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Q&A with Kim: Nosy smart TVs, scanning receipts, debit card hijackers, and more

Each week, I receive tons of questions from my listeners about tech concerns, new products and all things digital. Sometimes choosing the most interesting questions to highlight is the most difficult part of my job.

This week, I received questions about new ATM skimmers, keeping track of receipts, traveling with tech and more. Do you have a question you’d like to ask me? Click here to email me directly.

Stop the smart TV snooping

Q: How “smart” is my smart TV? I am concerned that it is watching me!

A: Consumers have a love-hate relationship with smart TVs. On the one hand, they are pretty “smart,” and they can do a lot of things a computer can do. But some features are pretty unwelcome in a privacy-conscious household. For starters, some models keep close track of your viewing habits and send that data off. Luckily there are easy ways of putting the kibosh on this passive spying. Click here to learn how to change the privacy settings on your smart TV.

Watching out for ATM skimmers

Q: Are skimmers real? It doesn’t seem like something a criminal can easily do.

A: Skimmers are very real, and so is the danger of having your information stolen. These days, skimming devices are small enough to blend into the ATM or gas pump. Worse, you may not even know your PIN is compromised for days or months because the criminals will wait to use it. The data can even be transmitted to other countries for purchasing items overseas. But there are some simple ways to decrease your odds of getting skimmed. Click here to learn how to spot a skimmer.

Picking up the phone in other countries

Q: What’s the best way for me to use my phone in Europe this summer? I am afraid of roaming charges!

A: Calling from another country used to be the kiss of death for phone bills. There are many horror stories of people who traveled to another country, forgot to turn their phones off, and ended up with astronomical roaming fees. But options have improved dramatically in a few short years. Until recently, most Americans had no idea how easy it is to switch out a SIM card, although this common practice does require a “jail-broken” phone, which can be a security risk. So what are other ways to get your phone working while backpacking across Europe? Click here to learn how to circumvent roaming charges.

Keeping track of receipts

Q: I want to do a better job of tracking expenses and receipts. Are there any tech tools to help?

A: For small business owners, collecting all those receipts can make you want to yank out your hair. Those narrow slips of paper pile up in envelopes and drawers, and sometimes it seems impossible to keep them from getting crumpled and torn, much less in some order. Not surprisingly, savvy technicians have found ways to digitize these receipts. But you don’t need a cumbersome scanner. You can make digital versions of those fragile papers right on your smartphone. Click here for ways tech can keep track of receipts.

Learn cyber-security lingo

Q: I’m overwhelmed. How can I learn the ins and outs of protecting my financial information online when I do not understand the lingo?

A: You’re not alone. Millions of people use web services for banking, shopping, and transferring funds, but many are hazy about security. And like you say, it’s hard to assess your security if you don’t know the language. Luckily, the basic vocabulary is pretty easy to pick up, especially if you’re conducting only basic transactions online. Click here for a handy glossary of internet security terms.

What questions do you have? Call my national radio show and click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet or computer. From buying advice to digital life issues, click here for my free podcasts.

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