Category Archives: Technology

Identity Theft

Identity Theft

The Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act, known commonly as FACTA, was put into law in the United States to help to protect consumers from identity theft and to help in its prevention. FACTA ensures that all citizens are treated fairly when they apply for a mortgage or other form of credit and it entitles them to a free annual credit report to verify its accuracy.

Becoming a major epidemic, Identity Theft occurs when a criminal uses another person's personal information to take on that person's identity. Identity theft includes the misuse of a Social Security number, credit cards, mail fraud, scam, schemes, frauds, or any other form of misuse or abuse of a victim’s identity.

There is no guarantee that you will never be a victim; however, there are steps you can take to minimize your risk. Here is a list of 14 steps you can take to prevent or at least minimize its occurrence:


1. Manage your personal information cautiously and with a new awareness that identity theft can occur anytime anywhere and when you least expect it.

2. Ask about security procedures in your workplace, doctor's office, or other business or organization that routinely collects relevant and personal identifying information as part of doing business or providing a service. Find out who has access to your personal information and verify that it is handled securely. Inquire about their disposal procedures and if your information will be shared with anyone else (namely third parties such as mailing list companies, marketing and survey companies, etc.).

3. Instead of giving your Social Security Number, inquire if you can use other types of identification. Use your Social Security Number with caution and only when absolutely necessary.

"Your Chances of becoming victimized by some form of identity theft is one in ten," according to the Federal Trade Commission.

4. If you find that you have been victimized, immediately file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC maintains a database of identity theft cases used by law enforcement agencies for investigations. Filing a complaint helps the FTC learn more about identity theft and the problems victims are having. This knowledge helps them to assist you better.

5. Carry only the identification and the number of credit and debit cards that you will actually use. Leave extra cards in a safe place at home, in a safety deposit box, or any other secured location.

6. Avoid giving out personal information on the phone, through the mail, or on the internet unless you are absolutely sure you know and can trust with whom you are communicating. Caution: Before you share personal information, be sure you are dealing with a legitimate business or organization. (If you are unsure about an online communication, check the organization’s website by typing its URL in the address line. Most large companies post alerts on their sites when they are aware of a scam when their name is used improperly.)

Identity thieves usually pose as representatives of banks, lotteries, sweepstakes, internet service providers, or some other officially-sounding-entity. They will use any means possible to try to get you to reveal your valuable information.

7. Call the Customer Service Department of companies or organizations with whom you do business using the number listed on your account statement or in the telephone book.

8. Do not place passwords on your credit card, bank, or telephone accounts.

9. When choosing a password, avoid using obvious information like your mother's maiden name, your birth date, a series of consecutive numbers, or the last four digits of your Social Security Number or your phone number.

10. Pay attention to your billing cycles. A missing bill could mean an identity thief has gotten their hands on it.

"9.9 million people were victims of identity theft in 2002", according to the Federal Trade Commission. Don't wait until it happens to you.

11. Be wary of promotional scams or phony offers to get you to give them your personal information such as lottery and sweepstakes’ that you have never entered and ones asking for an "administration" fee.

12. If your job requires you to suit up in special clothing at work, never leave your purse or wallet in your personal clothes. Always keep them in a safe and secured place.

13. When reordering checks, pick them up at the bank instead of having them sent to your mailbox.

14. Obtain a current credit report by contacting any of these major credit bureaus:

Equifax: P.O. Box 740241 Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
For Fraud Alerts, call: 800-525-6285

Experian: P.O. Box 2002 Allen TX 75013
For Fraud Alerts, call: 888-EXPERIAN (397-3742)

Trans Union: P.O. Box 1000, Chester, PA 19022
For Fraud Alerts, call: 800-680-7289

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and/or believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

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Energy Saving Tips

Energy Saving Tips

Our environment is suffering and our resources are depleting because we use too much of everything. Did you know that taking small steps to save our environment can also help you save money? If you follow one or all of the tips below, you can actually see real savings on your energy bill. You don't need to do everything but you can do something.

