privacy http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/5715/all en-US Credit Challenged? How Alternative Credit Data Can Help Those With Little or No Credit http://www.wisebread.com/credit-challenged-how-alternative-credit-data-can-help-those-with-little-or-no-credit <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/credit-challenged-how-alternative-credit-data-can-help-those-with-little-or-no-credit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young_woman_working_at_her_office.jpg" alt="Young Woman Working at her office" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you've got no credit file, or a very thin one, you know how hard it can be to get a credit card or loan. Without a credit record, you can't get a credit score, and lenders can't easily judge how much of a credit risk you are.</p> <p>Don't give up. Lenders are slowly beginning to consider other kinds of information when making credit decisions. That may help you get approved for credit, even without a traditional credit score. But it's important to also understand how this so-called alternative data is used, and the implications for your privacy.</p> <h2>What is alternative data?</h2> <p>Traditional credit data relies on information about how you've used credit or debt in the past. It is compiled by the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. That data is then used by the major scoring companies, FICO and VantageScore, to build your credit scores. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-read-a-credit-report?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Read a Credit Report</a>)</p> <p>Maybe you haven't had experience with credit, or you had a negative experience that doesn't tell the whole story of how you would behave now with a new loan. Alternative data providers look at how reliably you've paid rent, utility bills, or rent-to-own agreements. They dig up nonpayment information, too.</p> <p>For instance, LexisNexis Risk Solutions gathers publicly available documents that show your professional licenses, evidence of college attendance, ownership of assets such as a home or boat, felony convictions, and your address stability. &quot;Address stability is the concept that if you're living in the same address for a period of time, you're more stable than if you're bouncing around four times a year,&quot; says Ankush Tewari, senior director of credit risk assessment at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. &quot;Multiple client studies have shown that people who move frequently are riskier than people who have a stable address history.&quot;</p> <p>LexisNexis Risk Solutions says the data it collects all has some proven ability to predict creditworthiness. By adding this sort of data to regular credit bureau data, it can help score about 40 million consumers who don't have a regular credit score. The company has paired with FICO and credit bureau Equifax to create an alternative credit score called the FICO Score XD. It's only for people whose credit files are so thin they can't get a regular credit score, and it relies on payment data from a consumer's utility, phone, and other bills.</p> <p>According to FICO, the new score should allow lenders to score more than half of all previously unscorable applicants. It's found that more than a third of those people turn out to have a FICO Score XD of at least 620, the cutoff point many lenders use for even considering a credit application. That means more people should be getting approved for credit. The trouble is, the product is so new, FICO has not revealed how many lenders are using it.</p> <p>TransUnion has had a similar scoring model called CreditVision Link since 2015, which incorporates a trended look at traditional credit data (how you've performed over time) with non-credit-related data collected from consumers' banking accounts, payday lending histories, and property, deed, and tax records. TransUnion told The New York Times that about 100 companies &mdash; primarily auto lenders and online lenders, but also an increasing number of credit card issuers &mdash; are using or testing the score. They're usually able to approve about 20 percent more applicants than they could before.</p> <h2>How alternative data can help you</h2> <p>The driving force behind the use of alternative data is lenders' desire to reach new customers who are creditworthy but can't show it through traditional means. &quot;Lenders tell us, 'We don't need help declining more people. We need help growing our business but without increasing our credit risk,'&quot; says LexisNexis's Tewari.</p> <p>That should mean good news for consumers who have been responsible with their finances but who haven't had a chance to build credit or have stumbled along the way. Alternative data may help increase your chances of being approved for a loan or credit card. &quot;It allows consumers to show that, while they may not be in a position to get a mortgage or a car payment, or they have no desire to get a credit card, they are still taking care of everyday financial responsibilities,&quot; says Kim Cole, community engagement manager for Navicore Solutions, a nonprofit credit counseling agency in Manalapin, New Jersey.