Protect Yourself Against, and Mitigate Damages From, Identity Theft

We’ve all heard of it. But we all think that we’re invincible to it. Identity Theft!

What is it? It refers to the preparatory stage of acquiring and collecting someone else’s personal information for criminal purposes.

Identity theft techniques can range from unsophisticated, such as dumpster diving and mail theft, to more elaborate schemes.

If your identity is stolen, do you have a plan in place to mitigate the damages? If not, you should at least bookmark this, just in case you need it in the future.

Identity thieves are looking for the following information:
• full name
• date of birth
• Social Insurance Numbers
• full address
• mother’s maiden name
• username and password for online services
• driver’s license number
• personal identification numbers (PIN)
• credit card information (numbers, expiry dates and the last three digits printed on the signature panel)
• bank account numbers
• signature
• passport number

There are things that you can do to protect yourself from identity theft, and there are steps that you can take to minimize the damage and help bring the thief to justice.

Here are 5 things that you can do right now to protect yourself:
1. Do not sign the back of your credit cards. Instead, put ‘PHOTO ID REQUIRED.’
2. When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the ‘For’ line. Instead, just put the last four numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of the number, and anyone who might be handling your cheque as it passes through all the cheque processing channels won’t have access to it.
3. Put your work phone # on your checks instead of your home phone. If you have a PO Box, use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a PO Box, use your work address. Never have your SIN printed on your checks. (DUH!) You can add it if it is necessary. But if you have It printed, anyone can get it.
4. Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine. Do both sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel. Keep the photocopy in a safe place.
5. When you travel abroad, carry a photocopy of your passport. We’ve all heard horror stories about fraud that’s committed on us in stealing a Name, address, Social Insurance number, credit cards, etc…

If your identity does get stolen, what kind of things can you expect to have happen?

Here are just some of what they can do:
1. Access your bank accounts
2. Open new bank accounts
3. Transfer bank balances
4. Apply for loans, credit cards
5. Make purchases
6. Buy cell phone packages
7. Credit line approved by retail stores
8. Access your driving record, and change your information online

If you are a victim, here’s some critical information to act on immediately:
1. Cancel your credit cards immediately. But the key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know whom to call. Keep those where you can find them. This is why we photocopy them (see above). Call your local bank/financial institution as well.
2. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where your credit cards, etc., were stolen. This proves to credit providers you were diligent, and this is a first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one).
But here’s what is perhaps most important of all:
3. Call the nationwide credit reporting companies immediately. Ask them to put a fraud alert on your name and credit report. The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen, and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit.

Here are the numbers for two national credit bureaus:
1.) Equifax: 1-800-465-7166
2.) TransUnion Canada: 1-877-525-3823
3. Order free copies of your credit report from each of the nationwide credit reporting companies.

Have you even been a victim of identify theft? Tell us your story and maybe others can learn from what you did, or didn’t do.

Why Your Company Needs Cyber Privacy Insurance

The universe in which we live in is so very different than how it used to be. Home and personal life has been drastically improved.The general difference in our present lives is particular evident in the manner in which business conducts activities. Technology has taken over virtually every aspect of commercial performance in all industries – worldwide!

With the advancement, however, there remains serious cyber and privacy breach liability. Companies that protect themselves with Cyber and Privacy Insurance can rest assured that they have the necessary coverage in the event of a data breach.

Privacy Claims Instances that Could Very Well Occur to any Business:

• A large healthcare provider partnered with a national merchant to help with its office move. In middle of relocating, the healthcare provider learned there were a number of laptop computers missing. The laptops all contained personal data of members. After consulting with a lawyer and forensic vendors affected parties were notified and offered credit monitoring services. The healthcare provider was investigated and became the defendant in a class action lawsuit. Data breach costs reached $7,000,000 and privacy liability costs came to $2,000,000.

• An online retail shop was hacked and shoppers experienced fraudulent credit card charges. The shop’s tech support employees asked the host web-company to review the stored server data. The web-company discovered a virus and removed it. However, the breach compromised privacy of almost a million records, plus fraudulent usage of 50 credit cards. Besides this, the online shop acquired fines and penalties as a result of not being Payment Card Industry. Data breach costs amounted to $750,000 and privacy liability costs came to $500,000.

• Two employees of a $100 mil retail outlet stole credit card info from a client and fraudulently utilized it for personal shopping. The workers was caught in the act and legal action was taken against them. The retail outlet shop provided credit card monitoring services to its customer (the victimized credit card owner) and provided compensation to her for any related damages. Privacy liability costs amounted to $75,000.

• A $50 million business servicing corporation organized a mailing project for a client and accidentally sent out about 60,000 envelopes displaying account numbers. Data breach costs amounted to $320,000.

• A neighborhood municipality mistakenly posted tax licenses on its website, leading to improper release of personal data. The municipality used forensics services as well as the services of an attorney’s and a public relations company. The municipality also notified affected people and offered credit monitoring services. Data breach costs reached $150,000.

Living The True Weight Loss Lifestyle

For those that are trying to lose weight, they focus on rigorous workout routines and different diets is not their primary focus, but changing their lifestyle entirely. Stop counting calories and start changing your life as a whole.

Do you spend so much time working out at the gym that the receptionist knows you better than your housemates right now? Nonetheless, you have no success at weight loss no matter how hard you try.

Diets that are fads tend not to work out well, even through people tend to get on them frequently each year. Exercising will only make you lead a healthy life Multiple studies have revealed that the key to long-term weight loss is about lifestyle alterations. There are examples of people who have made changes, and then gone on to lose and keep off over 60 pounds of weight. Let’s take a look at how they succeeded.

