Word of the Week: Scam

Word of the Week: Scam

The Skeleton Dance

Ready for something just plain silly for Halloween? No grave robbers here, but some unsavory souls from six feet under do come out to play! A classic by Disney, this 1929 Skeleton Dance cartoon will surely shake your bones! Time to take a quick 5 minute break, and enjoy a good laugh with this old classic. Looks like phishy business to me, don't you think?
Kick off your shoes and operate your finger bones a bit on the mouse to hit the play button below. Give those old leg and foot bones a rest, while your back bones chill and your eyeballs take a gander.

So You Bought a Lemon?

Some people are simply prone for bad luck, and even when it comes to buying a car. Have you ever bought a car only to find out that you really bought a lemon on wheels? What could be worse? When we purchase a different car one of the most important goals is to buy something of greater dependability, so to end up with a lemon on wheels is quite a disappointment.

Buying a car is always a major investment, and for most people not one that they can waste any money or time for dealing with a lemon law car that may have been manufactured with second-rate quality and dependability.

If you find yourself to be a victim of a lemon on wheels, don't continue to suck on that sour taste! Learn how to take action and get relief from your sour purchase. Find local lemon law code and law firms, and stop suffering as you try to keep a lemon on wheels running.

Have a Safe Halloween!

If you allow your children to participate in Halloween, have you made plans for a safe evening? Over the years less people have been taking their children trick-or-treating door to door due to safety concerns.

If you're just not sure what to do for Halloween, but want to allow your children to participate in some fun here's several tips on how one mother Susan, provided a safe way for her children to enjoy the evening.

Never take your kids trick-or-treating to a stranger's home when they are young

Only take them to the homes of neighbors and friends that you know

Take them to safe trick-or-treating at a local mall where they allow parents with small children to go store to store for treats.

Get together with a group of moms and have a Halloween party just for the little ones with healthy treats, and easy crafts for them to do.

This way my children were able to share in the fun of Halloween, but they were kept safe.

Thank you Susan for sharing those great tips on how to create a fun and safe Halloween for children! If you would like to enjoy more of Susan's great tips, and other ideas, Susan is one of my blogging friends and her blog is called Susan's Spa. She will pamper you with all sorts of relaxing tips for a stressful life, and give you the latest scoop on all sorts of things.

A Child Predator's Favorite Tool

Attention all parents! Here's a quick tip for protecting your child from potential approach from a predator. I'm sure you are very proud of your child, and love to show your child off. When doing so please keep in mind that there are some ways you may make your child a greater target to unwanted friends, and dangerous individuals.

One of the quickest ways to encourage a predator to prey on your child is by providing the person with the easiest tool for them to approach your son or daughter, in order to gain their trust. What is the tool you may be freely handing out to predators to approach your child? Your child's name! Please think twice before placing your child's name on an article of clothing, backpack or on any other item your child carries or wears in public.

With your child's name publicly displayed a predator can easily gain your child's trust. When they're able to gain the attention of your child by calling them by their name the predator has an instant edge in winning their trust. An individual that is able to refer to your child by name will form an instant bond with your son or daughter, making it far easier for them to sway your child toward trusting them.

Though your child may remember they have their name on the garment they are wearing, in their mind their name spoken by an individual provides them with a false sense of security. So before doing so, please consider the potential consequences of publicly displaying your child's name!

Avoid Mortgage Madness & Fraud

Have you ever found it to be the least bit confusing when shopping for a mortgage, or determining which mortgage broker you should work with? How do you know which mortgage broker you can trust to disclose all the information to you?

In order to avoid becoming a victim of mortgage fraud and abuse, you need to do your homework! Be aware of laws such as the Truth in Lending Act, and know your rights. The Truth in Lending Act is a federal law that was enacted as part of the Consumer Protection Act. This law requires lenders to reveal all information to the borrower and detail all costs associated with the transaction. If the lender is not willing to provide full disclosure to you then walk away from the loan offered.

For example, if you were to sign documents for an equity loan today that would balloon in five years, do you fully understand the potential ramifications of that agreement you are entering into? A good mortgage broker will be willing to explain the details to you as they know they are required to provide you with full disclosure.

If anything less than full disclosure is provided you need to consider asking some tough questions or to walk away from the offer, otherwise you may be subjecting yourself to lender abuse.

Were You Cheated From Signing a Valid Petition?

You know the scoop here on this one: You open your email inbox folder and you discover a friend or family member has sent you a petition. Each time I receive one of those I grumble and I'm amazed at how many submit their name in faith believing the petition to be valid.

If you added your name to one of those, you are not alone. The first time one of those came around I too was fooled by it, but thereafter I began applying common sense to the concept by first off recalling the definition to the word petition, which is: "A formal written request made to an authority." Immediately you are then able to realize the petition is a hoax when in fact there is no authority that the petition is going to and essentially the email is just set up as a chain letter.