</p> <p>A new company called FS Card is using alternative data to offer a credit card called Build Card to people who would otherwise have been rejected for a credit card. Build Card's target market is consumers with credit scores of 620 or below, meaning their credit is considered subprime. In the past, the only kind of card these consumers probably would have been able to get is a secured card, which requires a deposit of several hundred dollars upfront.</p> <p>Build Card asks applicants to agree to let the company use alternative data to assess their risk. In addition to traditional credit data, Build Card looks at payday loan information to determine whether an applicant is creditworthy. &quot;We're looking for an inflection point that shows the consumer has changed and is able to take on regular credit,&quot; says Marla Blow, CEO of FS Card. Typically this means they've been able to close out a payday loan. &quot;We're looking at the top 15&ndash;20 percent of payday loan users,&quot; she says.</p> <p>If the applicant is approved, they'll be given a regular credit card &mdash; no security deposit required. Granted, there is a $53 upfront fee, APRs are 25&ndash;29 percent, and the initial credit limit is only $500. But it's a step up from a payday loan. And if you do well with the initial credit limit, you can eventually have it increased to $750.</p> <h2>Concerns about privacy and transparency</h2> <p>One of the biggest concerns with alternative data is that people don't know it's being collected and used. Not everyone wants their financial history and other information rounded up and made available to financial institutions. And, as with any organization that collects personal information, there is always the chance that a data breach could happen. It's one thing if information that was already publicly available is stolen, but it may be more worrisome if you've voluntarily shared payment information that then gets disclosed in a breach.</p> <p>Beyond privacy and security, there are concerns about transparency. If you don't know what information lenders might look at when they're making lending decisions, you can't shape your behavior appropriately. For instance, maybe if you knew that bank overdrafts not only cost you money, but could also cause a lender to frown on your credit card application someday, you would be even more careful about not overdrawing. That's why some consumer advocates say you should first be asked whether you want to opt in to the collection and use of this sort of data.</p> <p>Consumer groups also worry about the accessibility of information that's being collected. &quot;People need to have access to data collected about them,&quot; says Linda Sherry, director of national priorities at Consumer Action. &quot;They need to be able to verify that it's accurate and to put notes on it to say what's happened in their life to justify why these things are happening to them.&quot;</p> <p>You already have those rights when it comes to data on your traditional credit report. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) gives you the right to access your credit reports and if you find an error, it says the credit bureau must investigate and so must the bank or credit card issuer who furnished the data. The FCRA also requires creditors and employers to notify you if they've rejected you based on information in your credit report. That way, you can check the information and dispute it if it's incorrect.</p> <p>LexisNexis says you also have those same rights with the alternative data it collects. If you are, say, turned down for a loan because you've got a lien or judgment, you should be notified of that and given the chance to dispute any inaccuracies in the reporting. &quot;Alternative data must be compliant with the FCRA, which requires consumers have access to data that's used in credit decisions,&quot; says Tewari, who adds that his company allows consumers unlimited free access to the data it has on file. You can request it at any time, and as many times as you like. &quot;They have the ability to review it and correct it if there's an error,&quot; he says.</p> <h2>What you can do</h2> <p>While data collectors and lenders are in the driver's seat when it comes to the use of alternative data, there are still some things you can do to build your credit.</p> <h3>1. Pay all of your bills on time</h3> <p>This is always important, but even more so in times when companies are collecting information about how you pay all kinds of bills. Keeping on top of payments could help you build credit that you'll need in the future. Avoid overdrafts on your checking account, too, as this is a costly behavior that could also mar your alternative credit profile.</p> <h3>2. Check your traditional credit report and dispute any errors</h3> <p>&quot;If someone has been denied by the big lenders, that's a wake-up call that they need to go into their credit report, figure out why they're being denied, clean up the credit report as much as they can, and get back on track with a good credit history,&quot; says Consumer Action's Sherry. &quot;That's the best way to show yourself as someone that lenders will trust.&quot;</p> <h3>3. Get a secured card</h3> <p>This is the traditional way to go, and it works. Save up $300, use it as a deposit on a secured credit card, get a $300 credit line, then only make a small purchase with it a few times a year. At the end of a year &mdash; maybe sooner &mdash; you should have built enough credit to get a regular credit card. