The Dos And Don’ts Of Online Banking

One of the biggest additions to the banking world in recent memory has been the advent of online banking. It has made banking so much more convenient for consumers. Likewise, it has also helped banks in lowering their costs considerably. With that said though, there are some dos and dont’s that you need to be aware of when opening up an online bank account.


Is the online bank you’re considering doing business with FDIC insured? This is important, because if they are not, move on to a bank that is. FDIC insures that all savings accounts, checking accounts, and CD deposits are covered up to $100,000.

Be certain that the Internet banks website that you’re on is the real website. As hard as it can be to imagine, online criminals have made up websites that nearly identical to the banks actual website in hopes of conning you into getting your personal information.

Always look over all your bank statements, credit card statements, etc., and check to make sure everything looks right. If you do find something that is questionable, talk to your bank immediately.

Make sure you keep your password and account login information in a safe and secure place. Never share this information with anyone, especially through an email. When you come up with passwords, never use birthdates or social security numbers.

Do keep your anti-virus protection software up to date on your computer. It’s also a good idea to back-up your files on a regular basis. You really don’t want to take chances in this area.

Always completely log off your online banking website. Don’t simply “X” out of it.

Change any of the auto-generated passwords you are given when you first open up an online bank account.

Keep up to date on all the information about your online banks security measures. Ask what kind of protection they offer? Compare it to other Internet banks security systems.


Don’t send personal information to anyone in an email. You may think it is secure, but it is not.

Don’t give out your personal information over the telephone unless you are absolutely certain of who you are dealing with. You also need to know what this person is going to do with your information when you give it to them.

Don’t have other browsers open at the same time you are doing your Internet banking transactions.

Don’t open emails from folks you don’t do business with. If you ever get an email from your bank asking you for personal information, call the bank first before doing anything else. Ask them about the email and find out what is going on. If it is legitimate, which I doubt it is since banks don’t conduct business like that, then you can take care of it right there over the phone.

Opening an online bank account is great. I’ve had an Internet account for years now, and never had any issues with it. It has become such a convenient way of life now that I would never consider anything else. If you will follow these simple dos and don’ts, you’ll find the same convenience with online banking as I have.

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Auto Insurance and Extra Protection

It is pretty obvious when you purchase a vehicle or when you get your license and drive a car you are going to need auto insurance. You should never get into a car that does not have auto insurance especially if you are a passenger. If you are the one driving and do not have your own vehicle that do not assume you are covered on someone else’s policy if you do not live with them. You will have to get your own policy. The best way to do this is to go to the internet and check online to compare auto insurance quotes to cover you as a driver in another car.

When you are in a position to pick up your own vehicle then you can continue with your auto insurance but include the vehicle that you now own. You will want to make sure that your coverage is adequate. This could happen if you purchase an older car and are paying more than the blue book value. The financial institution normally does not loan the money but if the face is in exceptional condition or has special things to it that would make it worth the money for the additional loan then there are cases where the bank will loan the money. An antique car is a good example.

In fact, the bank may even mandate that you take “Gap” insurance which is an additional insurance policy that pays the difference from what your car is worth to what is owed, if you are in an accident and the car is totaled. This would be another way to guarantee the bank that they would get their money back on the loan. Now that you have a car you already know how to go online and compare auto insurance rates except this time you have a vehicle. Do some price comparisons again to see if you can get some lower rates. It never hurts to compare auto insurance prices periodically and to make sure you are getting the best rates that you can for the policy that you are carrying. It is price shopping and everyone does it all the time whether it is on auto insurance, clothing, equipment or toys?

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Technology & Cyber Risk Insurance – Understanding the Basics

Coverage as Complex as the Technology

There are a wide range of insurance products within the generic umbrella of Technology or Cyber Risk insurance. Some policies provide first-party coverage insuring covered losses directly sustained by the you– the policyholder. Other variations provide coverage that includes loss to third-parties – your clients. Professional liability insurance is the most important insurance requirement embedded in every IT services contract. Menu-driven policies allow selection among coverage modules to better correlate coverage with the IT firm’s specific enterprise exposures. Because this is arguably the most important insurance you will purchase, it’s important to not approach the purchase of this insurance as that of a commodity. All policies are not equal. Investing time to compare the available coverage options and the policies’ limitations is essential to ensure your enterprise receives appropriate liability protection.

Exclusions: A good place to start understanding what your policy covers.

Having a clear understanding of what your Cyber Risk policy doesn’t cover is as important as understanding what it does cover. Some of the prominent exclusions to coverage contained in Cyber Risk policies are summarized below. It’s important to be mindful a policy’s exclusions do not always appear in the Exclusion section. Many insurance policies often imbed coverage limitations in other parts of the policy, such as within the Definitions section. Similarly, policy exclusions sometimes contain carve-backs or exceptions to the exclusion which typically make a portion of an exclusion inapplicable, thereby expanding coverage under specifically defined circumstances.