Is there any harm done by the individuals who started a petition hoax? I feel they are harmful. If an individual adds their name to the fraudulent petition thinking it is valid, then most likely they would be cheated out of signing a valid petition. For example, if someone started an emailed petition in regards to the subject of abortion and individuals add their names to it, then when the real deal comes along they will perhaps think, "Oh, I don't need to sign that because I already did that through email." If that were the case the individual essentially was cheated from exercising their right as a registered voter to sign a valid petition.

You may be wondering if the person who started the petition was intending deliberate harm. Maybe, maybe not, but the point is they can deceive someone into believing that they have exercised their opportunity to sign a petition, when in fact it was nothing more than a hoax, and more definitive, a form of fraud.

A person may have started a fraudulent petition as their own rant trying to sway others toward their own political view. Worse yet, a person may start a fraudulent petition in order to detract people from signing a valid petition, in hopes their own political agenda would be successful.

What should you do when you receive a petition within an email? I personally think you may want to consider sending it back to the individual who mailed it to you, and kindly inform them that e-petitions are not valid!

There are valid petitions online, which you can add your name to, but they will never be in the form of an emailed chain letter.

This may seem to be a subject of little importance, but you may save someone from being deceived into believing they expressed their rights as a registered voter, when in fact they did nothing more than become a victim of a senseless act of fraud or a hoax, and in turn may have been cheated from signing a valid petition.

Just Trivia

Would you like to find something interesting to read? What about trivia? Everyone likes trivia! You can instantly become the life of a party or put an end to a silent room if you know enough trivia.

For example, you can find trivia on what the odds are for certain events happening to you. One trivia statistic you can learn there is the fact that you have a 7 in 10 chance of becoming a victim to some type of online security breach, and running into unwanted predators online.

There is also an interesting trivia post called, "The Paper Chase - Forgeries for the Masses" where you can learn about fraudulent hoaxes such as tampered documents and literary fraud. So if you're in the mood for some trivia stop on over to their blog!

Are You SURE You Won the Lotto?

How excited would you get if you received a check in the mail informing you that you won the lotto? Most people would get pretty excited and the check would burn a hole in their pocket fairly quick.

Unfortunately there are individuals receiving such a check in the mail along with instructions for claiming the remainder of their prize. Why is it unfortunate to receive a check in the mail informing you of winning the lotto? It's unfortunate because it is most likely a scam, and when many people receive those checks, they get all excited and hopeful over it. Even if their excitement and hope is only for a moment and they realize it's a scam, it's certainly a cruel trick to the emotions.

If you receive notification through the mail of winning the lotto, you should immediately be leary. The various lottery commissions don't notify people through the mail of lotto winnings, but none the less the scam artists send out letters with checks in a manner similar to this woman's experience:

I received a check in the mail for $1750 that is for tax and clearance fee from supposedly the "XYZ LOTTO COMMISSION", and a letter instructing me on how to claim the remaining amount of 163,220.00 by Oct 27.

That is a typical example of the type of letter an individual may receive through the US Mail. If you receive one of these types of letters through the US Mail you will want to take that to your local Post Master and report it to them. Please don't just throw it into the garbage! Scams like this need to be reported in order to help protect others who may actually think the scam is legitimate.

Cashing one of those checks will bring terrible consequences, as well as responding to their offer on how to collect the remainder of the fake winnings. Please help others to not take the bait by reporting it to the necessary authorities.

Catch the Burglar at Night

Is it just me or is there a mysterious appeal to be a private investigator? I'm not a snoopy person but it sure does sound fun. Of course the Internet has changed the scope of things when it comes to digging up dirt on criminals, but there are some things that just can't replace the thrill of hands-on work.

Imagine if you had the right tools and equipment to squash a crooks plans while they're prowling around at night. Would you have to be a super sneaky detective to accomplish that? What if you could temporarily transform yourself into an animal with greater vision like a dog or cat, and be able to see at night?

Okay, we aren't talking Halloween here or the tales of werewolves that are told on such a night. We're talking about night vision! If you were assigned neighborhood watch think of how much more effective you could be with night vision! What a trip to be able to see like a dog or cat at night! Now that would be some super sleuth detective work if you could catch a crook at night. You would be the hero in your neighborhood.

Perhaps you aren't the type to snoop around at night to see whoever you could catch, but either way night vision is a very cool tool to have access to. Night vision could also be something you could carry in your toolbox for out on the road if your vehicle breaks down. If you put your mind to it, the ideas are endless with how night vision could be of benefit. Just be sure to use it in a responsible way.

Auto Anti-Theft Quick Tip

As we approach winter it's easy to make a mistake, which provides a car thief easier access to our vehicle. None of us like to be cold or drive our vehicle without warming up the engine a bit, but we need to remember that a motor vehicle unattended with the engine running is a favorite among car thieves!

Where we live auto theft is not a stranger to our county. We all have to take necessary precautions. If you need to pre-heat your car and engine make sure you have a spare key so you can lock the car while it is left running. Also, make sure it is parked where you can visibly see it until you return to the vehicle. It's nice to have your car interior warmed up before you get in, but if your car is stolen in the process suddenly that luxury of a warm vehicle wasn't such a good idea.

How Some Become a Criminal

For those who wonder just how crime comes to be and how people just suddenly snap, one example is the fact that in highly populated areas some people just can't seem to deal with the simple challenges of life!

