theft http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/1101/all en-US 5 Reasons You Definitely Need Renters' Insurance http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-you-definitely-need-renters-insurance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-reasons-you-definitely-need-renters-insurance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_holding_umbrella_000079724871.jpg" alt="Man learning reasons he definitely needs renters&#039; insurance" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In the U.S., the national rent average rose 3.3% over a year ago rents &mdash; although some cities saw even greater annual increases. Since last year, renters saw their median rent climb 5% in Detroit, 8.5% in Kansas City, and a whopping 14.9% in San Francisco.</p> <p>Faced with ever-increasing rents, many Americans may opt to skip renters' insurance. But while there are many kinds of insurance that aren't worth it, renters' insurance simply isn't one of them. Here are five good reasons why you <em>totally</em> need renters' insurance.</p> <h2>1. Protection for Your Personal Property</h2> <p>A very common renters' misconception is the belief that their landlord's property insurance will cover damage or loss in case of fire or a break-in. But a survey from insurance company Nationwide revealed that 68% of renters ages 23 to 35 would <a href="http://www.nationwide.com/about-us/040814-renters-insurance-survey.jsp">spend an estimated $5,000</a> to replace their belongings if an unfortunate event did occur. Despite the potential big loss, a stunning 56% of the surveyed renters didn't have renters' insurance.</p> <p>A standard HO-4 insurance contract, commonly referred to as renters' insurance, provides the necessary protection for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-need-an-inventory-of-your-stuff-and-its-easier-than-you-think">your personal property</a> against covered perils, including fire, theft, vandalism, and even volcanic eruption. A best practice is to look for a policy that provides 100% replacement cost protection, which may be a bit more expensive &mdash; but ultimately worth every penny. After all, you want to replace your loss with the latest TV model, not one from two years ago.</p> <p>Another best practice: If you're an avid comic book collector, have a taste for expensive imported furniture, or are an early adopter of all things high-tech, look into floater insurance to get the necessary higher-limit coverage that you need for any specialty belongings.</p> <h2>2. Additional Coverage Away From Home</h2> <p>Most policies provide protection for your personal property up to 100 feet from your home, so your stuff is covered when moving or using your building or community's facilities, such as a shared pool or clubhouse.</p> <p>However, there are additional benefits for owning renters' insurance. Depending on your policy, your personal property may also be covered in case of theft <em>outside</em> the premises of your home. Let's imagine that you're using your laptop and expensive high-definition earphones at a coffee shop. You walk away to get a refill and somebody makes a run with your items. The &quot;off premise theft&quot; clause of your renters' insurance may enable you to make a claim for the stolen items.</p> <p>Consult your insurance agent and read the fine print of your policy to learn more about applicable coverages and limitations. For example, if you store many items in a trailer or storage facility for part of the year, you should ask about extended theft coverage.</p> <h2>3. Liability Protection</h2> <p>Life happens. Say one night one of your friends slips and falls down the stairs at your apartment, severely hurting her back. Or your dog bites your neighbor's son, requiring your neighbor to spend several hundred dollars in medical expenses. While you can't prevent every single event, you can buy coverage against potential lawsuits.</p> <p>If you are held legally liable by a court, then the liability portion of your renters' insurance would cover payouts for medical bills related to the accident, or replacement costs for the other party's property damaged at your home.</p> <p>Keep in mind that your dog's breed may affect your monthly premium or even your eligibility for coverage. Many insurance companies will deny coverage for pit bulls, Staffordshire terriers, doberman pinschers, rottweilers, and German shepherds. When shopping for renters' insurance, provide full disclosure of your dog's breed and history of biting or abuse (in the case of rescue dogs).</p> <h2>4. Affordable Price for Loss and Liability Protection</h2> <p>In the survey from Nationwide, three out of four of those without renters' insurance don't realize they can get monthly coverage for as little as the cost of a pair of movie tickets.</p> <p>According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the average renters' insurance policy costs between <a href="http://www.naic.org/documents/consumer_alert_renters_0812.htm">$15 and $30 month</a> for $30,000 to $50,000 of property coverage, with a deductible ranging from $500 to $1,000.</p> <p>However, lower prices are possible. In 2014, a writer for Forbes magazine was able to find a renters' insurance policy to cover $25,000 of his personal property for an <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/maggiemcgrath/2014/04/08/renting-an-apartment-this-mistake-could-cost-you-5000-or-more/">annual lump sum payment of $150</a> ($12.50 per month). Paying 0.60% to fully protect all of your stuff is as affordable as it gets.</p> <p>Check for additional potential savings for:</p> <ul> <li>Having certain security or fire-prevention systems;</li> <li>Being a non-smoker;</li> <li>Being part of a special interest groups (e.g. labor union, alumni association);</li> <li>Bundling with existing car insurance policy;</li> <li>Staying claim-free for a specific period of time; or</li> <li>Having special status (e.g. senior citizen, college student, or military).</li> </ul> <h2>5. Greater Choice of Rental Opportunities</h2> <p>Last but not least, making the investment in renters' insurance may expand your options when looking for apartments. More and more landlords are requiring renters' insurance from their tenants.</p> <p>The cost of homeowners' insurance is rising faster than that of renters' insurance. For example, in 2012, the average premiums for homeowners' insurance and renters' insurance increased by 5.6% and 0%, respectively, from the previous year.</p> <p>A landlord can only legally require tenants to carry renters' insurance when signing a new contract or renewing an existing lease. By shopping in advance for an adequate policy, you can have ammunition to prevent a rent increase &mdash; or be ready to find a new and better place!</p> <p><em>How are you protecting the personal property in your home?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-you-definitely-need-renters-insurance">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-have-renters-insurance">Why You Should Have Renters Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-decide-how-much-rent-you-can-really-afford">The Simple Way to Decide How Much Rent You Can Really Afford</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-apartment-hunt-on-craigslist-without-getting-scammed">6 Ways to Apartment Hunt on Craigslist Without Getting Scammed</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-rent-an-apartment-with-bad-credit">7 Ways to Rent An Apartment With Bad Credit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-11-best-websites-for-renting-your-extra-space">The 11 Best Websites for Renting Your Extra Space</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance Real Estate and Housing apartments liability property damage renters insurance renting theft Wed, 02 Dec 2015 18:07:53 +0000 Damian Davila 1617556 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Powerful Ways to Protect Your Money From Cyber Theft http://www.wisebread.com/6-powerful-ways-to-protect-your-money-from-cyber-theft <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-powerful-ways-to-protect-your-money-from-cyber-theft" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_stolen_identity_000023163541.jpg" alt="Man finding ways to protect his money from cyber theft" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Since 2013, cyber criminals have been pulling off what amounts to the largest bank heist in history &mdash; hitting at least 100 banks across the globe. During this two-year period, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/cyber-crime-you-re-the-mark">cyber criminals</a> released malicious software targeting bank employees that allowed them to infiltrate bank security systems. The undetected malware resulted in the theft of $1 billion stolen directly from banks.</p> <p>Cyber attackers like these and others are at large, and while there's nothing you can do to stop attacks on financial institutions, there are measures you can take to protect yourself and ensure the financial data you share over the Internet is kept safe. Don't compromise your financial transactions. Take these steps to keep cyber thieves at bay and keep your money safe.</p> <h2>1. Use a Separate Computer for Financial Transactions</h2> <p>One of the safest measures you can take to protect your finances is to use a designated computer when accessing investment accounts. Cyber criminals steal your information using programs that only you can give them access to &mdash; when you click on an infected download, advertisement, e-mail, photo, or attachment.</p> <p>Use a designated device like the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/b/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;node=2858603011&amp;pf_rd_i=google%20chromebook&amp;pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&amp;pf_rd_p=2079390022&amp;pf_rd_r=1B11JC1SF66HF33CWNEC&amp;pf_rd_s=desktop-auto-sparkle&amp;pf_rd_t=301&amp;qid=1432218150&amp;ref=spks_0_0_2079390022&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=CVEJDSJLFEM472K6">Google Chromebook</a> that only connects to Internet. They're inexpensive &mdash; around $200 &mdash; and are a good option for managing your finances online.</p> <h2>2. Install Malware Scanners</h2> <p>Install an Internet security program, like Kaspersky Internet Security Safe Money Technology, to clean up your machine and systematically scan and remove potential new threats before they corrupt your system.</p> <h2>3. Use Unique Usernames and Passwords</h2> <p>Create highly unique usernames and passwords, and change them periodically. Choose a password with six or more characters comprised of both upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. And as an added precaution, make a habit of changing your password every 60&ndash;90 days.</p> <h2>4. Monitor Transactions</h2> <p>It's a wise decision to sit down every so often and review your financial statements for errors or suspicious activity. Try to do so at least once a month, even if you have not initiated a transaction and don't expect activity on your account.</p> <h2>5. Get Security Alerts</h2> <p>Sign-up for security alerts &mdash; receive notifications when there's unusual activity for a wide variety of activities, including wire transfers, new-account setups, foreign transactions, and changes in bill payee information.</p> <h2>6. Use Two-Factor Authentication</h2> <p>In addition to your username and password, some major financial institutions offer two-factor authentication, which prompts you to enter an additional verification code when accessing your accounts. Choose this option whenever it's available.</p> <p><em>How do you protect your money from cyber theft?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/qiana-chavaia">Qiana Chavaia</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-powerful-ways-to-protect-your-money-from-cyber-theft">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-mugged">How To Get Mugged</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/quick-vista-hack-to-get-you-browsing-at-high-speed-again">Quick Vista Hack to Get You Browsing at High-Speed Again</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-the-nasty-secret-of-the-craigslist-free-section">Beware, The Nasty Secret Of The Craigslist Free Section</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-rid-of-and-avoid-late-fees">How to Get Rid of and Avoid Late Fees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/simple-ways-to-shop-around">Simple Ways to Shop Around</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Banking cyber criminals Internet online theft Mon, 01 Jun 2015 17:00:11 +0000 Qiana Chavaia 1437167 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Times You Should Speak Up at Work http://www.wisebread.com/10-times-you-should-speak-up-at-work <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-times-you-should-speak-up-at-work" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/unhappy_male_employee_000059722000.jpg" alt="Man at work deciding if he should speak up" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are times during anyone's career when it's preferable to stay quiet, and avoid confrontations or drama. And, there are other times when staying quiet may be the easy thing to do &mdash; but not the right thing. You may be put in a situation that requires you to speak up for the good of the company, yourself, or another employee. