Thursday, July 26, 2007

ID Theft Enterepreneur's identity stolen

The founder of LifeLock, Todd Davis, was so confident that his company could stop identity theft that he published his social security number and told the Fort Worth Star Telegram that it couldn't be used, has become the victim of identity theft. Apparently someone used the social security number to obtain an internet loan and had the money deposited in a Fort Worth bank. This is further proof that everyone should be cautious when providing identification information.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Tips to Improve Your Credit Score

Broderick Perkins has published several valuable tips for improving your credit score. Read More

Web Networkers At Risk From Identity Theft

From The BBC

People who use internet networking sites are being warned that they could be at risk of identity theft.

Credit information group Equifax said members of sites such as MySpace, Bebo and Facebook may be putting too many details about themselves online.
It said fraudsters could use these details to steal someone's identity and apply for credit and benefits.

About 80,000 people in the UK were victims of identity theft last year, at a cost to the economy of £1.5bn. Read More

The Link Between Car Theft and Identity Theft

In this article, Attorney Randall S. Udelman describes the link between identity theft and auto theft and provides tips to prevent car thieves from stealing your identity. Read More

Ways to Save Money

Here are some creative ways to save money from Dawn C at Frugal For Life

Let's start a wave of information- What are 25 different ways you save money?Whether it be daily or once in your lifetime, either jot it down in the comments or post to your own blog and I will link to it here. (just let me know in some form) It is always good to take a step back and see what good you ARE doing and where you can do better.Here are my ways I have and continue to save money :
1. Change light bulbs to CFL bulbs to save money
2. Use Heat and Air Conditioning sparingly
3. Use the light of Day instead of lights in the house
4. Pay bills online or in person, instead of using stamps
5. Keep razorblades dry and clean so that they last longer
6. Write checks for over the amount instead of using an ATM with fees
7. Use plastic containers to store left over food for eating later
8. Turn off all lights when not in a room
9. Leave the car at home at least one day out of the week
10. Borrow books from the library instead of buying them
11. Use coupons and check grocery circulars to get the best deals
12. Cook meals at home, cutting back on eating out
13. Take lunch to work
14. Watch movies at home instead of in the theater
15. Wash clothes every 7-10 days
16. Wash clothes in cold water to save on heat
17. Every 6-12 months verify I am getting the best deal on utilities and insurance
18. Cut out all subscriptions to magazines unless I can get them free
19. Buy foods in bulk or when items are clearanced and save in freezer
20. Pick up money from the ground and save in a coin jar
21. Round up in check book and place excess in savings at end of the month
22. Making use of Employer’s 401k matching limit
23. Put raises or bonuses in savings or apply towards debt
24. Do research online for best value for money on medium to large priced items
25. Jump at the chance to take home food from work potlucks when asked