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-secured-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Best Secured Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h3>4. Ask your lender to look at FICO Score XD</h3> <p>Since this scoring model is fairly new, you likely won't see any immediate results if you request a lender review it. Banks have to pay to get access to this scoring model. But eventually if lenders see enough demand from consumers, they will begin to adopt it. It certainly can't hurt to ask.</p> <h3>5. Consider providing your own alternative data</h3> <p>If you're applying for a loan, it may help to present letters of good standing from your landlord, utility providers, or other monthly services that you pay on time.</p> <h3>6. Don't worry &mdash; yet &mdash; about modifying your behavior to fit the FICO Score XD model</h3> <p>For instance, if you really need to change addresses for the second time in a year, don't hold back just because it might affect your alternative credit score. A whole host of factors goes into most lenders' credit decisions, so no one factor is given too much weight.</p> <h3>7. Monitor your alternative credit record</h3> <p>This is not as easy as monitoring your traditional credit record, but if you're interested you can find out who's collecting your financial details by consulting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's list of <a href="http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201604_cfpb_list-of-consumer-reporting-companies.pdf" target="_blank">42 consumer reporting companies</a>. You'll have to check with each company's website to find out how to get your free annual report.</p> <h3>8. Correct mistakes if they arise</h3> <p>If you get a note that you've been denied credit due to a piece of alternative data, ask who furnished the information, and make sure it's accurate. You have the same right to dispute errors in alternative data as you do with traditional information on your credit report.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/yasmin-ghahremani">Yasmin Ghahremani</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-challenged-how-alternative-credit-data-can-help-those-with-little-or-no-credit">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/what-the-new-credit-card-formula-means-for-your-wallet">What the New Credit Card Formula Means for Your Wallet</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/4-surprising-things-lenders-check-besides-your-credit-score">4 Surprising Things Lenders Check Besides Your Credit Score</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-three-interest-rates">The Three Interest Rates</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-times-you-should-never-take-a-loan">6 Times You Should Never Take a Loan</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/should-you-take-out-a-loan-backed-by-your-investments">Should You Take Out a Loan Backed by Your Investments?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking alternative credit data borrowing credit history credit score lending privacy Tue, 10 Oct 2017 09:00:06 +0000 Yasmin Ghahremani 2033790 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Keep a Personal Problem From Hurting Your Career http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-keep-a-personal-problem-from-hurting-your-career <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-keep-a-personal-problem-from-hurting-your-career" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/i_just_need_some_time_off.jpg" alt="I just need some time off" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>People have problems; that's just a fact of life. Most people also work for a living, and sooner or later, the two are going to collide. When a personal problem does land on your doorstep, the last thing you want to do is bring it with you to work. That can cause all sorts of additional issues, and they can compound your personal issues even more. So what do you do? How do you separate personal problems from the daily grind?</p> <h2>Don't talk about your problems to anyone at work</h2> <p>It may seem like the most obvious piece of advice, but it is the one most commonly ignored.</p> <p>All too often this is the way it goes: A trusted friend tries to help you out by telling a manager why you may be off your game. From there, it becomes an issue that several people know about. And before long, half the people in the company are aware of it. It doesn't matter who you think you can trust, and what kind of confidence you swear them to, it will leak. Loose lips sink ships &hellip; and careers.</p> <h2>Find someone outside of work to support you</h2> <p>It's imperative to get emotional support at this time, and that means talking to someone completely removed from your work environment. Avoid anyone who doesn't work at your firm, but knows a lot of people that do.</p> <p>This can mean going to support groups, using online forums (where you can remain anonymous but get advice), or if worst comes to worst, calling a crisis hotline such as <a href="http://www.samaritansusa.org/programs.php" target="_blank">Samaritans</a>. Don't be afraid to ask for help, because a problem shared really is a weight lifted. Just make sure you do it in a way that cannot create another problem &mdash; namely, a career problem &mdash; on top of whatever else is troubling you.