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-hacks-to-avoid-burnout-at-work">Your job</a> could be put in jeopardy by <em>not </em>speaking up. You could simply be doing yourself a disservice by not speaking your mind, and letting others know just how you feel. Here are 10 of those times. In these situations, speak up, and do it quickly.</p> <h2>1. Any Time You Are Being Harassed</h2> <p>Whether sexually, physically, racially, or emotionally, the workplace should be harassment-free. Most employers require you to take harassment training courses these days, and with good reason. Harassment is not only disruptive to the work environment, it can lead to deep psychological scarring, lawsuits, and in the worst cases, suicide. The moment you suspect anything has gone from playful banter to something much more serious, you must arrange a meeting with someone from your HR department. If you don't have one, then you need to talk to your supervisor, or someone else in a position of authority. The longer you leave it, the worse it will get.</p> <h2>2. When You Witness Harassment</h2> <p>Look out for fellow employees who may be too afraid to take action against harassment themselves. If you notice that someone is experiencing any kind of harassment that could be contributing to a hostile work environment, follow the procedures set in place by your HR department, or superiors. This is not just a &quot;nice&quot; thing to do &mdash; it's actually your responsibility to the people you work with. Again, this needs to be nipped in the bud quickly, before it gets out of hand and creates a very serious situation.</p> <h2>3. During Brainstorming Meetings</h2> <p>If you work in an environment that requires brainstorming sessions, be they about finances, advertising, engineering, or just the holiday party, you must not make the mistake of staying quiet in these meetings. Whether it's from shyness, self-doubt, or preferring to listen instead of contribute, your lack of involvement will only be viewed in a negative light. You will be seen as someone who doesn't contribute, has no ideas, or is apathetic to the task at hand. To combat this, speak up early; ideally within the first few minutes. This is a great way to make sure you break the silence, boost your confidence, and avoid searching your brain for an idea that is not already on the table.</p> <h2>4. When You Don't Understand the Assignment</h2> <p>There's a famous episode of Seinfeld (&quot;The Bottle Deposit&quot;) that involves George receiving a very important assignment from his boss, Mr. Wilhem. As George is getting briefed, Mr. Wilhelm enters the bathroom, and George stays outside. But when he eventually follows him in, Wilhelm has finishes the briefing and thinks George heard every word. The comedy comes from George trying to figure out what on earth Wilhelm wants, without asking him to repeat the instructions.</p> <p>Don't be like George. If you misunderstand any part of the brief, go back and ask questions; explicit questions. This is not the time to beat around the bush, and your boss will appreciate you making sure you are going in the right direction. Of course, there is one caveat; don't continue to ask the same questions over and over. Getting clarification is one thing, but if you have to be told something five times before it sinks in, you may not be in the right career.</p> <h2>5. If You're in Physical Pain</h2> <p>It doesn't matter if you do a desk job, or you're out doing hard labor. If you're in pain, you must speak up, and quickly. Experiencing pain on the job can severely impact your performance, and also make the cause of the pain even worse. If it's a migraine, take the day off if you have sick days. If you don't have sick days left, see if it is possible to work from home after the pain has eased a little. If you're experiencing physical pain, like a bad back or shoulder, explain it to your supervisor. It could be work-related, in which case the company may be obligated to help you eliminate the cause of the pain. These days, many office workers find it better to stand at their desks, and your employer could provide you with the appropriate desk and equipment.</p> <h2>6. When You Witness Something Illegal</h2> <p>Your company's code of conduct will likely cover compliance issues, and how to make sure you are not breaking any laws (even accidentally) while at work. If you should notice someone breaking these rules or laws, you need to speak up. Your employer should have a whistleblower policy to cover this, and you will be able to report the incident anonymously. If there is something systemic going on, like the Enron scandal, your quick action could save hundreds of jobs. If you believe you, yourself, may have inadvertently broken a law, you must also speak up. It is far better that it comes from you, than someone who notices your genuine mistake and reports it to your superiors.</p> <h2>7. As Soon as You Know Something is Wrong</h2> <p>Wrong? How? Well, it all depends on the kind of job you have. If you're in accounting and you notice a mistake in the numbers, don't wait until the financial report is at the printers. Say something when you first notice the mistake. If you're in advertising, don't stay quiet when something is clearly wrong with the ad (or bottle&hellip; as <a href="http://www.rawstory.com/2015/05/john-oliver-mocks-bud-lights-creepy-ad-campaign-if-a-nickel-could-urinate-it-would-taste-like-a-bud-light/">Bud Light found out recently</a> to much blowback). If you're in engineering, and see something that could cause major problems later on (such as <a href="http://www.mlive.com/auto/index.ssf/2015/05/approved_death_claims_related_19.html">GM's poorly-made ignition switch</a>), for goodness sake speak up. These mistakes can cost lives. Staying quiet because it's easier than causing a fuss is not good enough. Be brave, speak up, and do the right thing.</p> <h2>8. When Someone Takes Credit for Your Work</h2> <p>It happens a lot in businesses all over the world. You have a great idea, you say something to someone, and the next thing you know, they're claiming ownership. They get the pay raise, the new account, the promotion, the accolades, and you're left holding with a whole lot of bitterness. These &quot;leeches&quot; work everywhere, and are quite happy to take the credit and climb the ladder, be it in a Fortune 500 company, or the local bakery or autoshop.</p> <p><em>How </em>you speak up is important though. It can't come down to whining and complaining. Make sure you approach your supervisor, show them the work you had done beforehand (if you have it) and calmly discuss the fact that this was your idea. You may want to approach the person who stole the idea first; sometimes, they may be unaware of their mistake. In those rare cases, they may be quite happy to speak up on your behalf. Either way&hellip; take what's yours.</p> <h2>9. If Anything You Own Goes &quot;Missing&quot;</h2> <p>Make no mistake: there are sticky fingers in offices and businesses around the country. It can be as small as someone using the milk you brought in for their own cup of tea. Or, it can be more expensive items, including money, electronics, clothing, or even collectibles. When you start noticing that your things are going missing, report it immediately to HR or your superiors. It's important to at least get them alerted to the problem. It could be an internal person, someone from the cleaning staff, or anyone else trusted to walk around your business or office. HR can even install security cameras if it is serious enough.</p> <h2>10. When Rumors and Gossip Are Running Riot</h2> <p>You can't avoid water cooler chats and idle gossip in businesses. It happens in kitchens, bathrooms, conference rooms, and anywhere else people congregate to chat. However, when this gossip goes from a little harmless griping, to something much more toxic, you need to speak up. You can either put a stop to the chat instantly when you hear it (i.e. &quot;No, she didn't say that, and was never even in that meeting&quot;) or you can take your concerns to your superiors so that they can address the issues. Gossip can be very destructive, and needs to be stopped.</p> <p><em>When has speaking up at work made you most proud?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-times-you-should-speak-up-at-work">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-tips-for-better-workplace-body-language">7 Tips for Better Workplace Body Language</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-bad-habits-that-are-ruining-your-career">6 Bad Habits That Are Ruining Your Career</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-unmistakeable-signs-youre-slacking-at-work">5 Unmistakeable Signs You&#039;re Slacking at Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-youre-sabotaging-your-next-promotion">5 Ways You&#039;re Sabotaging Your Next Promotion</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ace-your-next-performance-review-with-these-7-tricks">Ace Your Next Performance Review With These 7 Tricks</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building harassment Office speaking up theft work Mon, 18 May 2015 17:00:11 +0000 Paul Michael 1421691 at http://www.wisebread.com The 8 Weirdest Cases of Credit Card Theft http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-weirdest-cases-of-credit-card-theft <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-8-weirdest-cases-of-credit-card-theft" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/credit-card-theft-479259989-small.jpg" alt="credit card thief" title="credit card thief" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When someone robs your home, they're invading not just your property, but your privacy as well. No fun. But when someone steals and uses your credit cards, you at least get to spy on the perpetrator by reading on your credit card statement what he or she tried to buy with your good name. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-card-fraud-and-how-to-avoid-it?ref=seealso">How to Deal With Credit Card Fraud</a>)</p> <p>If you think your identity has been stolen and new accounts have been opened in your name, you won't have much time for idle reading, since you'll have to file a police report and jump through a lot more hoops to clear your name.</p> <p>But if it's a simple matter of a stolen card or card number, you probably don't have much to worry about. Since <a href="https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0093-credit-card-loss-protection">federal law limits consumer liability</a> for credit card theft losses to $50 &mdash; and most card companies won't even hold you responsible for that &mdash; once you report the crime to your card company, you can afford to sit back and enjoy this peek into the life of a crook. You may not end up developing a relationship with your scammer and learning life lessons the way things worked out in the movie <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CCLPIAM/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00CCLPIAM&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=XOB56AQKCY4HGHBN">Identity Thief</a>, but you might at least have a laugh.</p> <p>Especially if your scammer's purchases are anything life these real-life examples of the weirdest cases of credit card theft.</p> <h2>1. Must Have Been a Really Nice Litter Box</h2> <p>Martin Bowling, who had been a well known success in the search marketing field, was <a href="http://www2.webmasterradio.fm/martin-bowling-sentenced-to-three-years-for-computer-fraud.html">convicted of stealing a subscriber list from a former employer, Woodcraft Magazine</a>, and using the information to charge more than $4,000 worth of goods, including a home beer brewing kit and a self-cleaning cat litter box. In Bowling's defense, most cat owners have had moments when they would do almost anything to avoid having to scoop the litter box.</p> <h2>2. Unusual Wallet</h2> <p>For Pompano Beach, Fla., resident Ann Hernandez, it's not what she allegedly bought &mdash; power tools &mdash; but where she allegedly stashed the illicit credit cards and driver's license that was weird. I'm not going to say where, but police probably had to get her to squat and cough to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/19/ann-hernandez-hid-stolen-identity-in-vagina_n_863899.html">reveal the evidence</a>.</p> <h2>3. I Just Wanna Be Me</h2> <p>Graduate student Li Ming tried to commit credit card fraud by impersonating&hellip; himself. Confused? What happened was, Li (who is from China, where last names come first), ran up tons of charges on his cards. Instead of paying up, Li faked his own death, got an obituary printed in the paper, and then later quietly tried to use a copy of his birth certificate to apply for a new driver's license. He figured that because his surname is one of the most common in China, no one would notice. Unfortunately for him, the DMV did indeed notice, and Li was busted.