Since everyone saves money a little differently and we all can learn a thing or two from each other, check out other people's thoughts on ways THEY SAVE:
1-MBHunter spills the beans on his Twenty-Five ways to save money
2-Blue takes the path to savings in 25 ways and hasn't looked back
3-In Maggie's Madcap life, she still has 25 ways she saves money
4-Chuck pulls together his top 25 ways to save money
5-Deb's living the life with 25 ways she saves money
6-Elizabeth finds the true luxuries in life that are bonus' to her 25 ways she saves
7-Hammy from 'down under, lets loose his warrior spirit and finds 25 ways to save
8-Getting to Enough blogger shares their ways of saving and ways to improve
9-David tightens his belt and goes over the 25 ways he saves, until he finds a job
10-Ariane lists 25 neat ways she saves money and simplifies her day11- Tiredbuthappy takes a look at her 25 ways to save money
12-Meredith gathers her valuable ways to save money
13-Jane suprises herself and finds out she has 25 ways she saves money
14-Thrifty Mommy takes on the challenge to find her own 25 ways she saves money
15-Jennifer gets ahead by trying some of her 25 ways to save money
16-Jenn presses forward and jots down her frugal ways to save money
17- Angela bytes on the idea to jot down her 25 ways to save money
18- 25 Slightly Unconventional Ways to SAVE your Pennies comes from the east in a perspective from New Hampshire
19- The Queen of Carrots stretches her vegetable to comes up with 25 ways she saves money.
20-Susan has some Fruitful savings by listing 25 ways she saves
21- Lynette chronicles her 25 ways to save money....and catagorizes them as well.
22- Eve takes time from decluttering to jot down her list of 25 ways to save.
23- Busy Blogger got to work on 25 ways to save money as well
24- Sharon shows us her royal 25 habits for saving money
*25* - Matthew gets green with his 25 Realistic Ways to Spend Less and Save Money in College
26- Prince of Thrift posts his Frugal 25 Ways to Save Money
27- Kim goes through her Frugal Life to find her 25 Ways she Saves Money
28 - Bibliozona indexes her 26 ways to save money
29 - The NYC Insider gives us the bite on the 25 Money-Saving Travel Tips
30 - The Family CEO manages a gathering of 25 Things I Do to Save Money
31 - Michael seeks a better life by listing his 25 Ways to Save Money and live Better
32 - Golbguru takes money, matter and more musings to crank out the 25 Things We Do To Save Money
33 - Mrs Hoppes is saving resources and still finding 25 Ways to Save Money
34 - Tiffany not only saves money, but saves time with 20 Ways We Save Money

7 Ways to Save Money

Here are 7 ways to save up to $12,000 per year from MSN Money.

Wells Fargo Stops Offering 2/28 loans

Wells Fargo has quit offering 2/28 loans, one of their most popular subprime products. A 2/28 loan had a fixed interest rate for the first two years and an adjustable rate (which could be adjusted twice per year) for the remaining 28 years if the loan was not refinanced. These loans made up 65% of the subprime mortgage loans. Other companies such as Countrywide, Washington Mutual, First Franklin, and Option One Mortgage have also followed suit.

Use Your Email to Filter out Scams

Several times per week, my email contains "Nigerian Scam" offers, and emails related to other types of scams. An easy way to get rid of that email without reading it is to set a filter so that it is automatically deleted. Simply open your google email. Next to the search box is a link which says "Create a Filter". When you click on that link, you get a box which says "Choose Search Criteria". The first choice in that box says "From". Type the country codes for the country from which you do not want to receive email. Click on "Next Step" and check the box marked "Delete It". For a list of country codes follow this link.

Dateline to Catch and ID Thief

Dateline NBC rebroadcast its "To Catch An Id Thief" episode. If you mised it you can see the internet version here.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Turn Your Cell Phone Into A Blackberry

Who needs a fancy, expensive Blackberry when you can get email on your cell phone using Gmail and its text forwarding feature? Here's how to set it up:

Go to your "Google Settings" page and click on "Forwarding and Pop." Click on "Forward a copy of incoming mail to" and in the box where you input the email address add your ten digit cell phone number and the domain for your carrier.

Here is a list of the text messaging addresses for common US wireless providers:
Verizon: 10digitphonenumber@vtext.comAT&T: 10digitphonenumber@mobile.att.netSprint: 10digitphonenumber@messaging.sprintpcs.comT-Mobile: 10digitphonenumber@tmomail.netNextel: 10digitphonenumber@messaging.nextel.comCingular: 10digitphonenumber@mobile.mycingular.comVirgin Mobile: 10digitphonenumber@vmobl.comAlltel: OR message.alltel.comCellularOne: 10digitphonenumber@mobile.celloneusa.comOmnipoint: 10digitphonenumber@omnipointpcs.comQwest:

The Republic of Geektronica blog explains how to set up filters so that you can decide which emails to have sent to your phone.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Go Virtual and Save Thousands

The internet and modern communications had made it possible to work and live anywhere. You do not need to be tied down to a specific location. When I was practicing law, I was able to maintain my practice in Colorado from various locations including Kentucky, Texas, England, Germany and Mexico. Here is how I did it:

1. Find a Virtual Office Company

I use a Denver based company, The Intelligent Office. For a monthly fee, they provide live telephone answering, a mail box, and copy machine, fax and conference rooms for rent by the hour. They call it a la carte service and it means that you only pay for what you use. They have locations all over the United States. They provide a professional image. When clients call, their calls are answered live. The receptionist then forwards the calls to voicemail or to any location that you request. They will even schedule your appointments. By going virtual, we no longer needed a receptionist, cut our office expenses, sold our telephone system, and were able to replicate all of the features of a “brick and mortar” office for less than we paid for parking.