Some typical exclusions are:

•Claims involving the recall, replacement, repair or supplementation of the Insured’s product or service.

•Claims alleging software failure involving software that is in a test phase or not in general commercial release.

•Claims involving fee disputes.

•Claims involving electrical, mechanical or telecommunication failures or interruption, unless the failure was caused by the Insured’s covered wrongful acts.

•Claims alleging invalidity, misappropriation or infringement of a patent, trade secret, copyright, trademark or service mark unless arising from electronic publishing activity.

•Certain proceedings brought by federal, state or local governmental agencies, licensing authorities, or rights organizations, except for network security or privacy-related claims.

•Claims alleging unauthorized collection of personal data of third parties with the knowledge of the Insured’s principal partner, director or officer is imputed to other Insured individuals and/ the entity.

Readers should not be left with the impression that these policies don’t cover much. Quite the contrary, these insurance policies provide very broad and valuable coverage. The definition of “Wrongful Act” as found within one of the more prominent Cyber Risk policies states: “…means any error, misstatement, misleading statement, act, omission, neglect, breach of duty, or Personal Injury offense actually or allegedly committed or attempted by any Insured in their capacity as such:” That clause is followed by a litany of coverage triggers including but not limited to: “failure of the Insured’s Technology Services, Technology Products, Electronic Media exposures, product disparagement, trade libel, public disclosure of private facts, plagiarism, piracy, copyright and domain name infringement, service mark infringement, negligence with regard to creation or dissemination of electronic content, unintentional violation of privacy rights or regulations, and network extortion threats.”

Technology Professional Liability Insurance

IT professionals provide a variety of technology-related services encompassing web-based and technology systems-based services. Liability can emanate from the ineffectual rendering of the professional services. These claims are generally brought as a failure of the provided services to perform as intended. They typically allege the services caused a client to sustain loss of property and/or economic damages due to business income loss. Some claims allege loss because a client’s system was exposed to a threat of unauthorized access which could result in privacy issues or the threat of cyber extortion. It’s important for IT professionals to understand that while the scope of coverage contained within Cyber Risk policies is broad, it is not all-inclusive. For example, these types of insurance policies do not provide coverage for claims involving delays, cost overruns or certain other business-related disputes.

The Checklist – Does Your Policy Cover…?

Some questions Technology firms should ask about their Cyber Risk policy…

•Is Defense fully covered without any allocation of defense costs between covered and non-covered claims if at least one covered allegation is asserted?
•Does Data Breach coverage include both first-party and third-party expenses?
•Does Privacy Coverage apply to third-parties such as customers and employees of the Insured?
•Does the policy provide Expense Coverage for complying with Consumer Privacy Notification regulations and credit monitoring expenses?
•Are costs of retaining public relations or crisis management firms and / or law firms in the event of a privacy breach event covered?
•Are Data Breach claims subject to deductibles, retentions or co-insurance?
•Are regulatory fines, pre-judgment and post judgment interest covered?
•Does Business Interruption coverage include costs to enhance information assets beyond their pre-loss status?
•Are consequential damages covered?
•Is Contractual Liability covered if liability exists in the absence of the contract?
•Does the policy’s definition of Legal Proceedings include arbitrations?
•Is Additional Insured coverage available if required by contract?
•Are Independent Contractors covered if the claim is also brought against an Insured?
•Are Defense Expenses covered for Deceptive or Unfair Business Practices unless a final adjudication is rendered adverse to the Insured?
•Will the policy provide defense coverage for claims seeking solely injunctive relief?
•Does the policy offer an option to include Professional Liability Coverage?

Whether the IT enterprise is a small, medium or large firm, when losses arise relative to the scope of their respective contracts, they can have a devastating effect. Before even considering the potential economic damages, one must consider the cost of defending a technically complex claim. Without proper insurance, those defense costs can be enough to cripple most IT service providers, or certainly put severe stress on a company’s profitability. In addition, there are public relations consequences and other related expenses that may be incurred in connection with such claims. Technology or Cyber Risk insurance, if properly designed, provides critically important protection to any technology-related enterprise, ensuring their ability to continue to operate even after sustaining a devastating professional services claim.

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TurboTax Free Edition 2010 – Prepare and E-File Your Tax Return Online for Free!

TurboTax Free Edition 2010 is TurboTax’s most basic tax prep software and will work perfectly well for most taxpayers who are filing a simple tax return. This edition is completely free for federal tax return preparation, and also includes free e-filing. The TurboTax Free Edition is very easy to use and guides you through a series of questions in simple language. The TurboTax Free Edition also provides access to technical support via phone, live chat, email, and TurboTax’s knowledge base.

