taken a great photo but maybe sized up his portfolio.
Let's circle the things that are wrong with this picture. First, his back was to the door and he didn't not have an anti-peeking screen. Two, he was either blissfully unaware that anyone could see his screen or he wanted everyone to see his investment package. And three, he was using an unsecured connection. That's right not insecure--UNsecure--free wireless cafes are not password protected. I hope this is obviously wrong to the rest of you.
This is the kind of Internet banker that ID theives love. These theives sit in the parking lot attempting to swipe passwords and logins. Well, they might come inside, but I think they like staying in the car. They love to cruise by wireless cafes especially. However, just two nights ago my husband (I call him Robocop) claimed he saw a guy sitting across our street in his car for quite awhile using a laptop. Now the guy could be innocent, but these types of theives do cruise neighborhoods looking for hot, unsecured wireless.
I am a huge fan of online banking biggest. BUT I urge you and everyone you know to be smart about it. Your credit union, bank, investment broker spends oodles of money, thought and time into protecting your investments, but you must also be diligent. Don't believe that the https is enough. Only access your accounts through secure password protected communications. The more layers of security the better.
I probably should have told our guy to be more careful. Sorry man.

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