Here's a short video that is rather comical, and perhaps is a great example of how some days people just snap! (Sorry, video no longer available online).

Relocation Tip

A new year is approaching and for some it will represent a time for a fresh start. If crime has increased in your community significantly then perhaps it's time to consider a move. Prior to making a move there will be many things to consider. If crime is a major concern for you then be sure to do your research for statistics in the area you are planning to move to.

Another precaution to take is to consider how you will store your household items or motor vehicles if you are moving across country. Moving to a destination that is distant from your current residence presents some unique challenges. Often those challenges require the use of a storage facility of your personal belongings before you are able to access your new home.

Even though you may have access to your new home, you may be faced with a situation that does not allow you to immediately move into your home. In that case it is probably best to place your items in a secure storage facility rather than leaving them in your new residence unattended for too long.

If a moving service or storage is needed your first place to shop could be online with a site such as a Self Storage Directory as it will save you a great amount of time. Consumers can log on and search for storage by city, state, or zip code. They will provide up to four local storage quotes, and give you competitive bids. Their site is easy to navigate, and easy to send your contact information, but only to the companies which you choose. Another added benefit of accessing their site is the information they provide in regards to moving tips.

If you are planning a move, work smart to be sure your belongings will be stored in a secure manner away from the temptation of thieves. Leaving household belongings in a vacant home before you can move in is never a good idea. Especially if you are not yet acquainted with the neighborhood where your new home is located.

Another Puzzling Piece

Are you ready for another piece to the puzzle for the payperpostbluemonster? PayPerPost stated, "This puzzle contains a sneak peak at a super secret PayPerPost program code named Blue Monster." What do you suppose the Blue Monster may be? When will the Blue Monster be revealed and unleashed from his hiding place? If you are into blog marketing you better come back to find out the answer to this mystery!

Motor Vehicle Title Transfer Tip

Title Transfer

Each day we have to work smarter to do a better job of protecting ourselves from thieves and from unfortunate situations. When a person sells their car to a private party there are necessary steps one needs to take after completion of the bill of sale. Although we offer you a quick tip below, if you have concerns or questions about completing the transfer of a title you should contact your local Department of Licensing. Laws and procedures may also vary by state.
When you sell your automobile you need to quickly submit the title transfer releasing your interest to the Department of Licensing. Generally on the bottom of the title transfer form it instructs you to submit the title transfer information within 3 days of the sale of the car. Some people who sell their car rely on the buyer to complete that process, but by doing so the seller of the vehicle is leaving the door open for potential liability.

The worst case scenario would be if the new owner of your old vehicle gets into an automobile accident, and injures or kills another person. When the accident occurred, if your name is still showing as the owner of the vehicle you could be held liable! The same is true if you allow an uninsured person to drive your vehicle or an underinsured person.

Some individuals who purchase a vehicle deliberately don't intend to transfer the title of the vehicle into their name, which is illegal, but easy enough for them to pull off. Therefore, if you as the seller do not submit the proper document to the Department of Licensing, don't bet on the new owner doing that for you!

Here's one example of one such nightmare that a friend of ours experienced. His van was getting old and tired and he sold it to a private party with the understanding that the van was no longer in good running condition. Post completion of the bill of sale, he did not go to the Department of Licensing to get the transfer completed, nor did the new owner.

A month or so later our friend suddenly received notification from a towing company attempting to collect $2,000.00 from him. The reason? Our friend never legally released his interest in the vehicle and now he was being held liable. Apparently the van broke down, and the new owner of the vehicle didn't have the funds to fix the vehicle so he left it parked at the side of the road. It doesn't take long for a vehicle to end up in an impound yard, and someone has to pay the bill for each day it is there! In this case the towing company was contacting who they believed was the owner of the car, and who technically was still showing as the legal owner with the Department of Licensing!

Our friend was able to produce a copy of his bill of sale to the towing company, and fortunately they were kind enough to not hold him liable for the towing and impound yard storage fees. Although he was fortunate he had quite a few phone calls and hours into getting himself out of the mess. He was also lucky that it was only a towing company that he had to deal with. Things could have been worse. For example, if the new owner of the van had been involved in an auto accident resulting in injury or death, our friend could have been faced with terrible consequences.

In summary, be sure to quickly release your interest in your sold vehicle by submitting the appropriate forms to the Department of Licensing. Generally the form to release your interest is attached to the title, and you will want to make sure you tear off that portion before releasing the title to the new owner.

A quick trip to the Department of Licensing may save you from a huge hassle, potential financial liability, and the potential responsibility for the lives of those injured or killed in an automobile accident which you did not commit. Take the time to safeguard yourself when you sell your vehicle!

Puzzling Event

Since it's Friday I'll give you something to ponder just for pure fun. If you are a blogger you probably have heard of PayPerPost! They currently have a puzzle contest going on called payperpostbluemonster where a blogger has the opportunity to post puzzle pieces that are gathered up and assembled to reveal PayPerPost's latest secret! So here's our puzzle piece for you to match up with the others! It's all about blog marketing so be sure to check them out if you're a blogger!

