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Old 02-12-2018, 12:29 AM   #1
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Computers and security issues

My wife and I are preparing to do some serious RVing next winter and realize we may need more than a tablet and phone to do our banking and other computer related stuff. Do most use a laptop? How about a VPN service? I guess we really should keep moving towards getting all our bills paid with electronic autopay. Sounds like a great topic for discussion. What about all the mail that gets piled up while you’re gone?
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Old 02-12-2018, 01:46 AM   #2
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We are only away a month or so at a time, so we let the mail pile up until we return unless we are expecting something important, in which case a friend or house sitter alerts us by email. Most bills are prepaid, some by online payment when we are on the road, and once or twice we have simply put extra money into the account ahead of time. Setting up online access to your bank or credit union accounts ahead of time allows convenient online payment of most bills.

So far, nothing fancier has been needed. I always have my laptop with me for financial stuff as I find the keyboard more convenient, but any tool that gets you onto the net should do the job. Try whatever you intend to use before leaving.

Regarding security both at home and on the road, I use Lastpass free as a password manager, and Kaspersky as internet security. I have never had a problem with either. I don't have significant experience with security measures on phones or tablets, although Lastpass does work fine on my Ipad. I strongly recommend setting up second factor authentication for your email account and all financial accounts - Lastpass accomplishes this to a degree even if the particular login options for a site do not do so directly.
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Old 02-12-2018, 01:54 AM   #3
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Slightly off topic, I got a letter from my home insurance company a couple days ago. It was my renewal and policy for the coming year.
Scanning it, I found that having somebody check on the house every four days isn't enough in the winter.
My policy requires that somebody enter the house and check it on a daily basis when there is a chance of freezing.
They help themselves to my bank account as I pay by installment.
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Old 02-12-2018, 06:06 AM   #4
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I am hesitant to give anyone access to my bank account. Because my chosen bank has a pay on-line feature, I have set up payee accounts for any company which issues recurring bills. I get all my bills by email and promptly pay them with the bank’s mobile app on my smart phone (or the laptop if WiFi is available).
I have a neighbor with a 7th grader who picks up my mail and mows the lawn. Upon my return, I pay him for his services. His dad is a LEO. Another neighbor is also in law enforcement. We reciprocate in watching eachother’s homes. I cut the water off before leaving. I would tell you to make similar security arrangements and just go away and have a good time. Worrying too much might put a damper on the amount you enjoy your trip.

Disclaimer: For the PNW Thought Police who would presume to know the intent of my statements, I am not being “judgemental” in my last two sentences. I am merely stating MY OPINION based upon MY experiences, which is what I typically do when posting responses to others. I do not assume that which is applicable to me applies to everyone else.
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Old 02-12-2018, 07:06 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
My policy requires that somebody enter the house and check it on a daily basis when there is a chance of freezing.
Even if slightly off topic, insurance is another concern when leaving home. It seems that when”insurance companies” ceased being insurance companies and were allowed to become “investment companies” with stock holders, the vast majority adopted the same business model......collect every premium possible without question and make every and all attempts to deny any claim. For the most part, it seems they have lowered their responsibility to those who put money into the “calamity pool” and instead care more about stock holders than policy holders. While individual agents may still “care,” the “higher-ups” don’t give that impression.

I’m not sure how they could prove someone did not check a home on a periodic basis as required in the policy’s fine print.
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Old 02-12-2018, 07:55 AM   #6
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I called Amica about leaving the house for months at a time, no requirement to have anyone check on the house although my son does ut every couple weeks.

I use the banks on line bill pay as well as autopay via the charge acct.

I have my mail forwarded to my son who scans and texts the few bills that come in.

I use a monthly prepaid Verizon Hotpot to connect my laptop when I need to pay bills. I have the banks app on my phone but prefer the laptop, both work.

The laptop is a lot easier to type on then the phone.
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Old 02-12-2018, 09:26 AM   #7
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I called Amica about leaving the house for months at a time, no requirement to have anyone check on the house although my son does ut every couple weeks.

I use the banks on line bill pay as well as autopay via the charge acct.

I have my mail forwarded to my son who scans and texts the few bills that come in.

I use a monthly prepaid Verizon Hotpot to connect my laptop when I need to pay bills. I have the banks app on my phone but prefer the laptop, both work.

The laptop is a lot easier to type on then the phone.
All the above, Bob (with the exceptions of Amica and your son). We us AAA and our daughter.
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Old 02-12-2018, 04:12 PM   #8
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My wife stated yesterday that any bill we get that has provision for electronic pay can be processed using her phone. You mileage may differ depending on what online services your bank offers. All of her bill pay is done using an iPhone app that the bank provides. Now, if everyone offered electronic delivery of their bill it would be great. The sewer and water bill and insurance (vehicles, RV and property) are paid with check. The insurance people had trouble getting the right bill credited with our payments so we stopped doing electronic with them. The lawn service is a local company and not electronic but because they are local we can work it out easily.

I still do not see an easy solution to mail delivery, the below mentioned method of forwarding to children has some possibilities. What has helped recently is the new feature from the USPS, called Informed Daily Delivery Digest, it will notify you of your incoming mail, each day we receive an emailed image of the envelope of all first class mail that will be delivered that day.

