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Are You As Safe As You Think


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How safe is your neighborhood? Do you still leave your doors unlocked at night? Maybe if you live in the country where everybody knows their neighbors its ok. My wife, Lara, grew up in the country in a little town called Tarrs, PA. It's outside Pittsburgh near where flight 93 went down. Gosh, much has changed over the years. The door was only ever locked when the whole family went to church on Sunday. In a house with 8 kids someone was always coming or going. None of her brothers or sisters even remembers having a key to that front door. Her parents’ house was never broken into until about 3 years ago when some local hoodlums broke in after school to steal beer out of her dad's basement fridge. Right away, everyone knew whodunit. The kids got a stern reprimand and never did it again, yet no one ever felt as safe as before.

The funny thing is that even if you live in the country where everybody knows everybody, even if your town is insulated 100% from crime. . . you may not be as safe as you think you are. Halfway around the world someone can steal every dollar to your name. They can do it without ever leaving a fingerprint or shred of evidence. I’m talking about cyber-crime.

Even if you live in suburbia with a deadbolt on your door, home alarm system and protection trained Doberman pinscher; you may still not be safe. Today’s advances in convenience such as online banking, online trading and even online shopping open the door to the biggest risk. Now that we have these conveniences, we could never live without them. I couldn’t imagine taking cash out of one bank driving to another bank to deposit it. That would eat up an entire hour of my day. Who has that kind of time in 2007? I used to look at it from the perspective that if someone stole my hard earned money out of my account; the bank could track it down and replace it. The fact is: if someone used my login and password and initiated a transfer from Bank of America to some bank in a country I never heard of… it would be my problem. I have enough problems. A zero account balance wouldn’t just be a problem; it would ratchet most of my other problems up to the nth degree.

Imagine being a few years away from a comfortable retirement and seeing your nest egg turn to goose egg. Could anybody really recover from that?

The funny thing is that most people are so focused on protecting the physical possessions from theft that we forget that we are in the information age. Today a series of numbers can change your life. That series of numbers could be the difference between a comfortable $750,000 and a sickening $7,500.00 sitting in your retirement account. It could be the difference between a Stellar 740 FICO (credit score) and a 470 FICO who needs to put 40% down to buy a home.

Spyware is the new lock pick for today’s most advanced criminals. When people think internet security, they think Virus protection. No bad guy has ever really benefited financially from creating a virus. Spyware has all sorts of profit avenues. Spyware embedded in your computer can open all the stored information up to whoever put it there.

Does your computer have Spyware? I don't know, does it?

Take a Quiz:
Have you have ever opened an email attachment?
Your computer may be infected with Spyware. . .
Has your computer been connected to the internet for more than 8 seconds?
Your computer may be infected with Spyware. . .
Is your computer is running a little bit slower than the day you bought it?
Your computer may be infected with Spyware. . .

This is starting to sound like Jeff Foxworthy redneck bit.

My computer is with me all day long. No one uses it but me. I don’t download music. I don’t screw around at you-tube and I do not IM anybody. In the last 30 days I caught over 250 pieces of Spyware trying to penetrate my machine. I just heard about a CPA with over 300 active Spyware programs running on one of the machines he does tax returns on. I hope he didn’t do your 1040!

All joking aside you can learn a lot more in the next 3 minutes.

You need to do something to protect your PC Just remember this, You get what you pay for. The abundant “free" programs out there may be OK for you. At the same time, they require more maintenance. Also the more popular entry-level security programs are easy targets for hackers and cyber-thieves. My website will lead you to a way to protect your computer with the same programs that large entities use. You can have the same software as companies like Google, Homeland Security, Raytheon, Dow Jones, etc. If it is good enough for them, it should be adequate for your needs. Best of luck, Stay Safe!

Bill Pietras lives in West Palm Beach, Florida.
By day he works as a headhunter for an executive recruiting firm in Boca Raton. By night he is the next formidable superhero to keep people safe from the bad guys in cyberspace. You can check out his personal site at


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