</p> <h2>Find helpful ways to deal with your emotions</h2> <p>Not talking about your problem at work can be tough, especially when people treat you poorly without knowing what you're actually going through. So, look into helpful and productive ways to deal with the emotions that can build up in the workplace.</p> <p>One of the best ways to hash out emotional stress is going to the gym, especially if your office provides a workout facility on-site. Otherwise, going to the gym before and/or after work, or exercising at home, can do wonders for your emotional pressure cooker. If working out doesn't do it, find a new hobby, or really go all in on projects at work to keep yourself from thinking about your stress.</p> <h2>Talk to your boss about the need for flexibility and understanding</h2> <p>You don't have to breathe a word about the specific problem you're facing. You can simply say something like, &quot;I'm going through a problem that's important and stressful outside of work, and need your help in managing my workload and the expectations of other departments.&quot; Your boss knows you're not a robot, and if you have been a superb employee before the problem arose, he or she will do whatever possible to help you ride out the storm.</p> <p>You may be given the option to telecommute, or have some of the responsibilities lifted from you for a while. Just remember, a company and a boss can only do so much. If this drags on for months or more, the patience of those you work with will wear thin.</p> <h2>Consider using sick, vacation, personal, and FMLA days</h2> <p>If the problem is so intense that you just find it impossible to concentrate on your work, look into taking some much-needed time off. You will definitely be able to use vacation and personal days. It's possible you could also use sick time, or bring the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to your defense. This U.S. labor law requires employers to give workers job-protected unpaid leave in the event of a qualified medical or family emergency.</p> <p>While you may think it will look bad to take extended time off, it will be far worse to stay at work and put in a terrible performance. In some cases, your lack of concentration could lead to disastrous consequences. Better to be away and working things out than at work and messing things up.</p> <h2>Seek professional counseling</h2> <p>Thankfully, the stigma of seeing a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist lessens with each passing year. However, there are still people out there that avoid them at all costs out of embarrassment. Really, that should be the last concern on your mind.</p> <p>You need to solve the personal problem that's weighing you down, and professional counseling can be a great help at this time. The counselor may not be able to solve that problem directly, but even just talking it through with them can open new possibilities and avenues of success. At the very least, it's a confidential source in which you can confide, and that in itself can be a huge help.</p> <h2>Keep a daily reminder to remain positive, calm, and professional</h2> <p>When you get up in the morning, along with your usual routine, add something that gets you ready to tackle the workday &mdash; both emotionally and physically. Tell yourself that this will pass. Remind yourself that you're a good person in a bad spot, and bringing that issue to work will not help your situation. Take a deep breath and say out loud, &quot;I'm going to do a great job today, because I'm a great employee.&quot;</p> <p>It may feel corny, but doing it every day before work gets you into the mindset of being a real pro. The power of positive thinking is proven, and by getting into the best state of mind and avoiding negative thoughts, you will do much better at work. As the brilliant work coach Tim Ferriss says, &quot;If you sit down in a negative state, you will be thinking first and foremost of problems, and not solutions.&quot;</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-keep-a-personal-problem-from-hurting-your-career">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/wanna-put-away-some-cash-take-a-vacation">Wanna Put Away Some Cash? Take A Vacation!</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/your-stressful-job-may-be-making-you-healthier">Your Stressful Job May Be… Making You Healthier?</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/3-reasons-you-are-more-than-your-job">3 Reasons You Are More Than Your Job</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/10-frugal-ways-to-reduce-workplace-stress">10 Frugal Ways to Reduce Workplace Stress</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-ways-to-deal-when-you-work-with-someone-you-hate">8 Ways to Deal When You Work With Someone You Hate</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income counseling Crisis gossip job leave job security personal issues personal problems privacy professionalism stress time off work Thu, 05 Oct 2017 08:30:11 +0000 Paul Michael 2030974 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Protect Your Job When You're in a Workplace Relationship http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-your-job-when-youre-in-a-workplace-relationship <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-protect-your-job-when-youre-in-a-workplace-relationship" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/work_romance_between_two_business_people_holding_a_heart.jpg" alt="Work romance between two business people holding a heart" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are various figures of speech that talk about workplace relationships, and most of them are in the negative. &quot;Don't make honey where you make money,&quot; or &quot;Never foul your own nest&quot; are just a couple fit to print here.