</p> <h2>4. Weekend at Eunice's</h2> <p>In England, an <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2543471/Widow-Afghanistan-war-hero-posed-91-year-old-churchgoer-steal-14-000-pay-clothes-flights-credit-card-bills.html">Afghan war widow received a bank statement</a> addressed to the former owner of her home. A little sleuthing told Nicola Marlton-Thomas that the accountholder, Eunice Lees, had died two years earlier, leaving no heirs. Marlton-Thomas cleaned out the woman's accounts and applied for credit cards in her name, buying business supplies, camping gear, and clothes before security monitors realized that these were not typical purchases for a 91-year-old woman.</p> <h2>5. The $9.84 Scam</h2> <p>Earlier this year, hundreds of consumers began complaining about <a href="http://www.jsonline.com/watchdog/watchdogreports/credit-card-scam-alert-mysterious-984-charges-appearing-on-accounts-b99193957z1-242753731.html">mysterious charges appearing on their bills</a>, always for $9.84. It was unclear who might be doing this or whether the victims had a common link, but one thing is apparent: Thieves are banking on the fact that most of us won't <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-your-credit-card-statement-is-keeping-you-in-debt?ref=inarticle">check our statements</a> carefully enough to notice a random charge under $10.</p> <h2>6. Straight to the Top</h2> <p>The case of Abraham Abdallah is bizarre in its brazenness. The busboy picked up Forbes' list of richest Americans and went right to the top, gathering the luminaries' social security numbers, birthdates, home addresses, and even credit card numbers with a combination of Internet research and social engineering. Abdallah then attempted to use the credit card numbers of none other than Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, and Warren Buffett to purchase expensive goods, and may have even bought not one but two brownstones in Brooklyn, <a href="http://nypost.com/2001/03/21/cyberthiefs-empire-spans-globe-cops/">according to the New York Post</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/keep-your-credit-card-safe-while-shopping-online?ref=seealso">Online Shopping Safety Tips</a>)</p> <h2>7. Spielberg Part Deux</h2> <p>Abdallah wasn't the only con artist to try and victimize Steven Spielberg. James Rinaldo Jackson managed to <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/id/5763781/ns/technology_and_science-security/t/id-thief-stars-tells-all/#.U-Qa2PldWHM">tap into the director's American Express account from prison</a>, he says just to snoop on his idol's high-roller purchases. But Jackson pilfered other people's credit accounts to pay for pizzas, jewelry, and Nike shoes, which he used to pay off other inmates for standing guard duty while he dialed for dollars. He also sent a letter to then Hollywood director (later Yahoo! CEO) Terry Semel, containing account numbers and other personal data for dozens of Hollywood personalities, as part of an unsuccessful movie pitch. When he didn't get a picture deal, Jackson reportedly went ahead and used some of the listed figures' credit card numbers. Jackson brazenly stole the identities of more than 25 chief executives, using the cards and cash advances to buy all manner of luxury items.</p> <h2>8. Beyond the Pale</h2> <p>In one of the more egregious cases of identity theft I've heard of lately, it seems that the bodies and possessions strewn on the site of the<a href="http://mashable.com/2014/07/21/scammers-mh17-victims/"> Malaysia Airlines 17 crash have been plundered for credit cards</a> and other identifying documents, which are possibly being used for identity theft. Scam Facebook profiles have been opened in victims' names, and one journalist said that every bag he saw at the crash site appeared to have been opened and rummaged through.</p> <p><em>Heard of any crazy credit card or identity theft scams lately? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-weirdest-cases-of-credit-card-theft">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-seven-reasons-why-i-use-my-credit-card-for-everything">Top Seven Reasons Why I Use My Credit Card for Everything</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-to-do-immediately-after-a-credit-card-breach">Here&#039;s What to Do Immediately After a Credit Card Breach</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-rewards-credit-cards-really-work">How Cash Rewards Credit Cards Really Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-smartphone-apps-that-manage-and-maximize-your-credit-card-rewards">3 Smartphone Apps That Manage and Maximize Your Credit Card Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-people-with-good-credit-never-do">8 Things People With Good Credit Never Do</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards credit card theft credit cards theft Mon, 29 Sep 2014 09:00:06 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1221852 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Cars That Thieves Don't Touch (and 5 Simple Anti-Theft Tricks) http://www.wisebread.com/5-cars-that-thieves-dont-touch-and-5-simple-anti-theft-tricks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-cars-that-thieves-dont-touch-and-5-simple-anti-theft-tricks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/car-157407030.jpg" alt="car theft" title="car theft" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most of us won&#39;t ever know the heartache and misery of having our car stolen. <a href="http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2012/crime-in-the-u.s.-2012/property-crime/motor-vehicle-theft">Despite the fact that thieves steal a car every 43.7 seconds in America</a>, you have to be pretty unlucky to walk to the street or parking lot only to see an empty space where your car once was. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-we-learned-when-our-car-was-stolen">What We Learned When Our Car Was Stolen</a>)</p> <p>But is it all just luck? As it turns out, thieves play the odds and favor some cars way more that others. So it&#39;s in your best interest to choose a car that fits your needs and also makes car thieves look the other way. One of the best ways is to avoid luxury cars (which won&#39;t be an issue for most of us). The penalties for stealing cars are the same, whether you choose a clapped out old banger or a top of the line sports car. So why risk going to jail for something that will make you a few hundred bucks, when you could earn many thousands? But that&#39;s not the only factor.</p> <p>The <a href="http://www.iihs.org/iihs">HLDI (Highway Loss Data Institute)</a> recently released its list of <a href="http://www.iihs.org/iihs/news/desktopnews/ford-f-250-has-highest-theft-rate-of-any-2010-12-vehicle-cadillac-escalade-drops-to-6th-on-list-after-years-on-top">the top five cars thieves avoid</a>. The data comes from claims filed over the past year, parts taken from vehicles, or personal property stolen from within the car. Of course, we should all make sure we don&#39;t leave valuables in plain sight, that&#39;s just painting a target on your car. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/disguise-your-stuff-to-prevent-car-break-ins">How to Prevent Car Break-ins</a>)</p> <p>So, in reverse order, here are the five cars you should consider if you&#39;d like the odds to favor you and not the car thieves.</p> <h2>5. Toyota Matrix</h2> <p>(Starting price: $19,275)</p> <p>Theft rate: 0.4 claims per thousand insured vehicles</p> <p>The biggest reason this car (and most of the cars in this list) is not attractive to thieves is that it spends a lot of its time in a garage. The Matrix also suffers from styling issues and poor sales (<a href="http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/toyota-matrix-discontinued-for-2014/">the model will be discontinued in 2014</a>). If the paying public doesn&#39;t want it, thieves don&#39;t want it either. After all, they&#39;re looking to make quick cash selling it or chopping it up for parts; a basic case of supply and demand. However, the car is cheap, and if you like the styling, it&#39;s well worth a look. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-should-you-spend-on-a-new-car">How Much Should You Spend on a New Car?</a>)</p> <h2>4. Acura RDX</h2> <p>(Starting price: $34,520)</p> <p>Theft rate: 0.39 claims per thousand insured vehicles</p> <p>At almost double the price of the Matrix, you&#39;d think this one would be much more attractive to thieves. But once again, it&#39;s a crossover favored by suburban moms and spends the majority of its time in a garage. And if you&#39;re going to steal an Acura, why waste your time on a mom car when you can rip off a sportier version with a higher price tag?</p> <h2>3. Audi A4</h2> <p>(Starting price: $32,500)</p> <p>Theft rate: 0.38 claims per thousand insured vehicles</p> <p>I was surprised to see this car in this list. It seems far more likely to be one of the top five most stolen cars. It&#39;s got a high starting price, it looks great, it&#39;s fast, and there are a lot of them on the road. But the Audi A4 does come with some sophisticated anti-theft devices, and it&#39;s also regularly garaged.</p> <h2>2. Volkswagen Tiguan</h2> <p>(Starting price: $31,425)</p> <p>Theft rate: 0.37 claims per thousand insured vehicles</p> <p>Not to sound like a broken record, but the reason this car is at the number two spot is the familiar combination of style and location. The Tiguan is very popular with suburban moms and is not a car the thieves particularly care for. However, don&#39;t let that deter you. It&#39;s a dependable, good-looking crossover with a decent starting price. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-simple-tips-to-keep-your-car-running-longer">Simple Tips to Keep Your Car Running Longer</a>)</p> <h2>1. Dodge Journey</h2> <p>(Starting price: $19,195)</p> <p>Theft rate: 0.36 claims per thousand insured vehicles</p> <p>This is it. The least stolen car in America. I have to admit, I wasn&#39;t surprised to see it in the list at all. The 2013 model is boxy and dated (the 2104 is much better). It&#39;s the cheapest car on the list, and it&#39;s very cheap for a crossover. Power and performance specs are nothing special. I think that helps explain why thieves pass this one by. It probably isn&#39;t hard to steal though, but as it&#39;s likely to be housed in a garage, it&#39;s not easy to get to.</p> <p>The expanded top 10 list also included:</p> <p><strong>Toyota Sienna</strong></p> <p>(Starting price: $26,585)</p> <p>Theft rate:0.5 claims per thousand insured vehicles</p> <p><strong>Jeep Compass</strong></p> <p>(Starting price: $18,495)</p> <p>Theft rate: 0.5 claims per thousand insured vehicles</p> <p><strong>Lexus HS 250</strong></p> <p>(Discontinued)</p> <p>Theft rate: 0.4 claims per thousand insured vehicles</p> <p><strong>Honda CR-V</strong></p> <p>(Starting price: $22,795)</p> <p>Theft rate: 0.4 claims per thousand insured vehicles</p> <p><strong>Hyundai Tucson</strong></p> <p>(Starting price: $20,595)</p> <p>Theft rate: 0.4 claims per thousand insured vehicles</p> <h2>5 Simple Ways to Deter Car Thieves</h2> <p>So, if you don&#39;t see your car on the list, or even worse, you car is <a href="http://www.bankrate.com/financing/insurance/americas-most-stolen-vehicles/">one of the most stolen models</a> each year (the <a href="http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-hy-most-commonly-stolen-cars-in-2012-20130819,0,591830.photogallery?index=la-the-most-commonly-stolen-vehicles-in-2012-2-010">Honda Accord</a> is up there every year), what can you do about it?</p> <p>Take a <a href="http://www.progressive.com/vehicle-resources/vehicle-theft-prevention/">layered approach</a>, and start with these basics.</p> <h3>1. Park in Busy, Well Lit Areas</h3> <p>If you park your car in a dimly lit side street with very few people around, you&#39;re just asking for trouble. If you were a thief, would you take on a car in plain view of the public, or the one no one can see? Exactly.</p> <h3>2: Put Valuables Out of Sight</h3> <p>Nothing happens by chance when it comes to car theft. Thieves are actively looking for reasons to grab your car&hellip;or whatever is inside your car. If you leave an expensive GPS system mounted on the windshield, or leave a purse, iPhone or laptop on the passenger seat, you&#39;re taunting them to rob you. And they&#39;ll be more than happy to take you up on your invitation.</p> <h3>3. Use the Emergency Brake</h3> <p>A sophisticated operation may use tow trucks to grab cars. You&#39;re making their lives so much easier by not using your emergency brake. Also, if you&#39;re parked on the street, turn the wheels towards the curb. You could also use wheel locks, gear locks and other theft deterrents. They&#39;re easy enough to get past, with time, but any obstacle you put in their way will make them choose a different car.