Safety Tips for Your Teens on MySpace

Is it any surprise that sexual predators have found their site of dreams on Myspace? A recent investigation determined with minimal effort, that there are well over 744 registered sex offenders who have found a home on MySpace.

The discovery of the 744 sex offenders on MySpace is only a small handful sampling of how many are actually a registered user of the site, as the study was not completed. MySpace is home to over 100 million users, so there are undoubtedly many more lurking there. In addition to the concern over the registered sex offenders, there are of course predators who have not ever been caught and therefore are not a registered sex offender, but obviously still of great concern. It certainly poses a problem for parents who allow their children to participate in MySpace.

If you wish to allow your children to continue to have a MySpace profile, there are some safety tips you can learn to give you greater peace of mind.

Pain Killer Addiction Can Lead to Crime

Various forms of theft in our society have increased due to drug addiction. Drug addiction leads to many crimes as the addicts become thieves to find ways of supporting their debilitating habits. Throughout the world, drug addiction is ravaging the lives of many innocent people. Individuals who would normally not be considered to be an at risk individual, have become addicts to various drugs and have turned their lives into one of wanting for more drugs daily.

Just how do some people become addicted to drugs and illegal substances? Unfortunately many become addicted to drugs beginning with an addiction to pain killers. The innocent pursuit of finding relief for pain slowly can take someone down the path of drug addiction, which can sometimes contribute to various forms of theft as well.

There is an increased amount of awareness in our country for the need to help those who have become addicted to pain killers, by providing efficient drug detox centers for help. One method provides the ability for the person to detox without having to go to an expensive hospital or to a 30-day rehab to do so.

One option, the Meditox Method involves a new medicine called Suboxone (or Buprenorphine). Combined with personal client management and just one doctors appointment, the person is well on their road to recovering from their addiction to pain killers. So if you know anyone with the challenge, I encourage you to help them pursue a remedy for their challenge. A life of drug addiction often leads to a life of crime and theft, so resolving issues with drug addiction can help reduce crime.

Automobile Vehicle Identification Number Protection

How vulnerable is your automobile VIN to potential thieves? Theives are becoming clever these days and they may be after your car or truck Vehicle Identification Number to make it easier to steal your vehicle. If they can view your VIN easily from the exterior of your car then a thief could produce a fraudulant title to your car.

So here's a quick tip for the day:

VIN's are viewable from the exterior of most cars by looking through the lower corner of your automobile windshield. To shield the VIN from being viewed simply take a piece of tape such as black electrition tape and place it over the VIN plate.

There are not too many times an owner of a vehicle needs to access their VIN so it won't create much of an inconvenience for you, but it will be an inconvenience for a car thief!

What's Your Dream Career?

You may have read some of our posts on some of the work at home jobs that you need to be careful with since there are so many scams out there. Many are looking for a work at home position or opportunity, but there are many other opportunities you may be over-looking if you don't consider the other options.

What if you could figure out what your dream career would be? So many people are absolutely miserable with their current employement or career, but it doesn't have to be you! Why suffer year after year in a job that you hate or in a position representing a product or service that is either questionable or doesn't line up with your personal values?

Imagine being able to actually enjoy your work! In that we spend the majority of our hours sleeping and working, wouldn't it make sense to take the time and energy to look into what your dream career would be?

Okay, you may be saying, "I'm totally clueless as to what my dream job or career might be!" If that is the case, here is the perfect book for you to identify what your dream career may be! You will have the opportunity to look at many Dream jobs as you read this book. You will identify a career that's ideal for you through fun and insightful exercises, quizzes, and advice. You will discover 101+ dream careers that are rarely advertised and get specific strategies to help you break in. So stop suffering and start dreaming again!


If you like videos be sure to check back to see what we've added to our list of videos to watch.

This Guy Needs an Identity Theft Attorney

Surprise Package

One thing I truly love about blogging is the fact that I have the opportunity to meet new people and friends through exchanging ideas for one another's blogs, and by meeting people in forums. One of my forum blogging friends Becky, provided this story, from her own experience dealing with a scam. Essentially this last summer, she began receiving what I'll refer to as "surprise packages," through the mail. Here is her story and one scam that we can all learn from:

All of a sudden I found that I was getting "welcome packages" from several companies, thanking me for "enrolling" or becoming a "member". The funny thing is, none of these were anything that I would have ordered - example: Maxim for men subscription. Um, I'm a woman; why would I order that? Another was for an auto club, like Triple A. (I would not have signed up for that because my husband owned his own hauling truck!)

I got suspicious, and started calling these companies. Every one of them told me that a certain "marketing agency" had sent in my order, at my request. (Remember, I had ordered NONE of these things.)

Well, to make a long story short, I was finally able to get the name of this so-called "marketing agency". Turns out they were some outfit operating out of Florida.