</p> <p>It seems that the overall rule of thumb is to avoid workplace relationships like the plague. However, they happen. A lot. And if you find yourself in one, how do you ensure that it doesn't impact your job, or even your career?</p> <h2>Check the employee handbook</h2> <p>Most human resource departments have some kind of company or employee handbook that provides guidelines for behavior in and around the office. Before you get too involved in any kind of office romance, check this to see what it says about the implications of dating a coworker. It's possible your company may prohibit office relationships, although it's highly unlikely it would ever be enforced. However, you should disclose the relationship to Human Resources and your manager. It may also need to be documented, especially if the relationship brings about conflict of interest concerns. Almost every business will frown on a supervisor and his or her direct report having a romance, for obvious reasons.</p> <p>You will usually get a gut reaction to your own fledgling relationship based on other activity you've seen in the office. If you've been invited to the wedding of two coworkers, or see couples holding hands in the office with no backlash at all, you're probably fine. If you haven't seen or heard a peep about any workplace hookups, you may have to tread very carefully. Or, figure out which of you should find another place to work, if you want to keep the relationship alive.</p> <h2>Keep it between you and your partner</h2> <p>In the very early stages, only two people in the office should know about your relationship, and that's you and the person you're dating. Don't do public displays of affection. Don't leave each other little notes, or giggle in the elevator together. Don't start going to lunch with each other every day, and arrive in the same car in the morning. You want this to be kept quiet until you are sure it's nothing more than a fling.</p> <p>If it's serious, you can inform HR, and if necessary, your managers. But even after that, keep it professional. You are still in a place of business, and you were both hired to do specific tasks. Those tasks will not be improved by bringing your relationship into it. And if you are arguing, or going through a rocky patch, you also need to separate that personal side from the professional side. If it becomes clear that your romance is affecting your performance, one or both of you could be let go.</p> <h2>Set boundaries at work, and out of the office</h2> <p>That old saying &quot;Loose lips sink ships&quot; is not just for wartime. In this case, that ship could be your career, and if you do not establish firm boundaries from the get go, you could start violating trusts that lead to gossip, rumors, and a toxic work environment.</p> <p>It's possible that you know much more about a certain project or coworker than the person you're dating. They might want to know more than they are allowed to, or vice-versa. &quot;Go on, tell me, are layoffs coming soon? Which departments are affected? Is anyone getting a promotion?&quot; These questions can overstep the company boundaries and result in disciplinary action for both parties.</p> <p>Then, there's the question of favoritism. You may be dating someone who is part of your team. You may be dating someone with significant influence. If you seem to benefit from that relationship, even if it's completely unrelated, it can seem like a huge dose of favoritism. &quot;He only got promoted because he's dating the best friend of the boss.&quot; Take these things into account, because it can cause a lot of ill will and low morale among other employees.</p> <h2>Try not to date &quot;up or down&quot;</h2> <p>Obviously, it will be hard to deny certain feelings you both have for each other. But, if one of you is much higher up in the company than the other, things can get messy very quickly. Word will spread that you are in a relationship, despite your best efforts to conceal it. Then, you will be under scrutiny constantly.</p> <p>Are you receiving special treatment, or giving it to your partner? Are you sure you're making decisions based solely on the best interest of the company, or are they being swayed by your affections? Are you getting a little upset that your partner travels a lot, while you are stuck in the office? Or, that they get perks that you do not at your level? All of these problems, and many more, can happen when you date up or down.</p> <p>So, stick to relationships with people on a similar level to you in the company. And if one of you starts advancing more quickly than the other, reassess the situation. Is it going to cause problems? If you are put in charge, or report to your partner, you'll have something of an HR nightmare on your hands.