In a typical U.S. home, appliances and electronics make up about 20% of energy use. The first step is to look for Energy Star labels when buying appliances and products. Energy Star labels are strict guidelines created by the U.S. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency for energy efficiency. Follow some of these tips to help make the environment better for our future generations and save money at the same time.

Light bulbs: Use energy saving CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs) instead of the conventional incandescent light bulbs. Although CFLs cost 3-5 times as much as the incandescent light bulb, CFLs only use one-quarter of the electricity and lasts years longer. Each CFL bulb contains 5mg of mercury so you will have an extra item to sort in the recycling bin.

Dishes: Never load your dishes in a dishwasher unless they are a full load. Air-dry dishes instead of using a dryer.

Laundry: Wash clothes with warm or cold water instead of hot water when you can. Instead of using a dryer, air-dry or hang your clothes on a clothes line. Don't use the dryer unless it houses a full load.

Refrigerators: Think of what you want to take out before you open the refrigerator. Leaving the door open will waste extra energy.

Take Showers, less Baths: Taking showers instead of baths will reduce water usage and also lower your heating bill.

Turn Off all Appliances Not in Use: Turn off all lights, computers, and electronics when they are not in use. Plug all your electronics such as computers, TVs, and DVDs into power strips. Using a power strip can reduce electricity used to power home appliances. Even when your appliances are turned off, energy is still being consumed from the outlet. To avoid extra energy costs, unplug the appliance or use a power strip. The power strip has an off button to cut all the power from the appliance.

Weather-Strip Windows and Doors: Check windows and doors for air leaks. Air leaks can be sealed by caulking or weather-stripping. By securing the leaks in your home, hot and cool air will be kept in your home longer. Less heating and cooling will help you save on energy costs.
 
Look for Energy Star label: Energy Star labels are only given when appliances and products meet strict guidelines of energy efficiency from U.S. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and/or believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Online Credit Card Processors

Online Credit Card Processors

We have all heard of PayPal. PayPal is an online credit card processor that allows online businesses to securely accept credit cards as a form of payment. In addition to PayPal, there are additional online credit card processors.

Online shopping has dramatically increased in popularity and each day more consumers think about purchasing online. Online shopping is popular because it is generally easy and convenient. Online credit card processors help to make online shopping hassle free. Online credit card processors are used by large or small businesses. In additional to nationally known companies, online credit card processors make it easy for work-at-home individuals to successfully make a profit selling homemade or wholesale merchandise.

For individuals interested in starting their own online business, finding the perfect online credit card processing company make take sometime. Credit card number are valuable information and unfortunately many account numbers are stolen each day. In addition to protecting the assets of your business, obtaining a secure online credit card processor will also protect your customers. Consumers do not want to be shopping or handing out valuable personal information to an unsecured website or credit card processing company. The best way to determine the success of online credit card processors is by searching for customer feedback on the internet. Many times clients will post feedback when they have had a positive or negative experience with a company.

In addition to personal and business security, fully researching the various different online credit card processors is a potential way to increase your profits. For allowing you to use their services, you are charged a fee. The fee and rates will depend on the online credit card processor in question. For this reason, it is important to shop around and find the best value for your money. Although cheaper rates are nice, it is not always better. Go with your gut instinct, if something seems too good to be true it may be. Research is an important tool in keeping your profits intact.

It is not uncommon to come across online credit card processors that offer certain guidelines or restrictions on their services. For example, there may be a select few of online credit card processors that limit the amount of sales it processes. This limit may be monthly, weekly, or even daily. If your business becomes a success, this restriction could only hurt it and could cause you to lose potential profits.

Another restriction may include the type of business that you are operating. Although each online credit card processor is different and they tend to operate under different standards, some online businesses may be a violation of their standards. A few examples of the businesses that online credit card processors may refuse to service are gambling sites, adult sties, or pharmacies. Before entering into a contract with an online credit card processing company, it is important to read through their contract rules and guidelines.

Credit cards are used by consumers because they are a convenient and easy way to participate in online shopping. If you are operating an online business, whether it be large or small, consider accepting online credit cards. There a wide number of online credit card processors available to serve your needs and help your businesses grow.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and/or believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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