When I called to notify them that I had NOT ordered anything, they swore that I did, and that they had proof. Here's the most shocking thing: They told me that they had me on a taped phone call and that they would play it back for me. I nearly fell over when I heard it! It was a BLATANTLY falsified phone call with a woman's voice, not mine, saying "yes" each time the marketer asked if she'd like to sign up for something. You could easily tell that they had "cut and pasted" voices into a phone conversation. I was LIVID! They had even gotten my credit card number somehow. I do not know how they got it either, because I use this card ONLY for purchasing items online, and I always purchase from secure sites. Obviously, something wasn't secure somewhere.

Straightening out this mess wasted a lot of my time last summer. I had to cancel my credit card, contact all these different companies to get my name taken off their records and credits back to my account, etc. I was hoping our state's attorney general's office could help me go after these guys, but they were really no help at all, so I'm sure this bunch of crooks is STILL freely operating out there.

As you read, unfortunately the authorities have failed to address the crooks operating the marketing company, so watch out!

Did you catch a very important point Becky made in regards to her credit card? Becky stated that the card the items had been charged to is a card she uses only for online purchases. That is a very smart tip for all who make purchases online. This way it provides a card holder the opportunity to identify how their card had been compromised. As she also stated she is very cautious to make sure the site is always a secure line when she does make a purchase online, but as she mentioned somehow it was compromised somewhere. To ensure you are making a purchase on a secure line you should be able to see the little icon that resembles a pad lock show up in your taskbar. Be sure you proceed with caution when making any purchase with your credit cards. The con artists are out there waiting to see what new scheme they can come up with.

Thank you Becky for sharing your story for our readers! If you establish a new blog please provide us with a link to send our readers there.

Quick Quote Safety Tip

Just a quote with a funny anti-theft tip:

I have six locks on my door all in a row. When I go out, I lock every other one. I figure no matter how long somebody stands there picking the locks, they are always locking three.
Elayne Boosler

Super Hero Fighting Fraudsters

We live in a world where thieves are working over-time to cash in on funds that don't belong to them. Fraudulent credit card transactions occur daily, and the costs of such purchases ends up costing us each as consumers. Credit card theft has become a household word and concern, and the fraudsters have been winning the war. That is until now! A Super Hero has come onto the scene and is taking on the fraudsters and the credit card industry and they are winning the fight!

Certified Payments allows a merchant to rest assure that the purchase was made in a legitimate manner. If you are an online merchant you will want to quickly add the ammunition this Super Hero fighting fraudsters can offer your business.

Keep Your Eyes Peeled

We all want to believe that the world is full of honest people. Thank goodness many are honest, but unfortunately there seems to be far more who just never caught on to the fact that life is more rewarding when we're honest than when we are dishonest.

All thieves are of course lacking the honesty trait, and they are always on the look-out for a quick way to make a buck without any regard for others. A quick lesson to learn is that either we must keep our eyes peeled for what a thief will do, as they keep their eyes peeled open for opportunity. One of my forum and blogging friends Tricia, shared this story:

A friend and I were traveling, and we stopped at a McDonalds in a fairly
safe town to eat. We were sitting there and my friend needed more ketchup. He left his seat, and a woman came up to me asking directions on how to get somewhere.

Since I've traveled the area often, I started explaining what way she needs to go and even turned around and pointed what way she needs to go when she leaves the McDonalds. She thanked me, and left.

My friend came back and asked me where his wallet was. Unknown to me, he had set it on his tray and I didn't even notice that he had left it there. The woman took it while distracting me for information.

We looked for the woman, but she was gone. He never did recover his wallet. Luckily, he didn't have too much money in it and he remembered the telephone number for his credit card to cancel it.

Just goes to show you need to be careful everywhere.

This story serves as an excellent example that we must keep our eyes peeled, and also keep our valuables so potential thieves cannot be tempted. Thank you Tricia for sharing your story!

If you were to lose your wallet or handbag it certainly can put a damper on the budget if you lose a wad of bills in the process. Another way to lose quite a bit of money is with too much debt. If debt reduction is your focus, be sure to hop on over to this Debt blog for some great debt reduction ideas.

Buying or Selling Realestate?

Are you in the market to buy or sell your realestate? If you sell your realestate on your own, you could find yourself in hot water if you erroneously failed to disclose some information to the party who purchased your home or other realestate. Or, you could become a victim of a thief who purchases your home with other ideas in mind as to how he or she can later make a buck off you.

On the other hand, if you are in the market to purchase realestate without the assistance of a realtor, you could also find yourself in hot water later with documents you signed, or end up with a piece of realestate that has major problems.

If you're in the market you also have to watch your back to make sure you get a good realtor. Although a legitimate realtor is not a crook there are some that feel they are greedy pigs taking money from homeowners when they sell or purchase a home.

One realestate company, which wants to change the landscape in which homes are sold, has cut the commission charges way down from what you normally see. Austin real estate will actually rebate a portion of the compensation back to you! They feel that realtors over-charge the customer and want to make sure the customer is provided services for far less. With a deal like that you have no excuse for not hiring a realtor to protect your best interests!

So if you are planning to buy or sell a home, land, or commercial property, be sure to have all your ducks in order and know what you are signing and how much it will cost you for the transaction.

Superman VS Batman

It's Saturday night at the movies, so here's a quick video from two of the most famous crime fighters in history, Superman vs Batman! Okay, so they're only a fantasy! (Sorry, the videos are no longer available).