2. Leverage The Internet

Most things that were handled by administrative staff can now be done for little or no cost on the internet. Here are some examples:

a. Fax and Mail

I use for my business faxes. For a small fee, I can have my faxes sent directly to my email account. They do not need to be printed and I can automatically forward them to the correct people in my organization. When I was working from Europe and Mexico I used efax to have my mail forwarded to me. That way I could respond to it as if I was at home.

A new service Remote Control Mail scans all of your incoming envelopes and emails them to you. You let them know which pieces of mail you want to have discarded and the ones which need to be opened. They then open and scan the ones you request. This way, you never need to see the paper, and all of your incoming mail is stored electronically. This saves trips to the mail box, as well as enables you to monitor your mail from anywhere in the world.

b. Messages and Reminders

You can have all of your voicemails sent to one number. This way you only need to check one voicemail box instead of many. Google has just purchased Grand Central. It lets you listen as your voicemail is being left. If you want to speak to the person, you can jump in. Otherwise it goes to your voicemail.

Another service, Simulscribe, uses voice-recognition software to transcribe your messages and forward them to your email so you can check your messages and emails at the same time.

Many people are time-wasters. If you call them, even on a simple matter, you will spend at least an hour on the phone with them. By using pinger, you can return their call by leaving a voicemail. Your call goes direct to their voicemail so you can convey the necessary information without getting into a long, drawn-out, discussion.

Jott lets you send emails by telephone. You phone Jott, tell them who you want to message and dictate the message. Jott then transcribes the message and sends it as an email. I have found that their transcription is quite accurate, even for long messages.

Oh Don’t Forget, lets you send text messages by computer. You go to their website and input the phone number, message you want delivered, and the time that you want it sent. The site then delivers your message according to your instructions.

Finally Iping lets you schedule reminder messages. It then calls your phone to remind you of anything you choose from appointments, birthdays, or even medication reminders.

c. Calendaring

I use Google Callendar. It lets me input and retrieve my appointments from anywhere on the internet. It can also be configured to send my schedule to my cell phone or PDA.

d. Online Software

Open Source as Alternative is a service which compares commercial software products and offers open source (Free) alternatives. If you need software for a specific purpose, check it out before paying for commercial software. Many of their products are as easy to use as the commercial versions and offer similar or superior performance.

Thieves Use Google to Crack Safes

For the second time in a month, burglars have downloaded information from Google during the commission of their crimes to learn how to crack safes. On June 10, 2007 a pair of burglars in Colorado used to learn how to crack a safe at Bigg City, an indoor amusement center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The thieves stole $12,000 in cash and have not yet been caught. Apparently the pair had tried unsuccessfully for over an hour. They then used Google to look up information on safecracking, found what they needed and were able to crack the safe. Later in June 2007 a fired restaurant manager in Wilmington, Delaware was caught after using Google for tips during an attempted burglary.

A Google search for “how to crack a safe” yielded 4.5 million web pages. According to Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff, the information on the internet can assist terrorists. "They can train themselves over the Internet. They never have to necessarily go to the training camp or speak with anybody else and that diffusion of a combination of hatred and technical skills in things like bomb-making is a dangerous combination. According to the Times online, European regulators are considering whether or not to outlaw the publication of bomb making information on the internet. A recent Google search for “bomb making” produced over 700,000 websites.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Please Take Our Reader Survey

Please take my Blog Reader Project survey.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Big Three Credit Bureaus Oppose Credit Freeze

