We have been talking about how parents can make sure that their children (who are students) can have all they need to excel at school but still use and keep them smartly. Last time we talked about personal banking. This time let us talk about computers and other personal electronics items and highlight some of the tips from KeyBank.
- Regardless of whether it is a desktop model or laptop, make certain you have recorded the serial numbers of your computer’s components — this is also a good idea for stereos and televisions — and file the serial numbers in a secure place. Leaving a copy of the list at home is a good idea as well. While manuals and software may be carried with the product, other documents like receipt, warranty cards, etc. can be left at home.
- Make sure your computer equipment is password-protected and is equipped with the latest anti-virus software and Internet firewalls. You can also set your computer to automatically update all the software from Microsoft or anti-virus company website on its own. It is also a good idea to watch out for news about viruses and worms and at that time visit the right websites to update the software manually.
- Be wary of using “community computers” in local Internet cafes, especially if you’re planning to log on to check your bank account or credit card status — you can’t be sure if data-gathering software or spyware has been installed on that computer. Use your own computer or your bank’s toll-free number to perform these functions. We are recommending that you not use any function on a public computer that requires the use of a password. So even checking your email from a public computer is dangerous if you want to protect your privacy and do not want your email address to be hijacked. If you must, always visit a reputed business rather than any cafe in a seedy neighborhood. This is particularly important when you are overseas.
- Finally, if you’re living off-campus, make sure you have renter’s insurance and that computers, MP3 players and other personal electronic devices are covered.
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