A Doggone Good Home Security Alarm?

Have you thought about what you should do for home security? If you are having a home built you may want to consider your options while planning your construction. On the other hand, if your home is already built there are other options to consider as well. Then there is the good old standby alarm system that doesn't require any wiring, but does require a warm place to sleep and plenty of food.

For many years furry friends (the type that bark) have been considered to be a great alarm system. You may want to consider the fact that it may not be the most cost effective method! If something major goes wrong, the doggone good alarm system just may prove to be more expensive than the electronic type, when it comes to paying the veterinarian bills.

Speaking of electronics, we've had a running joke around our home for many years in regards to our dogs response to our door bell. The joke is that our dogs response time was as quick as the speed of sound, as the bell seems to be wired directly to their butts! We would occasionally ring the bell just to rouse them and make sure they were on their toes. But, as our dogs have aged suddenly they have retired their guard dog senses, and the door bell is apparently no longer wired to their butts!

Of course a burglar is not going to ring the doorbell, but it has served as a good test to see if our dogs were on or off duty. The recent general consensus is that they are officially off duty! Does this mean the loyalty of a dog being your guard sort of goes out the window when they don't at least inform you they have retired from the mundane duty? Woof!

The point here is that you may want to consider a more serious approach to home security in order to keep the unwanted guests out of your home, and off your property!

Quick Check Writing Tip

Forgery can easily occur when a thief commits fraud. In recent years you may have heard about check washing. Check washing occurs when a thief steals checks, which you have already completed, washes all the ink off your check, and then uses it to acquire what he or she desires.

Some of you have evolved from using many checks if any, but if not, here's a quick tip for added protection when writing checks. Be sure to use a secure type of ink such as gel, and especially be sure you do not use an erasable ink pen! You may also want to develop a color-coded system. In other words, pick several favorite ink colors, and make those your signature colors for all your check writing, and whenever possible to use for other important documents bearing your signature.

For example, you may want to choose four different ink colors and assign one for each season, like orange for fall, blue for winter, and so on. The reason for doing this is in case you are ever faced with identity theft or someone writing out checks which you did not authorize. You would be able to quickly identify the fact that you were not the one who filled out the check if it is not done with your color-coded system.

You may think that a color-coded system isn't necessary, and that you would be able to identify your own signature and handwriting. However, when it comes to burden of proof, you will need evidence to defend the truth. A color-coded system may therefore potentially serve as added security for you in the event you would need to prove who did, or did not complete a check or sign a specific document.

Keep in mind however, that you may not be able to utilize your color-coded system for some legal documents. Often those require the use of black or blue ink only. The other aspect of using a color-coded ink system is the fact that your checks will be a bit more exciting than someone elses with black or blue ink only!

Conflict-Free Diamonds

Imagine your looking for a luxurious diamond ring. While you are gazing at the beauty of a diamond do you realize the particular gem you may be considering may have been acquired due to unethical practices involving violence or human rights abuse? If you look specifically for a diamond that is a conflict-free diamond, then you will not need to worry about their origin.

One company, Brilliant Earth sells conflict-free diamond jewelry, which is guaranteed to be of an ethical origin, untainted with violence or human rights abuse. They also deal with utilizing recycled gold, which is a wise use of resources, and creates an eco-friendly ring. Canadian diamond jewelry is made with fair labor and eco-responsible gold and platinum, and will provide you with an ethical diamond, and is considered to be a fair trade diamond.

In a nutshell, if you don't want to contribute to unfair practices, violence or human abuse, such as terrorism, click here to understand more, and you can learn about blood diamond facts.

Thief Proof Your Purse

When you go to the grocery store and use a shopping cart, you will find the little seat belt to strap a child in. Until now, I never thought of using that strap for another purpose. One of my forum friends shared this terrific tip on how to protect your handbag or purse from a purse snatcher!

This is a great technique to slow down a potential purse thief, and possibly deter them from considering your purse as a target. If they attempted to grab your purse or handbag, they would quickly discover there is too much effort to do so. Here's the tip from my forum friend Debbie.

So many times I see women leaving their purses in their shopping carts, and when they walk off and leave it there to look at other things, they leave their purse there just by itself. I have found that using that little strap in the child seat of the cart is great for wrapping it through my purse strap and locking it up tight so it will not be so easily taken off with. That little strap can be pulled through the basket part and will easily lock up your purse.

Thank you Debbie for sharing that terrific tip for cancelling a crooks phishing trip! They won't have much luck phishing to grab your handbag!

Bullet Proof Luxury Car

Perhaps you are an individual that would actually need to consider a vehicle with bulletproofing. If so, I must say I don’t envy you! If you need a vehicle to potentially stop the bullets of a crook, one beautiful luxury car to consider is the Audi. Audi's car ranges provide all you need from an executive car; style, luxury, comfort and performance, or with the bulletproofing!

You can have the best of two worlds, a sleek Euro look combined with full armor! Now that sounds like a perfect solution for a private detective! Are you looking for new luxury cars? Bullet proof or not, the Audi is a great choice.