A recent USA Today article described the effectiveness of credit freezes for preventing identity theft. 37 states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws which permit a consumer to place a freeze on their credit report. Until it is lifted, the freeze can block access to the credit report and score by creditors as well as by the consumer themselves making it impossible for anyone to borrow money in the consumer's name. The Consumer Data Association, a tradegroup which represents the three major credit bureaus, has opposed freezes. They claim that freezes can hurt a consumer's ability to obtain emergency credit. However, the credit bureaus make millons of dollars annually by compiling and selling the consumer data, and freezes hurt that business. In 2006, Equifax earned $166.3 million dollars from the sale of consumer data. In 2006, Experian had $756 million in total sales. 21% of that revenue ($152.8 million) came from the sale of consumer data. Transunion is privately held so they do not have to release these figures. To learn how to place a freeze on your credit report and score, go to this website.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Buy Bump Key Proof Locks

Recently, there have been many articles and videos posted on the internet concerning “bump keys”. These are easy-to-make, readily available keys which can be used to defeat the vast majority of deadbolt locks used in the United States, Europe and Asia. Bump keys can be purchased online, or can be bought from your local hardware store or locksmith. With a little practice, anyone can use them to gain entry into your home or business. There are over 2,390,000 websites listed on Google which contain information on bump keying and 345 online videos teaching this technique. Even if you have not heard of it, the criminals have.

This technique is insidious, because it leaves no sign of forced entry. If a burglar uses it, it will be difficult for a homeowner or business owner to prove that a crime took place. An insurance company could make the difficult to refute argument that the crime was staged or that the homeowner or business owner was negligent for leaving their door open. Finally, an intruder could gain undetected access to the property many times because of the nature of this technique.

To protect yourself, you should replace your locks with “high-security” locks. These locks cannot be bumped, either because they do not use keys, or because they are designed to prevent it.

Medeco Locks manufacture bump proof high security locks. They have a video on their website demonstrating how their locks prevent this practice. You may also want to consider, electronic keyless, remote or biometric locks.

Expert Tips to Avoid Identity Theft has a useful article regarding the ways identity theft and computer security experts protect themselves from identity theft. “Catch Me If You Can” identity theft expert Frank Abagnale and Other Security Experts discuss their techniques for avoiding identity theft. Here is a summary of their recommendations and a few of my own:

Use a Credit Card Credit Card issuers do more to protect their customers from fraud. To protect your credit rating, pay the bill in full each month. Also, if you do use a debit card, have the merchant run it as a credit card so that you do not give up your Personal Identification Number.
Also, if you have the debit card transaction processed as a credit transaction, you may fall within some of the protections offered to credit card users.

Use a service which monitors all of your credit accounts and notifies you by e-mail whenever someone is trying to use your credit.

Shred your documents with a micro cut shredder which reduced the information to sawdust sized particles. Abagnale recommends even shredding the back pages of catalogues so that dumpster divers cannot access your retail accounts.

Opt out of creditors’ information sharing arrangements. You can do it by telephone or by signing up at

Set up your main banking accounts so that they do not permit transfers to other institutions. This way should a thief get your account information, they will be unable to transfer your money. Also, monitor your accounts frequently.

If you are going to shop online, do not use links created by search engines, type the address in your browser yourself. Some of the links are created by thieves to steal your credit card information.

Don’t write checks at stores. They are insecure and thieves can obtain account numbers, routing codes, addresses and other personal information simply by copying them. Also, there are techniques for altering checks by washing them with chemicals to change their amounts. They may also be scanned and altered.

Have a two-way firewall on your computer so that it blocks information from entering your computer and makes it harder for hackers to hijack your machine and send information out.
Don’t store your passwords on your computer.

