Readers comments: 11-19-21

We need better cyber security when it comes to online payments
Dear editor:
The increase in scams targeting Zelle app users has raised the question of how much companies like Zelle are doing to protect their users from cybercrime. Under Zelle’s policy, all liability falls on the user; however, security and liability fall on the institutions when moving directly between each other. Zelle’s “protection” clauses today all seem to explicitly say there is no protection for scams where you agree to send some amount to someone and Zelle (or any other cash transfer app) operates under the assumption that the transaction cannot be reversed. However, are banks not partially at fault for letting these unverified funds be moved around like this in the first place?
With cyber innovation comes an increase in cybercrime year after year. Criminals are getting creative; in 2020, IC3 logged a record number of complaints from Americans reporting losses of more than $4.1 billion and a 69% increase in total complaints from 2019. Companies are rushing to keep up with this world’s rapid digital shift trough features such as instant money transfers and early cash advances. Companies need to take more initiative and try to prevent these kinds of scams.
The financial system does not work 24/7. Automated clearing house payments have settlement instructions and dates, so humans still need to settle accounts and initiate a lot of the processing. Having a human analyze this electronic information on transfers and reading checks prevent these kinds of crimes. The Federal Reserve has dropped hints that they are looking into updating ACH and possibly leveraging blockchain technology. Will anything happen within the next five years? Probably not, but within a decade, we could see progress towards a replacement/update to ACH.
It is an excellent reminder to everyone to lock down their publicly available information on social media and invest in their protection through two-factor authentication in a world becoming computerized. Many companies such as Apple and Google are taking the initiative to start combatting this by emphasizing online safety and updates in users’ privacy. For example, Apple’s new feature to “hide” your email address using an encrypted email that links and sends your information through a ghost email. This ghost email creates extra privacy for Apple users when using the internet and completing transactions. These kinds of updates could help prevent customers from becoming a victim of cybercrime.
Katherine Ventura

In response to Paul M. Mahoney; letter published November 12
Dear editor:
It is one thing to refuse treatment for a medical condition like cancer, or diabetes, which affect the patient and no one else. It is quite another thing to refuse vaccination for a contagious disease. It is the nature of a pandemic that the actions of an individual have consequences for the larger community.
Mr. Mahoney asserts that if he were younger, the published statistics for the lethality of COVID would dissuade him from getting the vaccine. This leads me to wonder how Mr. Mahoney would feel if Covid were 10, or 100 times, more deadly than the disease currently is. Would he still assert that the state has no right to require proof of vaccination as a condition of employment? Does the individual citizen’s choice always supersede the needs of the community? More than 750,000 people have died from COVID in the United States since the pandemic began. Had we embraced universal vaccination six months ago, many thousands of people who are now dead would still be alive.
We enforce speed limits on the highway to save lives — thereby impinging on individual freedom. Mandating vaccines has the same purpose – to save lives.
Marc Merritt

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