</p> <h3>4. Don&#39;t Hide a Spare Set of Keys</h3> <p>You&#39;ve seen the trick in movies. The crook (or hero) drops the sun visor and the keys fall into his or her lap. This is not a movie cliche; people do it, and it&#39;s dumb. Some will opt for the magnetic key box placed under the car. This is better, but still not a good idea. Thieves will look for a spare set before they smash and grab.</p> <h3>5. Lock Your Doors (Seriously)</h3> <p>Opportunist thieves will walk along a row of cars parked in the street, checking door handles one by one. Sure enough, they&#39;ll hear the satisfying sound of the door opening. It doesn&#39;t take much to hotwire a car, and your lax security has led to a very preventable theft.</p> <p><em>Do you have a surefire way to stop thieves in their tracks? Write your suggestions in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-cars-that-thieves-dont-touch-and-5-simple-anti-theft-tricks">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-your-car-stolen">How to get your car stolen</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-used-car-salesman-reveals-dirty-tricks-and-how-to-beat-them">A Used Car Salesman Reveals Dirty Tricks (and How to Beat Them)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-your-new-tires-really-6-year-old-ticking-time-bombs">Are your new tires really 6-year old ticking time-bombs?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/would-you-drive-one-of-the-10-smallest-cars-ever-made">Would You Drive One of the 10 Smallest Cars Ever Made?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/skills-that-can-save-you-money-part-1-parallel-parking">Skills That Can Save You Money Part 1: Parallel Parking</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation auto theft Cars theft Fri, 06 Dec 2013 11:24:06 +0000 Paul Michael 1098647 at http://www.wisebread.com Vacation Safe: 11 Tips for Hotel Safety http://www.wisebread.com/vacation-safe-11-tips-for-hotel-safety <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/vacation-safe-11-tips-for-hotel-safety" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/6192158335_b8df98f254_z.jpg" alt="hotel room" title="hotel room" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="168" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It seems like nearly everyone is on the road for a short trip or extended vacation this summer. If staying in a hotel will be part of your summer travel plans, it might be a good time to brush on some security basics. Business and leisure travelers can often become victims to theft and assault by intruders, other guests, and even unscrupulous hotel staff. Whether your stay is in a high-end, mid-range, or decidedly down-scale establishment, keep yourself and your family safe by following a few simple guidelines. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-budget-hotels">The Best Credit Cards for Budget Hotels</a>)</p> <h3>1. Use Reviews</h3> <p>Though they don&rsquo;t offer the complete security picture, online hotel reviews from real customers are a great place to start. Look for previous guests&rsquo; comments about security, front desk coverage, staff availability, noise levels, etc.</p> <h3>2. Remove Your Room&rsquo;s Keycard From Its Envelope</h3> <p>That little sleeve for your hotel room keycard typically has the room number written on it. Combined with the hotel logo on the keycard, it doesn&rsquo;t take much for a lost or stolen card to be opening the right door for the wrong person. Memorize your room number (or enter it in your cell phone if you&rsquo;re forgetful) and toss the envelope.</p> <h3>3. Get the Lay of the Land</h3> <p>We all see those little emergency exit maps on the inside of our hotel room doors, but few of us really study them. Take a moment to get a lay of the land of the hotel, your floor, and the nearest exit in case of fire or other emergency. Make a quick primary and secondary exit strategy for you and your family and choose a landmark outside as the collective rendezvous point once everyone&rsquo;s safely out of the building. Remember, emergencies can happen anywhere at any time.</p> <h3>4. Check the Smoke Detector Batteries</h3> <p>Call me cynical, but I don&rsquo;t assume that hotel cleaning staff or maintenance workers are detailed enough to check the battery in each smoke detector in every room. Do a quick check to make sure the battery status light is on and that there&rsquo;s a functional battery in each detector.</p> <h3>5. Make Sure the Windows Are Locked</h3> <p>Maybe I stay in particularly sub-par establishments (highly likely), but modern hotels may be the flimsiest and most quickly built structures on the planet short of carnival tents. As a result of fast and low-cost construction, windows seldom close or lock properly, and when I&rsquo;m on the ground floor, this lack of basic security worries me. Check to make sure the windows lock and lock them when you leave or turn in for the night.</p> <h3>6. Use Caution With Unsecured Wi-Fi Services</h3> <p>Use common sense when working online via the hotel&rsquo;s unsecured Wi-Fi connection. Avoid any financial transactions or work that displays personal information like social security numbers, passwords, account balances, or secured business data.</p> <h3>7. Use the Hotel Safe</h3> <p>Even if you leave the diamonds at home, most of us are traveling with a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-advice-for-the-gadget-addicted">small fortune in mobile electronics</a>. Use the hotel safe to store your valuables when you leave the room. Oh, and an off-topic word to the wise &mdash; if you don&rsquo;t use the safe, check your receipt for a &ldquo;safe fee&rdquo; anyway. Many establishments try to slip this charge into the room total each day without a word to their guests.</p> <h3>8. Leave the Light (and TV) On</h3> <p>Sometimes the best defense is a good offense. Though not the greenest solution, it never hurts to leave a light and the TV on in your room when you go out. Establishing the appearance of an occupied room puts a bit of doubt in the mind of a would-be criminal. It&rsquo;s Personal Security 101, and it works.</p> <h3>9. Go Public</h3> <p>If an unknown or unexpected person arrives at your door, ask them to meet you in the lobby or call you from the front desk &mdash; even if that person is in hotel uniform. It never hurts to err on the side of safety when someone unknown is asking you to open the door for any reason.</p> <h3>10. Don&rsquo;t Be Obvious</h3> <p>I&rsquo;ll be the first to admit that I might be hyper-cautious. But when I know I&rsquo;ll be away from my hotel room all day, I really try to make it look (to whoever might be watching) like I&rsquo;m simply stepping out for a quick cup of coffee. It&rsquo;s never a good idea to spread out the maps and ask the receptionist the most efficient way to make the 150 mile trip to Timbuktu. Simply put, a bit of discretion about your daily schedule makes you a less-likely target.</p> <h3>11. Check Your Bill</h3> <p>A high-end resort in the Midwest was scandalized earlier this year when it uncovered an employee theft ring. Hotel clerks were stealing credit and debit card data from guests and using the information to make purchases once the guests had checked out. Closely <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/check-your-statements">review your credit card statements</a> after a hotel stay, paying special attention to unauthorized charges that begin on or immediately after your checkout date.</p> <p>In our era of discount options for everything, hotel security is often a casualty of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-getting-fleeced-at-hotels">low-price lodging</a>. Being an active guest and an active observer of your surroundings can help you avoid situations where your personal safety is at risk.</p> <p><em>What tips do you have for hotel security? What methods have you used to keep you and your family safe while on the road?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/vacation-safe-11-tips-for-hotel-safety">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-resources">40 Most Useful Travel Websites That Can Save You a Fortune</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-hotel-hacks-from-professional-travelers">25 Hotel Hacks From Professional Travelers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-book-an-amazing-cheap-vacation-package">How to Book an Amazing Cheap Vacation Package</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-ssn-can-now-be-accurately-guessed-using-date-and-place-of-birth">Your SSN Can Now Be Accurately Guessed Using Date and Place of Birth</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-negotiate-a-cheaper-hotel-room">The Easy Way to Negotiate a Cheaper Hotel Room</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Travel hotels safety theft Fri, 20 Jul 2012 10:24:18 +0000 Kentin Waits 942675 at http://www.wisebread.com Why You Should Have Renters Insurance http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-have-renters-insurance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-you-should-have-renters-insurance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/renters_insurance2.jpg" alt="House after a flood" title="House after a flood" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="139" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I've been a renter my entire adult life and have been fortunate not to have any reason to make a claim on my <a href="http://www.littlehouseinthevalley.com/the-unexpected">renters insurance</a>. So why do I still carry it? Because accidents do happen, unfortunately. Though I've been lucky in the past, this doesn't dissuade me from wanting to make sure I'm covered in case of a mishap in the future. I've heard too many stories about renters who happened to be the victims of natural disasters or crimes and found out after the fact that their landlords' insurance didn't cover their personal property. And that was if their landlords actually <em>had</em> insurance.</p> <p>While I haven't experienced any crime, disaster, or accident serious enough to warrant using my insurance, I am glad to have it for several reasons. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-you-should-and-shouldnt-rent">When You Should and Shouldn't Rent</a>)</p> <h3>In the event that your landlord doesn't carry any</h3> <p>Now it might be the law in some states that a homeowner must carry insurance, but that doesn't mean that every homeowner does.</p> <p>Take my last rental for instance. I was renting a run down house in a very middle class neighborhood. My landlord owned a few rental properties and was somewhat lazy. Not only did he not repair his properties, allowing them to fall into a state of decrepitude, it turned out he didn't even bother to pay his homeowners insurance bill. I only happened upon this information through another one of his tenants who had suffered property loss through an electrical fire. Had that tenant had renters insurance, most of his personal property would have been replaced without the headache of a legal scuffle with the landlord. At that moment, I was ever so glad I had renters insurance.</p> <h3>In case of a natural disaster</h3> <p>Every state in the U.S. is prone to some sort of natural catastrophe, whether it's hurricanes, tornadoes or earthquakes. I just happen to live in Southern California, land of the rumbling ground. I haven't experienced an earthquake large enough to damage property since 1994, yet there's a good chance another will occur in my lifetime. Few insurance companies offer earthquake insurance these days, but my carrier offers it with a high deductible. Even with the large deductible it's worth it since I'll never know when &quot;the big one&quot; might hit.</p> <h3>Because it can cover accidents that happen within your home</h3> <p>Have you ever had a guest fall down your staircase, trip over your cat, or burn themselves on your stove? Your landlord's homeowners insurance will cover accidents that happen around the external perimeter of your rental property, but it may or may not cover accidents that happen within the interior of the property. Having renters insurance with a personal liability rider will cover these types of accidents, leaving you on good terms with your accident-prone friends.</p> <h3>The cost of renters insurance is minimal</h3> <p>Prices are based on the stated value of your personal belongings. For instance, the lower the replacement cost of your personal belongings, the less the monthly payment. When I first purchased my renters insurance policy years ago, my monthly payment was under $20 a month. As I've accumulated valuable <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-used-furniture">furniture</a> and appliances over the years, I've bumped up my coverage but am still paying less than $500 for the year, and that's with earthquake coverage.</p> <p>The wise saying &quot;it's better to be safe than sorry&quot; most definitely applies when it comes to renters insurance.