More bad guys lurking online looking for your Christmas money.

If you use the Internet it may be getting harder for you to safely protect your financial well-being, suggests a recent Gallup poll published December 13, 2010. The top 3 crimes listed were crimes involving stolen money or property, vandalizing home/car/property, and computer/internet crime. The poll also pointed out that while nearly all crime categories have remained at previously reported levels the category of computer/internet crime has risen.

The poll emphasizes the real threat many Americans face every day from a variety of money related crime. While all crime against you will have some sort of financial consequence, such as a medical bill after being physically hit, the majority of the crimes have a direct impact on your money. Take a look at the chart provided by Gallup.com.



Even while cybercrime is rising, many reports are showing we are tending to increasingly shop online, during the holidays in particular. Note this entry in a November 30, 2010 on the Wall Street Journal's website, "Sales on Cyber Monday, the nickname for the Monday after Thanksgiving, rose 19.4% from last year, according to Coremetrics, which tracks the websites of over 500 online retailers. The number tops last year's 14% growth, which had been the highest in the seven years that Coremetrics has tracked online sales."

How to protect your financial well-being
Keeping yourself in a strong economic position takes a two-step approach. The first is taken actions that will allow you to gain income and assets, as well as, get the most value of them.

The second is to protect yourself from financial loss. Loss can occur from a number of things such as unemployment or underemployment, poor health, or crime.

Today, protecting your financial well-being also includes being educated in safely shopping and surfing online. About.com offers these guidelines for shopping safely online:

-Use a Secure Web Browser - They scramble or "encrypt" your purchase information so that only you and the vendor can read it.
-Keep Records - Most online stores will email you confirmation of your order. Print out and save these.
-Check your credit card and bank statements - look for errors and purchases you did not make. If you find errors, call your credit card company or bank immediately.
-Check the online store's policies - Look for disclosures about the Web site's security, refund and return policies, and statements about how the Web site will use your personal information. Look for links to "About" pages or "FAQ" pages. If a Web store says nothing about protecting your privacy, shop somewhere else.
-Never tell your password - to anybody, not even your Internet service provider.
-Watch what you download - Never download files, run programs or view graphics sent to you by strangers.
-Most Important of All - Keep Your Personal Information Private!
 

 
The Quarter Roll is published to provide personal insights and opinions on everyday ways of saving and managing money, budgeting, and reducing debt. The Quarter Roll does not give professional accounting, legal, or investing counsel. The ideas, examples, and advice presented on this site are solely the opinion of the authors based on his or her personal experiences. All photos courtesy of The Quarter Roll, iStockphoto, or Dreamstime. All rights reserved. This site is best viewed when using Adobe Flash Player. the quarter roll magazine financial entertainment