Safety Tips for Holiday Shopping

The holidays are fast approaching, which means there will be much preparation and shopping to do! Unfortunately what should be the most joyous time of the year is also when thieves go into full speed to grab what they can.

How prepared are you for safe shopping? Do you simply grab your wallet or handbag and drive to your shopping destination without a care or concern about potentially becoming a victim of a crime? Do you remain alert and in tune with your surroundings to heighten your awareness to potential thieves approaching you? Or, if you're like most you may think it can't happen to you, and that there's no need to prepare, but think again!

To learn some great holiday shopping safety tips, one of my blogging friends Susan has some important tips to share. She also speaks from experience as she has unfortunately been a victim of holiday thieves. Be sure to read her tips for safe holiday shopping. Her safety tips just might save you from losing your credit cards, identification, money, or most importantly your personal safety and life!

She Can Hack Your Email Account!

The article below is used with permission from a forum friend, "Button", and a link to her blog (was) listed here, but is no longer active. We have her to thank for this terrific tip to safeguard your information:

I have access to your email password right now. What will I find? Paypal passwords? Financial records? Do you send IDs and SS card copies? Are they still stored in your sent box?

What if you run a home business? Would I be able to access financial records, credit cards and other information?

What? Think I can't steal your email password?

Of course, I don't really have your password, but I could. Your neighbor could. Someone could break into your home while you are gone, take nothing and leave no trace, and steal all your passwords without you even knowing it. There are other ways too.

How safe is your email right now?

Right now, I have ID, SS number, passwords and links for work, Paypal information, client information... all on what I thought was a secure email.

What would a hacker find in your email?

First step, secure your password. Change it as often as you can. Keep your password in a safe place. Not your pocket book. In a safe. No safe? How about a folded paper inside your fridge? You'll remember, no one will suspect.

Next step, delete your emails. You know, I keep important emails in folders. That's probably the dumbest thing. It keeps me organized, but it also helps hackers identify exactly where the important information is!

Print out your emails or save them to disk. Make two copies. Put one copy in your safe, put the other in a safe place outside the home. A lock box at a bank, your parent's safe is okay. That way if you ever lose something or your house catches on fire, you know exactly where it is.

Delete all those emails that had important information in them. Don't forget the sent box, the folders and the deleted folder as well.

You can never be too safe on the Internet. I've had my own servers to my websites hacked in and used for sending spam because they were not secure. If I had a business and did business through my web domain email, that means my customers would be at risk. Uh oh, double the trouble. Things happen.

So... fess up. What's in your email?

For greater password protection for use anywhere on the Internet or for your email account remember to create passwords with greater security. Use at least 7 characters and your password should contain a combination of lower case, upper case, letters, and/or some special characters. This will provide much stronger security for your information.

A One Step Strategy Against Identity Theft

We live in an unpredictable world. Events occur regardless of what strategies we may take to prevent them, and we can become a victim of any event regardless of our denial that it could happen to us. For example, what is your strategy to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft? Your response might be, "Strategy, what do you mean by strategy?" Most likely you are taking needed precautions, right? Or, maybe not!

Here's one simple step to take to increase your protection against identity theft, and it's a step you can do right this second, if you haven't already! As I mentioned it's very simple, and will take very little effort! Simply reach for your wallet and remove your social security card, and store it in a safe, preferably hidden place, within your private residence. By removing your social security card from your wallet or handbag you just completed a simple step to increase your strategy against identity theft. That is, unless you have placed it someplace obvious in your home where a thief could find it!

Please also remember to keep other documents with your social security number stored safely. Those documents are things such as pay stubs, legal contracts and tax returns, to name a few. Are you wondering why you should not store your social security card inside your wallet? Here are some reasons why:
  1. The first obvious one is due to the fact that you may lose or have your wallet stolen. Sure, a robber can break into your home too, but if you're clever, a thief will have greater difficulty finding your social security number within your home than inside your wallet.

  2. If you carry your social security card inside your wallet, all the other information needed for a thief to steal your identity is there along with your social security number! That information is accessed from your drivers license or identity card, which has the following: Your name, photo, address and your birth date.

  3. Your social security card coupled with a credit or debit card is also a deadly financial mix!
In a nutshell, if you store your social security card inside your wallet or handbag, you just provided a thief with a quick one step opportunity to perform identity theft, but if it's stored somewhere else you just completed a one step strategy against identity theft!

Illegal Scams Prevalent on Auction Sites

Fair warning! Your "Buy it Now" Ebay auction is possibly going to be purchased by a crook wanting to commit a crime! Some sellers on auction sites such as Ebay are beginning to discover they are a target for an illegal scam. Best way to protect yourself as a seller is unfortunately by limiting your potential bidding market. If you are in the USA and you want to lessen your risk for the fraudulent offers then it's best to mark your seller options for only accepting bids and payment from US customers, and possibly Canada. Although there are many good buyers within the UK and other countries there has been an increase of inappropriate activity coming from numerous other countries.