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/little-house">Little House</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-have-renters-insurance">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-you-definitely-need-renters-insurance">5 Reasons You Definitely Need Renters&#039; Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-decide-how-much-rent-you-can-really-afford">The Simple Way to Decide How Much Rent You Can Really Afford</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-become-a-landlord-instead-of-selling-your-home">Should You Become a Landlord Instead of Selling Your Home?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/uglify-your-stuff-to-keep-it-safe">Uglify Your Stuff To Keep It Safe</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-tips-for-getting-your-security-deposit-back">20 Tips for Getting Your Security Deposit Back</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance Real Estate and Housing natural disaster renters insurance renting theft Wed, 22 Jun 2011 09:48:24 +0000 Little House 587058 at http://www.wisebread.com Surprising Items That Criminal Recyclers Are After http://www.wisebread.com/surprising-items-that-criminal-recyclers-are-after <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/surprising-items-that-criminal-recyclers-are-after" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bleachers.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Tough economic times can breed innovation. For some, innovation comes in the form of novel sources of work. For others, it comes in the form of novel theft. The booming industry of criminal recycling is an example of the latter. Hardcore and unethical recyclers strip homes, boats, cars, and constructions sites of every conceivable item of value. The carcasses they leave behind are a testament to their creativity and desperation.</p> <p>For the sake of awareness and prevention, let&rsquo;s take a look at some of the more unique items that are on the shopping lists of criminal recyclers and resellers.</p> <h2>Catalytic Converters</h2> <p>Since 1975, every vehicle produced in the US has a catalytic converter as part of its exhaust system. This device minimizes air pollution by funneling hot exhaust into a converter that partially neutralizes toxic gases through a complex chemical reaction. Rhodium is the primary precious metal inside the converter that allows the chemical reaction to take place. The price of Rhodium has varied widely the past few years &mdash; from a high of $10,000 per ounce in 2008 to about $2,300 today. Converters are either sold for scrap metal or as replacement parts in other vehicles.</p> <p>Trucks and SUVs are particularly attractive to thieves because they are set higher off the ground and provide easier access to the goodies. Help prevent the theft of your converter by spot-welding it to the exhaust system (rather than just bolting it), or securing it with welded bars attached to the frame of your vehicle.</p> <h2>Military Headstones</h2> <p>It takes a particularly cold heart to disturb a graveyard, but metal grave markers are next on our list. Older military headstone plates are made of bronze and are sold for scrap. Remote and urban cemeteries that don&rsquo;t have regular patrols are especially susceptible to this new breed of grave robbers.</p> <h2>Boat Propellers</h2> <p>Bronze is corrosion-resistant and extremely rigid &mdash; perfect for boat propellers and just as attractive to thieves as military grave markers. Propellers are sold off by the pound as scrap.</p> <h2>Bleachers</h2> <p>Say goodbye to those classic memories of kissing under the bleachers. The aluminum that most modern bleachers are made from is dense and high-quality &mdash; a perfect product for criminal recyclers with a little patience and time. Camden, New Jersey, learned this the hard way in 2010: <a href="http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Bleachers-Stolen-From-Camden-Football-Field-103655459.html">Thieves disassembled a set of 12-foot long bleachers</a> at a local football stadium in a single night.</p> <h2>Solar Panels</h2> <p>With a booming interest in green energy and more portable solar technology, the market is expanding for cheap solar panels and thieves are there to fill the orders. Panels are stolen right off rooftops at night or while homeowners are away. The goods are sold on Craigslist or eBay at cut rates.</p> <p>Methods of thwarting solar panel theft are just in their infancy. Some homeowners are installing surveillance equipment, painting the frames of the panels with a bright, easily identifiable color, or installing the panels with custom screwheads that are more difficult to remove.</p> <p>We can&rsquo;t completely protect items that aren&rsquo;t bolted down, locked up, or under 24-hour surveillance. Recycling centers are working with law enforcement to disrupt the stream of stolen recyclables, but it&rsquo;s nearly impossible to know the source and legality of all the goods that come in. As criminal recyclers get bolder and bolder, perhaps local awareness will increase and some of the more preventable losses will subside. Meanwhile, hold on to your wallet and nail down anything that moves.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/surprising-items-that-criminal-recyclers-are-after">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-wonderful-uses-for-witch-hazel">15 Wonderful Uses for Witch Hazel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-baking-soda-took-my-bathroom-from-yuck-to-yes">How Baking Soda Took My Bathroom from “Yuck” to Yes!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-money-recycling">Make Money Recycling: Get Paid to Recycle by 15 Websites</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-rid-of-your-old-electronics">How to Get Rid of Your Old Electronics</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-ways-to-use-old-newspaper">17 Ways to Use Old Newspaper</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Green Living criminal recycling theft Mon, 11 Apr 2011 10:36:13 +0000 Kentin Waits 521052 at http://www.wisebread.com Uglify Your Stuff To Keep It Safe http://www.wisebread.com/uglify-your-stuff-to-keep-it-safe <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/uglify-your-stuff-to-keep-it-safe" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/29059472_84f604872d.jpg" alt="damaged ipod" title="damaged ipod" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I don't know about you, but I buy things based on how they look as well as what they do. I was once told that you don't buy a power drill because it looks cool, you buy it because you need holes. Well, yes and no. As a designer and creative, the aesthetic also plays an important role. But what attracts you to objects also attracts thieves. And so, has the time come to &quot;uglify your stuff?&quot;</p> <p><a href="http://www.make-digital.com/make/vol11/?pg=76">I first read about this last year</a>, when I saw that a number of people who owned very expensive bikes were doing their level best to make them look like $20 Craigslist rejects. It's a simple enough idea. You take your wonderful $1000 bike, and proceed to repaint it, badly, apply stickers and scratches and scuff marks, bits of old tape, dirt, grime, in fact anything you can think of, and hey presto - one expensive bike that performs like a dream but looks like a nightmare.</p> <p><img width="400" height="300" alt="" src="http://blog.makezine.com/uglybike_flashback.jpg" /></p> <p>Your average thief wouldn't look twice at this &quot;old&quot; thing, even though it's probably the most expensive bike in the rack. Of course, you have the downside of riding a bike that looks less than cool, but if you're a real biking fanatic that won't bother you. Just like the drill is a means to an end, so is a great bike.</p> <p>It seems as though this has spread to all sorts of other personal possessions now, and it runs the gamut.</p> <p>In May this year, <a href="http://jimmieprodgers.com/2009/05/my-ugly-camera/">blogger Jimmie Rodgers wrote about his ugly camera,</a> and described the lengths he had gone to to make this expensive digital camera look like a cruddy old film camera.</p> <p><img width="400" height="300" alt="" src="http://blog.makezine.com/UglyCamera.jpg" /></p> <p>Here's what Jimmie had to say after the uglification process:</p> <p><em>&quot;I was able to take over 5,000 pictures with it in Brazil. I was able to follow around a number of well known graffiti artists, and you can </em><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaypee4227/tags/grafitti/"><em>check out some of the pics here</em></a><em>. I was also able to go into some </em><a href="http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=day%20of%20the%20dead&amp;w=68714011%40N00"><em>fairly dangerous areas</em></a><em>, and walk out with my camera. I was even mugged a second time, and they left my camera alone, and took my $20 cell phone instead.&quot;</em></p> <p>It's a trend that's picking up steam. You can buy faceplates for expensive car CD players that turn them into old cassette players. Who'd want to steal that? And it can even go as far as uglifying your sandwich! Yes, people in offices everywhere who are tired of seeing their lunch go walkies are buying zip-loc bags that have mold stains inside the plastic, making a fresh snack look like a breeding ground for bacteria.</p> <p><img width="400" height="266" alt="" src="http://www.walyou.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/anti-theft-sandwich-bags.jpg" /></p> <p>Nick Cannon has a list of <a href="http://www.nickcannon.com/2009/12/30/16-anti-theft-gadgets-and-designs-to-deter-thieves/">16 anti-theft ideas</a> that puts the green sandwich bags on top of the pile. And by the way, those things are real. You can buy them at <a href="http://www.perpetualkid.com/anti-theft-lunch-bags.aspx">Perpetual Kid in packs of 25 for $9.99.</a> Yes, they're more pricey than your average zip-loc baggie, but how much does it cost to replace your lunch?</p> <p>So, would you uglify your stuff to make it more theft-proof? Is it worth it? Aside from affecting the resale value of some things, do you value the aesthetic quality as much as the functional aspect? I, for one, wouldn't make my iPod video look like crap. And as for my MacBook Pro...stay away from that or suffer a fate worse than death!</p> <p>But if that doesn't bother you, then what would you uglify, and why? Over to you.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/uglify-your-stuff-to-keep-it-safe">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-your-car-stolen">How to get your car stolen</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-increase-the-chance-of-someone-returning-your-lost-wallet">How to Increase the Chance of Someone Returning Your Lost Wallet</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/five-quick-and-simple-scams-that-could-happen-to-you-today">Five quick and simple scams that could happen to you today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/five-calls-you-can-make-now-to-save-hundreds-to-thousands-of-dollars">Five calls you can make now to save hundreds to thousands of dollars</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/times-are-tough-would-you-consider-a-diy-funeral">Times Are Tough; Would You Consider A DIY Funeral?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs DIY General Tips Insurance disfigure Steal stolen theft ugly unattractive Thu, 31 Dec 2009 17:37:37 +0000 Paul Michael 4370 at http://www.wisebread.com Five quick and simple scams that could happen to you today http://www.wisebread.com/five-quick-and-simple-scams-that-could-happen-to-you-today <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/five-quick-and-simple-scams-that-could-happen-to-you-today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2046188221_dbd7640faf.jpg" alt="Scam" title="Scam" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Any long-time readers of Wise Bread know that I like to keep up-to-date on hustles, scams and con jobs. They change all the time, and new ones are invented daily. A US version of the UK show The Real Hustle has been trying out some very simple but effective cons on the American public, and they&rsquo;re getting away with some serious money. Watch, learn and stay alert. One of these could catch you out the next time you leave the office or home, even if it&rsquo;s just to grab some quick cash from an ATM or a small bite to eat. </p> <p><strong>The ATM Hustle</strong><br /> Here, two ways to grab your cash at an ATM are outlined, and in both methods you never even know you&rsquo;ve been the victim of a scam. The second version is more prevalent and has many variations as it requires no technology. Street teams work areas in busy cities, I was victim to a version of the second one about ten years ago in London. When using an ATM, keep your wits about you and if anything looks or feels suspicious, walk away. </p> <p><embed width="425" height="350" src="http://www.trutv.com/video/embplayer/truPlayer.swf?PID=C_EaYT7pkYZfjPgmhgnE57YCh1go1VlX&amp;feedPID=NkdkaqXR_sXW88L24x_8SJ9lQiETubcc" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent"></embed></p> <p> <strong>The Laptop Switch-Off</strong><br /> Right now I&rsquo;m on the hunt for a used laptop for my wife, so this one really caught my attention. If you&rsquo;re a fan of Craigslist, you may be tempted by a used laptop at a great price. In this case, a $1000 Macbook for $500. But listen to that voice in your head, and realize that deals too good to be true usually are. When you buy a laptop, keep your eye on the machine at all times, test it thoroughly and most important, don&rsquo;t hand over your cash until the actual laptop is in your possession. </p> <p><embed width="425" height="350" src="http://www.trutv.com/video/embplayer/truPlayer.swf?PID=dyGkeqs6THGTxkqGCmcLNLsMm19mUzSf&amp;feedPID=NkdkaqXR_sXW88L24x_8SJ9lQiETubcc" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent"></embed></p> <p> <strong>The Caf&eacute; Manager Scam</strong><br /> This one is all about questioning authority, or in this case, never questioning it. In most cases, we believe what we are seeing and hearing because we have no reason not to. When a guy in a suit approaches you in a caf&eacute; or restaurant and says he is the manager, why wouldn&rsquo;t you believe him? Big mistake. It just goes to show how far confidence can get you (hence, con man). At a restaurant table, there should be no reason at all to hand your credit card before the start of a meal, even if you&rsquo;re ordering drinks. And if you want to open a tab with a card, do it at the bar.