Maintaining privacy with your Smart TV

In this week’s mailbag we cover…

What to do before drinking well water…

The role of serial numbers on your firearms during confiscation…

How to maintain the most privacy with your Smart TV’s…

the benefits of a credit card over a debit card…

And my take on the current firearm shortage and what to do about it.

Let’s dive in…

We have a well on our property that drops around 150 ft. to a water source that is sour. But it’s fine for watering the garden, putting out fires, etc. Can you drink it without treating it other than letting it stand open to “air out” for a couple hours?

– Marcia M

Answer: I would definitely filter the well water before drinking it because there could certainly be contaminants in it. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

When it comes to water filters, there are many different kinds such as whole home systems, pitcher filters, and survival type filters. Most whole home water filtration systems can treat well water to ensure its safe to drink.

I have a question. If they ever come to pick up our lawfully owned weapons, can we just hand them the piece that carries the serial number ONLY? After all that’s the gun by definition.

– Michael G

Answer: Serial numbers are usually affixed to the part of the firearm that per the U.S. government is legally considered to be a firearm. For example, on AR-platform firearms, that part is the lower receiver.

Now, the specific part with a serial number is usually a critical part for the gun to function. So, in theory you are right, because once that part is removed the weapon can no longer fire, therefore it’s not a gun.

So, while I love your thinking, I don’t think government thugs care about the serial number only. They’re going to want the whole gun.

Do you have any past blogs about TV’s? We want to buy a new one but fear it can spy on us.

– Diane O

Answer: These days, essentially all TV models have smart features. In fact, you would have to go back to 2013 or 2014 models to find TVs that do not connect to the web.

The argument is that consumers now want streaming services, so connectivity is necessary. Of course, this brings risks with it as well as you mentioned.

Basically, there are two types of security issues when it comes to Smart TV’s: hacking and data collection. The best thing to do is to treat your TV like you would a computer when it comes to security.

For instance, you should use a virtual private network (VPN) on your Smart TV, cover the camera or microphone with tape, and always use a strong password for any accounts you access on the TV.

The bottom line is, you’d really have to buy an older model TV to be 100% safe.

What is the benefit of credit card over debit card? Why is debit card so bad, other than direct access to your bank account?

– Jimmy J

Answer: As you mentioned, when your debit card information falls into the wrong hands, a criminal has direct access to all the money in your checking account.

The thing is, whatever is spent fraudulently is immediately gone from your balance and you’re out the cash until the situation is sorted out with your bank.

Plus, if you have additional accounts linked to your debit account, such as a savings account for overdraft protection, these accounts would also be vulnerable.

In addition, whether or not you get your money returned to you depends largely on how quickly you’re able to catch and report the unauthorized charges. Most banks have strict timelines in place for reporting.

At the end of the day, if your credit card is fraudulently used, then the bank is the one who is out the money and they will be the one to track down the funds and they are a lot easier to work with.

Do you consider concealed carry permits to be a risk, because they provide law enforcement with a list of gun owners who can be targeted?

– Don T

Answer: Unfortunately, this is simply a necessary evil if you want to legally conceal a weapon. Obtaining a concealed weapon permit does put your name in a government database, just like obtaining a driver’s license does.

However, I would still recommend getting a permit if you are going to carry concealed so you don’t break the law. Now, if you live in a state where you can legally open carry a firearm without a permit, this may be a better option if you don’t want your name in a database.

The key is to make sure you follow open carry laws so you don’t get into the gray area of open vs. concealed carry.

Seems like everything, particularly handguns, are sold out pretty much everywhere on-line and stores. What’s your guess this shortage of firearms for sale might go on for?

-Jamie K

Answer: In most cases, a lack of product would be easy to fix for gun retailers since they could contact their distributors and get more in two days. That’s not the case anymore. What I mean is, right now firearms and ammo are depleted nationally, so it won’t be a quick fix.

In addition, you have to consider the fact that the U.S. government and military obtain their supplies from the same manufacturers as retailers, so they will get their orders fulfilled before the general public.

With that being said, if you are in the market for a gun, you could check out classified websites such as Gun Broker. Also, check out your local pawnshops, they usually have some decent guns.

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