Read more here

Monday, July 2, 2007

Reciprocal Review Carousel

Reciprocal Review Carousel idea is based on a few simple yet effective link-building and blogging techniques I have learned:
Build value of the blog by creating a helpful link from within content.
Provide value to community by doing a review on a blog you personally like.
Link to YOUR blog has exact anchor text you want and helps you boost Google Rankings.
No more than 30 outbound links from any page to prevent penalties for link farming.
Viral effect of the link – as more bloggers participate, link to your blog with YOUR anchor text, coming from quality content post will spread.
Here is How to participate:
Copy the entire text between the specified lines.
Create a post on your site and put at least one paragraph explaining how you joined the Reciprocal Review Carousel.
Paste the text you copied into your post.
Remove the Bottom Review and At the Top add your own review with a link to a site reviewed, at least 2 sentences about the site and a note – Reviewed by: Your Anchor Text. Link your anchor text to your site. Here is an example:
WordPress Web 2.0 Guide is a blog providing very useful information on building your very own Web 2.0 portal based on WordPress. Detailed instructions and howto guides make it possible for anyone to create a sparkling and engaging blog and join the community of like-minded individuals. Reviewed by: WordPress Web 2.0 Spot-er
Sites Reviewed:
Andrew Wee writes and podcasts about affiliate marketing at He’s an absolute pro at keeping up with tech trends (and how to make moolah from them) as well as getting noticed FAST in the marketing/blogging world . He’s one to watch and follow by example. Reviewed by: Michelle MacPhearson, who likes teaching knuckleheads about Social Marketing Online.
Peter Lenkefi writes about Web 2.0 marketing strategies at He has some killer videos over there you should check out along with a ton of good information on blog marketing and various “new media” promotion tactics. Reviewed by: Link Building Maniac, Jack Humphrey, for the Friday Traffic Report is an original creator of Viralink concept and a blog publishing information on Magic, Personal development and blog development. I have found a wealth of information on getting your blog noticed and generating the traffic for free. Reviewed by: WordPress Web 2.0 Guide
FitForFreedom is well-established blog where you can find multitude of information on achieving financial freedom. Blog is run by Marco Righter and his writing style greatly adds to the value of information he provides. Reviewed by: Alex
Secure Your PC For Internet blog run by Colin and provides essential information everyone accessing internet should know. Identity theft is becoming more and more of an issue and by visiting his blog you can minimize the risk of being compromised. Reviewed by: Alex
VI-SU blog is all about WordPress, AdSense, SEO and Internet Marketing. Although mostly written in German I have found that using Google translate is worth the effort for his posts. Reviewed by: Alex
Home With Heather is a great informative blog targeting WAHM (Work At Home Moms) and run by … you guessed it – Heather Masson. Information on what works for her in Internet Business written is very easy to read and comes from her personal experience. Reviewed by: Alex
A Copywriter’s Blues blog published by Alex Badalic, a veteran of advertising turned musician gives you great food for soul. I have found some nice old videos of Johnny Cash performance and he has a lot more of vintage videos to satisfy fans. Reviewed by: Alex
Did You Smell That blog authored by one of the veterans on network marketing filled with business ideas you can use. David Ledoux is well known and respected in online community and now he makes his experience available via blog posts. Reviewed by: Alex published by Kip Kay has a variety of fascinating video demonstrations including how to make an inexpensive flashlight which outperforms the expensive police models. Reviewed by: Pete

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Time Running Out For Credit Renting

Fair Isaac has announced that their new scoring model will stop considering "authorized user" accounts when determining a credit score. This is intended to stop the practice of credit renting where a person with bad credit pays one with good credit to name them as an "authorized user" on their credit cards. Under the old system, this could result in a quick 100-200 plus point increase in a credit score.

Identity Thieves Use Stolen SSN#'s to Create Fake Identities

Identity thieves have started using stolen social security numbers to create fictional persons. In what authorities have termed "synthetic identity theft", thieves have started creating fictional persons. They use these identities for a variety of purposes incuding, employment, obtaining credit and open bank accounts. This is a much harder type of theft to detect, because the frauds are not committed in the victim's name. Oftentimes they do not even appear on credit reports.

Identity Thieves Create Fake Identities

In a new twist to identity theft, thieves have started creating "synthetic" identities by stealing a person's social security number and "tying" it to a different name in order to create a new, fictional person. This is much harder to detect because the frauds are not committed in the victim's name so they do not readily appear on their credit reports. At the same time, the social security number may appear in many different databases, including those used for background checks. This type of theft is also much more difficult to recover from, because there is no way to Personal Finance News