&nbsp; </p> <p><embed width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src="http://www.trutv.com/video/embplayer/truPlayer.swf?PID=Jy0t_nuDRWTy3DNakCWiJZGJhjlTvr8X&amp;feedPID=NkdkaqXR_sXW88L24x_8SJ9lQiETubcc"></embed></p> <p> <strong>The Bag Snatch</strong><br /> So simple and yet so effective. All it takes is a small distraction, just a conversation or someone asking the time, and your valuables are gone. Never put your bag down in a busy place, or if you do, keep one foot on the handle or strap. </p> <p><embed width="425" height="350" src="http://www.trutv.com/video/embplayer/truPlayer.swf?PID=DB___c28VZ3ynJgcHSthwfi9PWsBgfxM&amp;feedPID=NkdkaqXR_sXW88L24x_8SJ9lQiETubcc" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent"></embed></p> <p> <strong>The Distract &amp; Conquer Con</strong><br /> Here, the con artists take advantage of the Good Samaritan syndrome. BY posing as tourists and asking for help, they&rsquo;re able to get close to people and walk away with some very nice valuables. Again, keep these items on you, there&rsquo;s no need to have a cell-phone laying out on the table when jacket pocket will do the job just as well. </p> <p><embed width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src="http://www.trutv.com/video/embplayer/truPlayer.swf?PID=hBld8p5_222dCFFr3t8NCMzinTi_bbhY&amp;feedPID=NkdkaqXR_sXW88L24x_8SJ9lQiETubcc"></embed> </p> <p> You can find many more examples of hustles and con jobs at <a href="http://www.trutv.com/shows/real_hustle/">TruTV.com, under The Real Hustle</a>. Stay safe and aware folks.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/five-quick-and-simple-scams-that-could-happen-to-you-today">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-vicious-home-rental-scam-dont-get-conned">The vicious Home Rental Scam – don’t get conned.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sensible-ways-to-raise-cash-for-a-wedding">Sensible Ways to Raise Cash for a Wedding</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-mystery-shopping-scam-that-could-cost-you-a-fortune">The mystery shopping scam that could cost you a fortune.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/uglify-your-stuff-to-keep-it-safe">Uglify Your Stuff To Keep It Safe</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/47-simple-ways-to-waste-money">47 Simple Ways To Waste Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Consumer Affairs General Tips ATM cash con hustle police robbery scam theft Thu, 07 May 2009 19:50:17 +0000 Paul Michael 3138 at http://www.wisebread.com How To Protect Yourself From Gasoline Thieves http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-yourself-from-gasoline-thieves-4 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-protect-yourself-from-gasoline-thieves-4" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/gas_cap.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Attention drivers! Fasten your seat belts and prepare yourselves for a wild and crazy journey back to the madness of the seventies. But you’d better remember to hold onto your hats. Or in this case, your gas caps.</p> <p>In a situation redolent of oil embargoes and gas rationing, fuel prices in this country continue their dizzying ascent into the stratosphere. As a consequence, there has been an alarming increase not only the rising number of gasoline thefts, but in the extreme lengths that some of perps are willing to go to in order to steal the precious petrol.</p> <p>Most of the thefts still involve people driving off before they pay, with convenience stores that sell gas along busy interstate highways being the primary targets. In fact, with these stores providing as much as 80% of the gas to consumers, they are, on average, expected to lose as much as $1000 of gas this year, according to the National Association of Convenience Stores.</p> <p>What really has law enforcement officials concerned, however, is that in addition to drive-off thefts, some bandits are targeting consumers, using more brazen methods that move well beyond the standard siphon to include pumps, saws, drills, and even guns. Apparently SUVs and large pickup trucks are the car of choice because they have larger gas tanks (and are thus more profitable) and provide easier access to them due to their higher suspensions.</p> <p>Difficult as it may be to imagine, what the thieves end up doing is literally drilling a hole in the tank and letting the gas drain out, which they will later sell on the black market. Now besides the obvious hazard of a having gas leaking out the bottom of you car, the cost of replacing your tank can run as high as $500.</p> <p>As gas creeps up well beyond the $4.00 benchmark, the situation might very well get worse. So with this in mind, here are a few things that you can do to protect yourself, or at the very least, minimize your risk:</p> <p>1. If possible, park in a secure, locked garage, especially when parking overnight</p> <p>2. Position your car under a streetlight to increase visibility.</p> <p>3. Park in high traffic areas where your car is in plain sight.</p> <p>4. Don’t park in public lots for a long period of time and, if need be, move your car frequently.</p> <p>5. Keep the access door to your gas cap in full view whenever possible. Don’t let it be obscured by a wall or shrub.</p> <p>6. Buy a locking gas cap. If you don’t already have one, a ten dollar investment can save you a lot of headache.</p> <p>7. Report any suspicious behavior, especially around your car.</p> <p>In the end, like most things in life, the responsibility lies with you to practice a little common sense and make it harder for thieves to get to your gas. This, in turn, will save you time, hassles, and of course, money. </p> <p>One other solution would be to simply get a smaller car. Besides the obvious savings and convenience, they have smaller gas tanks making them less attractive to thieves. Small cars are also much lower to the ground, so accessing the gas tank is that much more difficult, if not impossible.</p> <p>Unless, of course, they’ve brought along a jack.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fred-lee">Fred Lee</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-yourself-from-gasoline-thieves-4">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-will-you-do-when-gas-drops-below-150-a-gallon">What will you do when gas drops below $1.50 a gallon?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-gasoline-pump-y2k-problem">The Gasoline Pump &quot;Y2K&quot; Problem</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-is-gasoline-so-cheap-a-cost-comparison-of-40-common-household-liquids">Why is Gasoline So Cheap? A Cost Comparison of 40 Common Household Liquids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-your-car-stolen">How to get your car stolen</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/gas-is-high-enough">Gas Is High Enough….</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Cars and Transportation Consumer Affairs gasoline theft Sat, 14 Jun 2008 11:51:12 +0000 Fred Lee 2174 at http://www.wisebread.com How to get your car stolen http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-your-car-stolen <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-get-your-car-stolen" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2133907173_9458675e99.jpg" alt="auto theft" title="auto theft" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoNormal">Every 26.4 seconds, a vehicle is stolen in the U.S.* If you want yours to be one of those vehicles, just follow these simple guidelines and the thief will be driving away in your nice set of wheels before you can say “follow that car.”</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>1: Own one of the top 10 most stolen cars in America</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">A report put out by the NICB in 2007 lists the following cars as the most stolen in the nation (the list varies slightly by state, go to the <a href="https://www.nicb.org/cps/rde/xchg/nicb/hs.xsl/index.htm">NICB </a> to find your specific area). No surprise to learn that the ever reliable Honda tops the list, again. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">1: 1995 Honda Civic</p> <p class="MsoNormal">2: 1991 Honda Accord</p> <p class="MsoNormal">3: 1989 Toyota Camry</p> <p class="MsoNormal">4: 1997 Ford F-150 Series Pickup</p> <p class="MsoNormal">5: 2005 Dodge Ram Pickup</p> <p class="MsoNormal">6: 1994 Chevy C/K 1500 Pickup</p> <p class="MsoNormal">7: 1994 Nissan Sentra</p> <p class="MsoNormal">8: 1994 Dodge Caravan</p> <p class="MsoNormal">9: 1994 Saturn SL</p> <p class="MsoNormal">10: 1990 Acura Integra</p> <p class="MsoNormal">If you’re wondering where all the fancy cars are (Mercedes, Hummer, Porsche etc), just put yourself in the position of a thief. These cars are top-dollar items and are much more difficult to “get rid of.” The good old ’95 Civic is everywhere. It hardly draws attention to itself.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>2: Live in California</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">6 of the top 10 cities for car theft are in California (if you live in Modesto and own a ’95 Civic, the odds are really running high that you&#39;ll be the victim of a car thief). Here’s how they rank: </p> <blockquote><p><strong>Rank** <span> </span>Metropolitan Statistical Area <span> </span><span> </span>Vehicles stolen<span> </span></strong><br /> 1<span> </span>Modesto, CA<span> </span><span> </span><span> </span>7,071<span> </span><span> </span><br /> 2<span> </span>Las Vegas/Paradise, NV<span> </span><span> </span><span> </span>22,465<span> </span><span> </span><br /> 3 <span> </span>Stockton, CA<span> </span><span> </span><span> </span>7,586 <span> </span><span> </span><br /> 4<span> </span>Phoenix/Mesa/Scottsdale, AZ<span> </span><span> </span><span> </span>41,000 <span> </span><span> </span><br /> 5 <span> </span>Visalia/Porterville, CA<span> </span><span> </span><span> </span>4,257 <span> </span><span> </span><br /> 6 <span> </span>Seattle/Tacoma/Bellevue, WA<span> </span><span> </span>33,494<span> </span><span> </span><br /> 7 <span> </span>Sacramento/Arden-Arcade/Roseville, CA<span> </span>20,268<span> </span><span> </span><br /> 8 <span> </span>San Diego/Carlsbad/San Marcos, CA<span> </span><span> </span>28,845<span> </span><span> </span><br /> 9 <span> </span>Fresno, CA <span> </span><span> </span>8,478<span> </span><span> </span><br /> 10<span> </span>Yakima, WA<span> </span><span> </span>2,212 <span> </span><span> </span></p> </blockquote> <p><em>**Ranked by the rate of vehicle thefts reported per 100,000 people based on the 2000 Census. *Source: National Insurance Crime Bureau</em></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>3: Leave the keys in the ignition while you run an errand.</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Any cop will tell you that car theft is usually a crime of opportunity. A good friend of mine recently fell victim to this. Her husband started up the car to let it warm up, went inside to grab the kids for school, came back outside literally 1 minute later and the car was gone. The same can happen if you pop to the ATM or check the mail. Leave the keys in the car and you’re just asking for trouble.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>4: Park at the back of the lot at malls, sporting arenas or even at work. </strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">I know a few people who park way at the back of the lot. They have their reasons, too: it’s good to walk further (fair enough), there’s always a spot at the back, and the favorite is that they’re much less likely to get a dent or ding. That’s all well and good, but thieves like it nice and quiet, away from the crowds. And your shiny, ding-free car just looks even more tempting now. The back of the lot is a car thief’s equivalent of being a kid in a candy store.