One: Eat the right foods. The topic of calories is actually perfectly straight forward. It comes down to simple math. Eating more calories than what is required leads to increased weight. Still, you do not have to worry about calories if you make smart choices from the get go. Don’t eat portions that are too large and start to put lean proteins, vegetables, whole grains, and also fruits into what you eat each day.

2. Reasonable exercise. Nearly 90 percent of people who have lost significant weight changed their lifestyle by incorporating one hour of walking each day. This is what you should know. You do not have to buy fancy equipment or belong to a high-priced gym. Moderation is the key, consistency is the focus.

3. Quality Support System It is far easier to shed fat when you have positive influences around you at all times. If the people you are conversing and eating with have bad eating habits, the likelihood of you going down the same path increases.

4. Develop a good sleeping pattern. If you don’t get enough sleep, insulin production will fall. Your brain requires insulin to regulate your appetite. If you don’t get enough rest, you will certainly make poor decision as far as food choices are concerned. Insulin regulates your metabolism, so when you get proper sleep you also have the energy to stick to your daily exercise routine.

5. Keeping track of progress. The journal, believe it or not, is one of the most effective weight loss tools. By writing down the foods you eat and how much you worked out, you’ll have success. The process of documenting your progress helps you maintains a constant awareness of good and bad habits and is proof in black and white of what is working for you personally and what does not. This journal helps you pinpoint problem areas, such as snacking and eating on the weekends when you hang with people who are not as driven. In most cases, simply keeping consistent records (at least six days out of the week) is enough to increase the total amount of weight lost by as much as one hundred percent. Let your journal serve as a daily reminder of the things you should do and where you want to be in the future.

A change in lifestyle isn’t just about losing weight – it’s about living longer, happier, and better lives. Understand the efforts to change your lifestyle are worth the effort because once you lose that weight, you will keep it off. This the time you must get realistic with weight loss effort by changing your lifestyle since no other method will give you the required results.

Economics and Collateralizing Future Earnings Ownership

In order to stand a snowball’s chance in this brave, new, globalized, Trumped-up economy, here’s something that millennials need to know and understand. For all practical purposes, ALL THE DISCRETIONARY WEALTH IS BEING GENERATED ON THE OWNERSHIP SIDE OF THE ECONOMY!

That’s right. There are two ways in which to generate income. You can work for it in order to earn a wage or a salary. Or you can own wealth producing capital assets such as stocks, bonds, real estate, machinery, copyrights, or patents, etc. Owners of such wealth producing capital assets collect dividends (i.e. generate an income) strictly by virtue of their ownership.

That’s why best-selling author and motivational speaker Robert Kiyosaki says “A job is a short term solution to a long term problem.” The long term solution to the long term problem of course is capital ownership because for all practical purposes ALL THE DISCRETIONARY WEALTH IS BEING GENERATED ON THE OWNERSHIP SIDE OF THE ECONOMY – NOT ON THE JOBS/LABOR SIDE. The jobs/labor side of the economy has stagnated for over three decades now, while the ownership side has expanded exponentially during the same time period.

So What Can Millennials Do?
So what can millennials do with this insightful piece of knowledge? For starters, in the wake of graduation, as they make their way into the brave, new, 21st century economy, they can look for companies that are owned by employees (including worker owned co-ops and ESOPS) and submit their resumes and applications.

Collateralizing Future Earnings
You see, companies that are employee owned (ESOPs which is short for Employee Stock Ownership Plans) are organized in such a way that employees who qualify are rewarded with opportunities to buy stock (become semi-partners) in the company they work for using FUTURE EARNINGS OF THE COMPANY (as opposed to their own savings or equity, which minimizes personal risk) AS COLLATERAL. In investment circles this strategy would be called a Leveraged Buy Out (an LBO).

THIS UNIQUE FORM OF CAPITAL CREDIT FINANCING IS ACCESSIBLE ONLY TO EMPLOYEES WORKING FOR COMPANIES OFFERING AN ESOP OPTION. More specifically, it’s not available in employee owned co-ops, which is the next best option. And it has NOTHING TO DO with a company offering employee stock options which is not only highly speculative, but 100% dependent on conventionally collateralized financing possibilities.

Two Income Streams
So, without dipping into savings or jeopardizing the family home, ESOP employees develop TWO STREAMS OF INCOME. One from their wage or salary, and the other from their stock based dividends. The first is actively generated through the employee’s own time and effort. The second is passive or residual income that’s generated by virtue of their ownership.

Suddenly you see employees/workers who are benefitting from both the job/labor and the ownership side of the economy – which, as we’ve said before, is where ALL THE DISCRETIONARY WEALTH IS BEING GENERATED in the 21st century economy.

What Else Can Millennials Do?
So what else can millennials do in this regard? They can support political candidates who advocate employee ownership as a business model. For example, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has sponsored two bills in the US Senate that are specifically designed to encourage employee ownership practices. The first (S.2909) “Provides programs designed to encourage employee ownership and participation in business decision making throughout the US.” The second (S.2914) “Creates a US Employee Ownership Bank” which is designed to be friendly to the idea of using future earnings as collateral in the stock ownership transaction.

The more millennials know about the power of ownership, the better their odds become of participating on the ownership side of the economy, where as we’ve said before, all the discretionary wealth is being generated. In the process the malignant wealth gap that’s so threatening to American democracy can be reversed. Corporate plantations that are built on hierarchy and on the backs of modern wage slaves can be democratized. And the odds of millennials surviving, even thriving in the 21st century economy will be maximized.