Safety Sunday: Traveling the Interstates & the Information Superhighway

Needless to say, as the Holidays fast approach, many parents are out cruising the stores, or flying through the mystical Ethernet searching for the newest toys or gadgets which leads us to this week’s topic on travelling. While the two may appear completely different, in many ways the advice is similar, so let’s see if we can kill two birds with one stone.

Example 1:

  • Vehicle: (From Sept. Monthly Maintenance article) Check your vehicle(s) and make sure that any small problems are taken care of. Check each tire’s tread and pressure, the battery, and all fluid levels. Replace your windshield wipers, if they are 2 years old or older.
  • On-Line: Make sure your computer is fully up to date with the latest security patches & virus scanning software

All it takes is one inopportune moment and you can end up just sitting as your car or computer is rendered inoperable or is left barely limping along.

Example 2:

  • Vehicle: (From Sept. Monthly Maintenance article) Create a winter emergency kit and put it in the trunk (snow chains, flares, water, high-energy snacks, blankets, a flashlight with spare batteries, jumper cables, and a first aid kit)
  • On-Line: Have a list of all your credit card companies & banks phone numbers available, keep records of all your purchases, and above all make sure you backup the data on your computer and store it in a secure place.

While one would hope to never need to use any of those items, it sure does beat the alternative.

Examples 3 & 4:

  • Vehicle: Stop, Look & Listen, before you step out into the street, cross railroad tracks with no warning signals, come to stop sign or flashing red light…
  • Vehicle: “Because of weather conditions and increased traffic, please pay attention to those around you and keep your eyes on the road” (i.e. no cell phones, blaring radios, texting, etc…)
  • On-Line: Beware of deals that sound too good to be true and phishing scams.
  • On-Line: Make sure you are paying for your purchase with a credit card (pay it off monthly) and via a secure site (little lock in the toolbar is showing / the web site has an https prefix)

Why do people run these scams? It is quite simply because they work. If you would take those few extra seconds & think things through, you might not end up as a statistic of a cyber hit & run.

Example 5:

  • Vehicle: When you are driving up here do not get off on Exit XYZ / you know which neighborhoods you should avoid, especially after dark.
  • On-Line: Make sure you shop on legitimate sites and check your credit card statements regularly (weekly) or at least monthly

I can easily state, it does not matter how careful you are, someone might guess or get hold of your Credit Card info. This happened to us last Christmas, but fortunately, we caught it only 3 days after they started having fun. About the only aggravating part due to us catching, it early was sorting through a 100 transactions and waiting for the new cards to arrive.

Additional Info & Websites:

Tool Box Talk: Motor Vehicle Safety courtesy of NIOSH
AAA – Getting there safely (From wet roads, highway driving, bicycling, etc…)
FTC – Avoiding Credit Card Fraud

  • Chris

    Good analogy, Sean! A friend of ours was, unfortunately, the victim of identity theft. Not as bad as it could have been, but she learned a valuable lesson about making sure things are legit before giving any info away. In her case, she thought she was “verifying” her EBay account.
    There is way too much of this going on. Thanks for sending out a warning!

    • SLS Construction

      Ouch, a stolen credit card number isn’t that bad due to all the protections that one has; your identity on the other hand is a much more difficult thing to handle. Glad to hear she got it all sorted out & thanks for the comment Chris