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>5: Don’t get LoJack</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Most cars these days come with a factory-installed alarm. It may deter a few criminals but most professional car thieves know how to disable the alarm…and they’re exceptionally quick at it, too. </p> <p class="MsoNormal"><a href="http://lojack.com/">LoJack</a> however is a different story. It’s linked directly to law enforcement, it can be installed in any number of places on your car, and over 90% of cars stolen with a LoJack system are recovered within 24 hours. If your car isn’t recovered in that time, you get a complete refund of the MSRP of the car. You also get insurance discounts. That’s basically a good way of knowing that these things really do deter thieves. If you’ve got LoJack, car thieves will almost always move on; it’s just not worth the risk. </p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>6: Don’t keep your car in the garage</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Sadly, I’m one of these people. We ran out of storage room in the house, we don’t have a basement and so we spilled over into the garage. I park outside now and thus run a much higher risk of having my car stolen. Not only is it more easily accessible, it’s also advertising itself to thieves. “Out of sight, out of mind” is true in this case. If your car is nicely hidden in a locked garage, only a very determined thief (who knows what’s in there) will attempt to break into the garage and then the car.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>7: Keep a spare set of keys in the car</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">How about in some place the thieves would look first, like above the sun visor, in the center console or, better still, in the glove box. That way, if the thief does get into your car, he won’t have to hotwire the car but can instead make an even quicker getaway.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>8: Leave your car unlocked </strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">It works every time. Car thieves will often just work their way down a row of cars parked on the street, trying the handle of each one and moving on. And if yours is unlocked, bingo, they’re in. The Arizona police informed me that if you leave your car unlocked, you have a 1 in 30 chance of having it stolen. Those are pretty good odds, right? Combine this with number 6 and you’ve handed your car to the thief on a silver platter. </p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>9: Leave your valuables clearly visible in the car</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Give the would-be thief a reason to break the window or jimmy the lock. Once they’re in and rummaging around for jewelry, money, personal information and credit cards, they may just decide to take the whole car. One crime leads to another.</p> <p><strong>10: Park in a dimly-lit area</strong></p> <p>Street lighting; overhead lighting in parking lots; the glow from late night stores; all of these areas illuminate the car thief while at work. Better to park in an area with no lighting, so that the criminal can get to work under cover of darkness.</p> <p>These are my top ten tips for improving your chances of getting your car stolen. Don’t follow them and hopefully you won’t be calling to report a stolen car any time soon.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-your-car-stolen">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-your-new-tires-really-6-year-old-ticking-time-bombs">Are your new tires really 6-year old ticking time-bombs?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-cars-that-thieves-dont-touch-and-5-simple-anti-theft-tricks">5 Cars That Thieves Don&#039;t Touch (and 5 Simple Anti-Theft Tricks)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/uglify-your-stuff-to-keep-it-safe">Uglify Your Stuff To Keep It Safe</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/used-toyotas-are-being-discounted-would-you-buy-one">Used Toyotas Are Being Discounted. Would You Buy One?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-yourself-from-gasoline-thieves-4">How To Protect Yourself From Gasoline Thieves</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation Consumer Affairs auto Cars stolen theft thief Wed, 12 Mar 2008 04:32:21 +0000 Paul Michael 1909 at http://www.wisebread.com Lock bumping - your home isn't safe http://www.wisebread.com/lock-bumping-your-home-isnt-safe <p><img width="276" height="207" title="broken lock" alt="broken lock" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/561966_security.jpg" /></p> <p>I heard about lock bumping last month from a friend. I figured it was all just a bunch of hokum. But I checked it out. It's not a myth, it's not an urban legend. Crooks can make a generic key to open any lock, including yours. And it's easy. As the video below will show, even a child can do it.</p> <p><strong>So, what is Lock Bumping?</strong><br /> It's a technique that's been around for many years (some say it dates back as early as the 1950s) and it's a simple way to 'pick' a pin tumbler lock using a bump key. And more scary is this...one bump key will work for ANY lock.</p> <p><strong>Ok, then what's a bump key?</strong><br /> I don't want to go into explicit detail here, for obvious reasons, but a bump key is basically a blank key that has been filed down to the lowest level in each groove. It will slide into any pin tumbler lock and enable the would-be thief to gain entry to your home in seconds.</p> <p><strong>How does it work?</strong><br /> Again, without delving too deep into specifics, the technique involves sliding the 'bump key' into the lock and giving it a thump. The tumblers inside will align, you give the key a turn, and quicker than you can say 'where's my DVD player?' the thieves are in to your home and ripping you off. The video below is quite scary, and shows you just how easy it really is.</p> <object width="425" height="350"> <param value="http://www.youtube.com/v/hr23tpWX8lM" name="movie" /> <param value="transparent" name="wmode" /><embed width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src="http://www.youtube.com/v/hr23tpWX8lM"></embed></object><p><strong>Scared? You should be. So, how do you protect yourself?</strong><br /> Fortunately, Lock Bumping does have counter measures. And believe it or not, more expensive locks are actually more vulnerable and open to attack. Because they are more precisely machined, expensive locks will turn more easily after a bump. The same goes for locks made of hardened steel, as they will sustain less damage during a bump. A cheaper lock may not withstand the force of the knock and refuse to turn.</p> <p><strong>Bump-Proof Locks</strong><br /> They do exist. They range in price from just under $100 to, well, several hundred dollars. But when you consider the financial costs of replacing your valuables or your identity, that's not so bad really.</p> <p>The most affordable bump-proof lock I discovered was at a site called wholesalelocks.com. Their Bump-roof BiLock looks like it's tough as nails. That's one serious looking lock. Other bump-proof locks that I've found, although not quite as affordable, include <a href="http://www.medeco.com/">Medeco</a> , <a href="http://www.videx.com/">Videx Cyberlocks</a> , <a href="http://www.mul-t-lockusa.com/newsdetails.asp?newsid=51">Mul-T-Lock</a> , and <a href="http://www.gokeyless.com/products.htm">GoKeyless</a> . I'm sure there are a few other secure locks on the market too. Just pop down to your local DIY store and ask if they have any Bump-Proof locks. If they don't (which is likely) they can certainly point you in the direction of someone who does sell them.</p> <p><strong>Is there a quick-fix solution?</strong><br /> There are a few. Your local locksmith is well aware of Lock Bumping, and can come out to your home and make your current locks more secure. If you don't fancy the call out charge, you could always fit an additional Mortise or Deadbolt lock to each exterior door. Unlike cylinder locks, these are far more difficult to bypass (although nothing is impossible), and two locks on a door is also a good deterrent.</p> <p><strong>Finally, if it's so prevalent, why aren't lock manufacturers doing anything?</strong><br /> Good question, right. The answer is an old one. Money. Right now, less than 5% of the population knows about Lock Bumping, and even fewer really give it the attention it deserves. The cost of making bump-proof locks is much higher, which means the cost to buy them is higher. And ultimately, that higher price point affects the bottom line.</p> <p>So, that's the scoop on Lock Bumping. Much more information is out there on the web if you really want to find it. More worrying, if you can find out how to make a bump key, so can any thief. Yikes. Now, I'm off to buy a Doberman with sharp teeth and an appetite for criminals.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lock-bumping-your-home-isnt-safe">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-mugged">How To Get Mugged</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/turning-a-cold-war-spy-secret-into-a-cheap-anti-theft-device">Turning a cold war spy secret into a cheap anti-theft device</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-scams-and-cons-that-could-clean-you-out">The scams and cons that could clean you out.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-powerful-ways-to-protect-your-money-from-cyber-theft">6 Powerful Ways to Protect Your Money From Cyber Theft</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-is-it-okay-to-share-your-social-security-number">When Is It Okay to Share Your Social Security Number?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks bump keys home security lock bumping master keys protect yourself. security breach theft Tue, 06 Mar 2007 21:28:40 +0000 Paul Michael 317 at http://www.wisebread.com The scams and cons that could clean you out. http://www.wisebread.com/the-scams-and-cons-that-could-clean-you-out <p class="MsoNormal"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/523790_regret.jpg" alt="Victim" title="Victim" width="229" height="215" /></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Last time I gave you advice from the Real Hustle team, it was how to grab a few free drinks. A bit of harmless fun. This time, it’s much more serious. These former professional con artists take you through some of the easiest, most effective ways that thieves can rip you off. Anything from a simple watch theft, to grabbing everything you own. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">I looked through The Real Hustle archives and found so many scary scenarios, but these are the ones that seemed to affect everyone. So, watch carefully and keep your guard up at all times. It’s a jungle out there sometimes. </p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-weight: bold" class="Apple-style-span">Scam #1: Waitstaff Card Cloning</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">I’ve always had a problem giving my credit card or debit card to anyone, especially in a restaurant when you typically lose sight of it for several minutes. Here, the con artists show you how easy it is for someone to copy your card and clean you out.<span> </span></p> <p><object width="425" height="350"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/sexUus0igWs" /><param name="wmode" value="transparent" /><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/sexUus0igWs" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="350"></embed></object></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-weight: bold" class="Apple-style-span">Scam #2 A &amp; B: Crutches spell trouble</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">I believe a certain Mr. Ted Bundy used crutches to lure his victims. Well, these days con artists are also using them. Here are two ways that being a Good Samaritan could leave you out of pocket. You have been warned.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-weight: bold" class="Apple-style-span">2A: The ATM Scam</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-weight: bold" class="Apple-style-span"><span style="font-weight: normal" class="Apple-style-span">All it takes is a few seconds of distraction, and worse still, you don’t even realize you’ve been robbed. Don’t think you’d fall for it? Well, I’m sorry to say I fell for something very similar and I thank goodness the bank refunded my money.