Here is another advertisement for Sensor Push, we have two in the RV and leave one at home connected to their gateway product. They have triggers that will notify you when the temperature reaches a certain level. It does require internet while gone.
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Old 02-12-2018, 05:44 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by AKCamper View Post
My wife and I are preparing to do some serious RVing next winter and realize we may need more than a tablet and phone to do our banking and other computer related stuff. Do most use a laptop? How about a VPN service? I guess we really should keep moving towards getting all our bills paid with electronic autopay. Sounds like a great topic for discussion. What about all the mail that gets piled up while you’re gone?
There are commercial mail processing businesses that will receive and scan your mail for you and then email it to you or forward the physical mail to wherever you want instead. I would consider getting such a mailbox, and instructing the post office to redirect my home mail to that commercial service. I think Mail Boxes Etc might do this, but you'd have to check.

I would definitely move towards autopay if I were gone for several weeks at a time. Definitely easier than having someone scan your mail and you dealing with it on the road. Also would be more secure I would think than having some unknown employee scanning all your account information on a regular basis.

I'm not clear on what you wish to accomplish with a VPN. There are many reasons why someone might want one, but the main reasons tend to be one of the following:
1) Using an anonymizing VPN that discards connection records. People use these to pirate copyrighted materials without getting caught.
2) To connect to a protected work environment
3) To connect to a protected home environment to say access a home server or file share or home cameras. You can potentially use your phone or tablet to control a full desktop computer that sits at home. I myself would want a laptop on my trip instead.

A VPN is also a more secure option when browsing websites that are not https on public WiFi. If your website is using http then passwords and content get transmitted unencrypted for anyone attached to the WiFi hotspot to see. Fortunately, many websites are moving to https for content recently in addition to login.

I have VPN options #2 and #3. Setting up a home VPN is a bit complicated for someone not in the IT space.
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Old 02-12-2018, 06:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AKCamper View Post
My wife and I are preparing to do some serious RVing next winter and realize we may need more than a tablet and phone to do our banking and other computer related stuff. Do most use a laptop? How about a VPN service? I guess we really should keep moving towards getting all our bills paid with electronic autopay. Sounds like a great topic for discussion. What about all the mail that gets piled up while you’re gone?
Are you a member of the FiberglassRV forum? There are some threads over there under "Fulltiming" that might give you some ideas.
http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f69/
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Old 02-12-2018, 07:08 PM   #11
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For insurance reasons someone must go into our house every 3 days. We just get someone to house sit. We have a niece staying at our house now. Poor girl has had to do lots of snow shoveling while we check out the cacti.

We set up to have all utility bills, taxes, insurance and the like automatically withdrawn from our account. If needed I think any bank has phone apps to take care of any transaction. Just bought some shares the other day, easy peasy.
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Old 02-12-2018, 08:03 PM   #12
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We have found autopay for the bulk of the bills is the best way to go. The sewer bill cannot be done that way so we pay in advance for the time we will be gone, estimate from past use.

We had an issue in 2014 where our auto genset did not function and shorted out the power to the house. No sump pump power flooded the basement. The neighbor noticed when the water was running down the inside of the windows.

We got a monitored security system immediately after that, we now get a notice the minute the power is off, or back on, or the temp drops in the house, or an entry sensor is tripped. We can now call a responsible person to check and act if anything is needed.

https://simplisafe.com/ DIY setup was super easy, and only $19.00 a month
Best insurance I ever had

Any banking we do we use a smartphone and cell signal, no wifi. a bit small to type on but gets the job done
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Old 02-12-2018, 08:56 PM   #13
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I work for a virtual company, mostly from home, but also when on the road. I use a laptop exclusively (Macbook). Yes, I'd recommend a VPN, (a good idea for everyone). I use Private Internet Access, https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/ on my phone, tablet and laptop. Another staff member uses Express VPN, www.expressvpn.com.

For on the road (business or trailer) internet access I use a Karma Go device. https://yourkarma.com/wifi/2017-2/ I received as a gift, and since I am only on the road for a week or so at the time I only pay a small monthly subscription. It's worked pretty well.

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Old 02-12-2018, 09:06 PM   #14
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I have taken a few very long trips in my Escape, up to six months in length. While I've been gone I've used MyRVMail, a mail forwarding service in Crestview, Florida, to forward my mail to me. I fill out a temporary change of address form at the post office to send my mail to MyRVMail for the period I will be away, then use MyRVMail's website to forward my mail to a location where I know I'll be when I'm traveling. So far it had worked out okay. There are other mail forwarding services as well.

I use online banking with my Bank of America account and a laptop. Without commenting on other aspects of the company, BOA's security seems to be pretty good. In my early computer security training I learned that logging events means nothing if there is no one to check the logs, so I make sure that I check my BOA account frequently, at least every couple of days. I haven't had any banking problems since I started traveling in the Escape.

I use a MacBook Pro laptop for my Internet use only because I'm a Unix nerd, not necessarily a big Apple fan. I run McAfee Internet Security on the laptop. McAfee is owned by Intel. I would be reluctant to use a tablet or cellphone for online banking, but that's just me.
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Old 02-14-2018, 08:17 PM   #15
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IPVanish VPN

I use IPVanish as a VPN. It allows you to choose servers all over the country so people sending info do not know where you are located. We also use it when traveling to Europe.
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Old 02-14-2018, 10:08 PM   #16
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Most of my bills are paid automatically with my credit card and I get cash back rewards. Others offer airmiles and so on. The two that don't come right out of my account. The only bill to pay is the credit card while away. And I too use a Macbook Pro.
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