TurboTax Free Edition includes the following impressive list of IRS forms: (You may want to skip ahead to reading the rest of the article, without reading this lengthy list, unless you are looking for a particular form.)

  • 1040EZ
  • 1040A
  • 1040
  • Schedule A Itemized Deductions
  • Schedule B Interest and Dividends
  • Schedule EIC Earned Income Credit
  • Schedule R Credit for Elderly or Disabled
  • Schedule 1 Interest and Ordinary Dividends for Form 1040A Filers
  • Schedule 2 Child & Dependent Care Expenses
  • Schedule 3 Credit for Elderly or Disabled
  • 1040X Amended Tax Return
  • 1116 Foreign Tax Credit
  • 1310 Statement of Person Claiming Refund
  • 2106/EZ Employee Business Expenses
  • 2120 Multiple Support Declaration
  • 2210/2210AI Underpayment of Tax/Annualized Income
  • 2210F Underpayment of Estimated Tax by Farmers
  • 2439 Notice to Shareholder of Undistributed Long-Term Capital Gains
  • 2441 Child & Dependent Care Expenses
  • 3903 Moving Expenses
  • 4137 Tax on Unreported Tips
  • 4506 Request for Copy of Tax Form
  • 4684 Casualties & Theft
  • 4852 Substitute W-2 or 1099-R
  • 4868 Extension of Time to File
  • 4952 Investment Interest Expense Deduction
  • 4972 Tax on Lump-Sum Distributions
  • 5329 Additional Taxes on Retirement Plans
  • 5405 First-Time Homebuyer Credit
  • 5695 Residential Energy Credits
  • 6251 Alternative Minimum Tax

  • 8283 Non-cash Charitable Contributions
  • 8332 Release of Claim to Exemption
  • 8379 Injured Spouse Claim and Allocation
  • 8396 Mortgage Interest Credit
  • 8453 E-File Transmittal
  • 8606 Nondeductible IRAs
  • 8615 Tax for Children Under Age 14
  • 8801 Credit for Prior Year Minimum Tax
  • 8812 Additional Child Tax Credit
  • 8815 Exclusion of Interest from Series EE & I Bonds
  • 8822 Change of Address
  • 8839 Qualified Adoption Expenses
  • 8853 Archer MSAs and Long-Term Care Insurance Contracts
  • 8857 Innocent Spouse Relief
  • 8859 DC First-Time Homebuyer Credit
  • 8862 Info to Claim EIC After Disallowance
  • 8863 Education Credits
  • 8880 Credit for Qualified Retirement Savings Contributions
  • 8885 Health Coverage Tax Credit
  • 8889 Health Savings Account
  • 8891 Canadian Retirement Plans
  • 8910 Alternative Motor Vehicle Credit
  • 8915 Hurricane Retirement Plan Distributions
  • 8917 Tuition and Fees Deduction
  • 8919 Uncollected Social Security and Medicare Tax on Wages
  • 8930 Qualified Disaster Recovery Assistance Retirement Plan Distributions and Repayments
  • 9465 Installment Agreement Request
  • SS-4 Application for Employer ID Number
  • Form TD F 90-22.1 Report of Foreign Bank Accounts

However, TurboTax Free Edition2010 does not include access to the following common tax forms and schedules: Schedules C (self-employment), Schedule D (capital gains), Schedule E (rental property and income reported via Schedules K-1), and Schedule F (farm income). Therefore, if you have any investment income from stocks or rental property, or if you have any income from self-employment, farm or K-1’s, you will need to upgrade to TurboTax Deluxen 2010.

Also, this free tax prep product cannot import 1099s or W-2s. To get this feature, you would to need to upgrade to Turbo Tax Deluxe 2010. Although certainly not necessary, the import feature can be a real time saver if you have mutliple W-2’s or 1099’s.

Another potential disadvantage for some situations is that TurboTax Free Edition 2010 is only available as a Web-based software application. If you would prefer to download the software to your computer, TurboTax Deluxe 2010 or Premier2010 provide the option of either purchasing the software disc or immediately downloading the software online. The TurboTax online download option is actually a few dollars cheaper than ordering the software disc from Amazon. The online tax software download option also provides the conveniences of immediate access to the software, rather than waiting for the software to be shipped or spending the time and gas to go shopping at a retail location.

Finally, although the federal return is free when using TurboTax Free Edition 2010, the state return costs $27.95. So for many taxpayers who must file a state tax return, the slightly more expensive TurboTax Deluxe 2010 may actually provide a better value than TurboTax Free Edition 2010.

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