</span></span></p> <p><object width="425" height="350"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/YFp68bFmygY" /><param name="wmode" value="transparent" /><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/YFp68bFmygY" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="350"></embed></object></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-weight: bold" class="Apple-style-span">2B: The Watch Swipe</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Not something to worry about if you have a $20 Casio on your arm. But if you happen to love your watch or have a Rolex on your arm, helping out a limping stranger may leave you looking for a new timepiece. </p> <p><object width="425" height="350"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/XeI48Xm6G0w" /><param name="wmode" value="transparent" /><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/XeI48Xm6G0w" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="350"></embed></object></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-weight: bold" class="Apple-style-span">Scam #3: The Window Tap</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">How many times has someone distracted you while you were sitting in a bar, restaurant or café just casually getting on with your own thing? Well, be careful where you place your valuables. Lose sight of them for a second and you could lose sight of them forever.</p> <p><object width="425" height="350"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/C89zYAjVmkg" /><param name="wmode" value="transparent" /><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/C89zYAjVmkg" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="350"></embed></object></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-weight: bold" class="Apple-style-span">Scam #4 A &amp; B: Pickpockets</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">We&#39;ve all heard of pickpockets. But as we evolve to outsmart them, they&#39;re always one step ahead of use. Watch your wallets, purses, phones and other personal items closely. </p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-weight: bold" class="Apple-style-span">4A: Jacket Pickpockets</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">It’s amazing how downright brazen some thieves can be. In this clip, the expert con artist spots three “marks” and grabs a whole bunch of valuables in less time than it takes you to drink a cup of coffee. </p> <p><object width="425" height="350"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/9IwdtAIRBcY" /><param name="wmode" value="transparent" /><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/9IwdtAIRBcY" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="350"></embed></object></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-weight: bold" class="Apple-style-span">4B: The Newspaper Wallet</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">First of all, I would never carry my wallet in my back pocket. I just don’t feel like it’s safe there. But some guys do, and will often reach back now and again to make sure they still have it. Well, that could be just a bunch of newspaper they’re safeguarding.</p> <p><object width="425" height="350"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/N-OKWpfJ7G0" /><param name="wmode" value="transparent" /><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/N-OKWpfJ7G0" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="350"></embed></object></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-weight: bold" class="Apple-style-span">Scam #5: The Booster Bag Scam</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-weight: bold" class="Apple-style-span"><span style="font-weight: normal" class="Apple-style-span">Sometimes, the simplest cons are the most effective. By using a larger bag with a hole cut in the bottom, a good scammer can walk away with your precious cargo. And for you ladies who keep everything in your purse, that could mean walking away with your most valuable possession – your identity.</span></span></p> <p><object width="425" height="350"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/HWC1xQmdF5M" /><param name="wmode" value="transparent" /><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/HWC1xQmdF5M" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="350"></embed></object></p> <p class="MsoNormal">I hope this has opened your eyes to just how many ways there are to lose anything and everything you call valuable. Generally, if you keep your wits about you, you’re safe. But drop your guard, become too trusting or just be in the wrong place at the right time and a stealthy scammer can take you to the cleaners. Stay safe people. </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-scams-and-cons-that-could-clean-you-out">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-worlds-4-biggest-credit-card-scams">The World&#039;s 4 Biggest Credit Card Scams</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-mugged">How To Get Mugged</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-is-it-okay-to-share-your-social-security-number">When Is It Okay to Share Your Social Security Number?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/uglify-your-stuff-to-keep-it-safe">Uglify Your Stuff To Keep It Safe</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carnival-of-scams-top-4-fairground-cons">Carnival Of Scams - Top 4 fairground cons</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks crime identity theft protect yourself scams stolen theft victims Thu, 22 Feb 2007 18:12:56 +0000 Paul Michael 292 at http://www.wisebread.com How To Get Mugged http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-mugged <p>Awesome, 10:45 and there's still one parking spot only a few buildings from mine. I do the parallel parking bit, grab my purse, lock the car, and start the quick walk to my apartment building. As I walk past our next-door building, a car stops in front of me, and the passenger steps out. Weird, he's talking to me. &quot;OK, give me your purse.&quot;</p> <p>Next thing I know I'm splayed out on my back like a dying cockroach on the curb -- except much wrigglier, and much, much louder.</p> <p>The whole thing took about 30 seconds, and then he drove off with my purse, my wallet, my phone, my camera. I was suitably shaken -- feeling <strong>helpless, violated, extremely freaked out</strong> -- but the lesson for me was that this really can happen anywhere. People have asked me if I'm going to move to a different neighborhood now, and the answer is a decided no. When you start telling people you were mugged, they come back with stories of their own. A friend has been the victim twice -- once in front of his mother's house on Rodeo Drive (yes, <em>that</em> Rodeo Drive), and another time in the Pico-Robertson area of West Los Angeles -- a neighborhood predominantly inhabited by Orthodox Jewish families.</p> <p>So, I'm not running to the suburbs anytime soon. But now that I know it's a reality, I can take some personal steps to prevent another assault, and I can share what I learned about what to do when it does happen.</p> <p><strong>Do this now:</strong> Make sure you have a photo ID in your home, off your person. Write down or memorize your driver's license number and credit card numbers. You'll need these items a few times -- to renew your license, to tell the police, to take money out of the bank without an ATM card. If you are compiling a document, adding the 24-hour numbers for your credit card and ATM card will also come in handy. Having all this info at easy access prevents scrambling.</p> <p>If you buy a new mobile phone, be sure to keep your old one. You can get a new SIM card free, and start blabbing away immediately. If your phone has the capablity to sync with your computer, do it frequently. It saves a great deal of headache not to have to recompile your address book.</p> <p>Keep some cash in the house. With no ATM card, you are at the mercy of bank hours to withdraw cash, and you won't have a credit card.</p> <p>Soon after the mugging, someone gave me a can of <strong>pepper spray</strong>. I've put it on my keychain, but I'm admittedly of two minds about it. It's a bit of comfort to know, in a realm where I, as a diminutive woman, am a prime victim, that by carrying it with me I'm evening out the playing field just so slightly. But, its very existence can be inflammatory: cashiers have made not-so-innocent jokes about it, and my sister rightly expressed concern about having it around her small children. So, it's really a personal decision. If you do choose pepper spray though, know that you must be prepared to use it <em>before</em> anything happens. Walk out of your car with the can in your hand and your thumb on the trigger. The best product I've seen was a thin tube on a strap, which wrapped around your hand, securing the canister in your palm. <a href="http://www.crimedoctor.com/self_defense_1.htm">This article</a>, written by a professional security consultant, covers nicely the whys and why-nots of pepper spray. Read up and decide for yourself.</p> <p>Avoid being on the street by yourself late at night. Carpool with friends, or have them walk you to your door. Spend the night at a friend's home after a late night. Befriend a neighbor; see if you can exchange phone numbers, so you can call each other when you need someone to walk you home. In times when walking outside alone at night is just inevitable, I've begun running from car to apartment: I figure, it cuts the time I'm outside in half, and a weirdo sprinting across the sidewalk is probably a less likely target.</p> <p><strong>During the assault:</strong> It's important to know the best way to react, although in the moment it might take you a while to recall what you know. And that best way is to give them what they want. At first, that's not what i did. I was working under the logic that most human beings are reasonable, and that it's reasonable for me to walk into my apartment with my purse in tow, as I had set out to do seconds before. But, reason had little to do with this situation. I resisted, held fast to my purse, and started screaming. Loudly. So, he pushed me onto the ground. After a few seconds, it became clear my screaming was to no avail. I remembered what you're supposed to do, and I did it: I let go of my purse, and its new owner immediately drove off. I was left with a hefty bump on my forehead and the surreal view of my familiar block, now as seen from the ground. But I was lucky -- he could have pulled out a knife, he could have pulled out a gun, he could have been far more violent. <strong>Everything in your purse is replaceable; you are not.</strong></p> <p><strong>Afterwards:</strong> Before anything else, call the police. I was lucky in that one neighbor did actually hear my screaming, came outside after the incident, took me into his home, and led me through this process (it's not hard, but I was completely frazzled). Try to bring to mind any details, because you will forget them surprisingly quickly. They will send out officers to get the full report.</p> <p>In the meantime, tell someone. Either someone at home, or a friend or family member that can be reached by phone. It's a huge comfort to call a loved one and tell your story.</p> <p>Then, cancel your cards. Your credit card statement will have a phone number where you can report a lost or stolen card. Be sure to ask if any charges have been made since your card was stolen: not only in case there are charges you need to protest, but also because even failed attempts to charge may be leads in finding the criminal. Same goes for your ATM card.</p> <p>Call your cellular phone provider. They will suspend your SIM card. Later on, go to your provider's brick-and-mortar store, and they can provide you with a new SIM that holds your existing phone number. Just drop this card into any phone that is 'locked' for use with your provider, or one that is unlocked, and you're ready to send and recieve calls as normal.</p> <p>Contact the credit bureau. They will put a fraud alert on your file, so that creditors will alert you before any extensions of credit are made. There are 3 major credit bureaus -- <a href="/www.experian.com/fraud">Experian</a>, <a href="/www.equifax.com">Equifax</a>, and <a href="/www.transunion.com">TransUnion</a> -- and if you contact one, they will contact the other two.</p> <p>And <a href="http://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs17a.htm">here</a>'s an exhaustive list of tips, phone numbers, and great info on preventing identity theft from the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.</p> <p>Unfortunately, things like this aren't going away anytime soon.&nbsp; But, with a little knowledge, you can prevent a bad situation from getting much, much worse.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tannaz-sassooni">Tannaz Sassooni</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-mugged">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-scams-and-cons-that-could-clean-you-out">The scams and cons that could clean you out.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/identity-theft">Identity Theft Prevention</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-powerful-ways-to-protect-your-money-from-cyber-theft">6 Powerful Ways to Protect Your Money From Cyber Theft</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/identity-theft/prevent-identity-theft">How to Prevent Identity Theft</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lock-bumping-your-home-isnt-safe">Lock bumping - your home isn&#039;t safe</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks assault credit report identity theft loss prevention mugging theft Mon, 19 Feb 2007 17:28:43 +0000 Tannaz Sassooni 272 at http://www.wisebread.com