If you are a seller on an auction site such as Ebay, (there was) a forum discussion which pointed out 10 red flags to watch out for. Although this specific forum discussion is from 2004 the information is certainly not out-dated as the problem is still very much alive on auction sites today.

The criminal activity is not limited to the Buy it Now type of auctions, but to all auctions. On auctions which do not offer the Buy it Now option, sellers are contacted by individuals who want them to close the listing early to accept an offer much higher than what the seller is listing the item for.

In the forum thread discussing the 10 red flags, there is a funny story where a crook wanted to purchase the sellers laptop for sale. I guess the seller figured two could play their game so the seller created a fake laptop from cardboard and shipped it to the address the buyer provided.

When encountering this sort of activity it is best to not respond to the prospects emails offering to purchase your item off the auction format. A better response is none at all and you should forward their email to the auction site with the persons user ID and let them deal with the individual. The auction site can then delete their registered user ID and block their IP address from registering under another ID.

If you are a seller online, sell smart and keep your eyes open for fraud. Never be so anxious to sell something that you fall prey to the illegal tactics that can plague an Internet site such as an auction website. Hopefully the next time you have a customer "Buy it Now" they are a legitimate customer to sell and ship to. Otherwise, watch out for phishy activity!

Fire to Fry the Phish

So you're cruising along on the Internet and you land on a page that is considered to be a high risk suspected phishing site. Problem is, how do you know? Thanks to modern technology there are more options available to identify such phishy business. Here's a quick tip for the day to locate one such tool!

If you are a security minded individual you may be surfing with Firefox, which offers a new extension for their browser. Appropriately named, "FirePhish Anti-Phishing Extension" you many want to check out the extension. Their program alerts you if you landed on a suspected phishing site. However, some find the program annoying because it adds another toolbar.

Although I surf with Firefox, I generally like to wait until the bugs are worked out of things before getting too excited about trying a new gizmo or software extension. If you check it out you may find that it is or isn't right for you, but at least it's another potential way to help fry the phish. Tarter sauce anyone?

Credit & Debit Card Misconception

If a person was a thief looking for a credit or debit card to use, whose card do you think they would be the most thrilled to find? Probably not one with your photo on it as that is an added measure of security for your card. Have you looked at the back of your card lately? How does your signature read? Hopefully your answer to that question is that it reads loud and clear, but a thief would just love to find a card with no signature on the reverse side.

There is a misconception that has become a growing trend. The misconception is that it is better security to NOT have your card signed with your signature at all! Now if you are like me you are shocked by that revelation, yet many believe it is better security. Some individuals who have bought into that misconception have "Use other ID" or something similar written where their signature should be. Although merchants are not supposed to accept a card without a signature, many of them do! A card is considered to be invalid if it is not signed by the card holder.

For those of you who believe writing "Use other ID." or whatever your version is, it does not provide a higher level of security. It actually allows a thief to sign your name in any form they desire. This practice also opens the door for the thief to take out fake ID bearing your name the same as it reads on your credit card, which allows them to write their signature for your name on both their fake ID, and on your credit card. Most likely it was thieves who came up with this concept to begin with.

If you are a merchant and are presented with a card that does not bear a signature on the back, you should inform that customer that the card must be signed before you are able to accept it. Instruct the customer to sign the card in your presence and require them to provide a current valid photo ID such as a valid drivers license, or passport. Do not accept a temporary form of indentification from anyone who presented you with an unsigned card. If the customer refuses to sign the card, do not complete the transaction. A merchant is liable for any transaction that is processed with a fraudulent credit or debit card, so act responsibly as a merchant.

If you do have your credit and debit cards signed as they should be, inspect the signature periodically to ensure your signature has not rubbed off. If so, sign your card with a permanent ink pen.

Lets all make life miserable for the thieves who would like to commit fraud. In the long run it saves us all money, so keep a valid signature on your cards.

Vishing is the Newest Phishing Scam

As if phishing scams aren't enough to deal with, a new twist has been added to the phishing dance. We need to remove the phish scales from our eyes to be aware of how crooks think, and try to keep a step ahead of them. Perhaps this information will assist you to do just that.

As you already know, phishing is the scam used when you receive an email probing for your private information such as passwords, account numbers, and other personal information. Generally in a phishing scam the email will contain a url to a spoof website that is a copycat website of one you normally do business with such as a bank. The thieves then hope you will fall for the copycat site and submit your password and other pertinent information so they can hack into your account.

The newest trend that has evolved from the phishing trip is referred to as "vishing". Most already know what it means to get taken on a phishing trip, but what is vishing? Vishing is a variation within the email to attempt to get your information, but not through the Internet. With a vishing scam the phishing email you receive instructs you to call a phone number. When the number is called an automated line requests you to submit private data such as your account number and password. In a vishing scam the spoof phone number called may pose as a bank or other entity that you normally do business with. To protect yourself against a vishing scam, a good rule of thumb is to never call the phone number provided within an email.

Taking extra precautions may sometimes seem to be an added hassle, but in the long run it may save you from becoming a victim to a vishing scam. As we're heading upstream we must each watch out for the phishing hook. But, now we must also keep our eyes open for the vishing lure. Please don't swallow their bait!