</p> <h2>Document everything &hellip; just in case</h2> <p>It's sad, but true, that we now live in a world that provides us with a plethora of data on anyone we wish to investigate. Emails, Facebook profiles, text messages, Snapchat, photos, videos, you name it, it's out there. It's possible your relationship could cause jealousy among other coworkers, and wild accusations could be made.</p> <p>If you can document that your partner got a raise or promotion through his or her achievements, and not the relationship, then you can shut down those creaking gates quickly. And if you should break up, those wild accusations may come from the person you were seeing. Again, good documentation can save you from some messy, fictional scandals.</p> <h2>If the relationship ends, be professional &mdash; very professional</h2> <p>Your office romance may last until the end of your life. It may also be over in a few weeks, months, or years. If the relationship does come to an end while you are both still working for the same company, tread very carefully. You may well be in a position to make life a living hell for your ex, and if he or she left the relationship on a sour note, you may be very tempted to.</p> <p>However, it can only lead to pain and suffering for both parties, and to a lesser extent, the rest of the company. A well-oiled machine may break down due to animosity, or even hatred. If the other person is dating someone new, jealousy could drive your decision-making. When that happens, it's a slippery slope to a vendetta, and the loss of a job for one or both of you.</p> <p>So, keep it professional. If it's painful to see each other at work after the break up, find ways to avoid the other person. Can you be transferred to a department that provides less contact? Do you have to go to every meeting, or will emails and phone calls suffice? And the big question &hellip; should one of you move on to a different company?</p> <p>Remember, while it's not advisable to get involved with someone at the office, if you establish a real connection with someone, you should let nature take its course. You may find that one amazing person that you spend the rest of your life with; jobs, on the other hand, come and go.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-protect-your-job-when-youre-in-a-workplace-relationship&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Protect%2520Your%2520Job%2520When%2520Youre%2520in%2520a%2520Workplace%2520Relationship.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Protect%20Your%20Job%20When%20Youre%20in%20a%20Workplace%20Relationship"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Protect%20Your%20Job%20When%20Youre%20in%20a%20Workplace%20Relationship.jpg" alt="How to Protect Your Job When You're in a Workplace Relationship" width="250" height="374" /></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-protect-your-job-when-youre-in-a-workplace-relationship">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-grow-your-solo-business-without-hiring-employees">How to Grow Your Solo Business Without Hiring Employees</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/7-tips-for-better-workplace-body-language">7 Tips for Better Workplace Body Language</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-stay-focused-at-work-despite-your-chatty-coworkers">How to Stay Focused at Work Despite Your Chatty Coworkers</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/8-keys-to-quitting-a-job-like-a-professional">8 Keys to Quitting a Job Like a Professional</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/5-ways-being-nice-at-work-can-payoff">5 Ways Being Nice at Work Can Payoff</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building conflict of interest coworkers Dating employees human resources love privacy work relationships Thu, 13 Jul 2017 08:30:10 +0000 Paul Michael 1981390 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Keep Your Job Search a Secret http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-keep-your-job-search-a-secret <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-keep-your-job-search-a-secret" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/interview_panel.jpg" alt="Interview panel" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Looking for a job can be tricky when you already have one. You want to take your career to the next level, but you don't want to risk the job you currently have &mdash; which can happen if your employer finds out you're trying to jump ship.</p> <p>Use these tips to keep your search a secret until you're ready to put in your two weeks' notice:</p> <h2>Keep your job search to yourself</h2> <p>There's no need to tell anyone else about your job search, least of all your coworkers. It doesn't matter how close you are, it's still none of their business. Loyalty is a fickle beast when positions are up for grabs, and if your coworkers see a chance to get a leg up, you may find yourself thrown under a proverbial bus. Rumors can spread like wildfire, and they'll eventually hit the boss. You could compromise your current employment if you don't have control of the narrative. Best to say nothing at all.</p> <h2>Stay away from company equipment</h2> <p>Using company equipment to conduct a job search seems like an obvious no-no, but you'd be surprised how many people don't recognize the risk until they get caught. Your activities may be monitored, and it'll be hard to explain yourself when IT has proof that you're wasting company time and resources to further your career elsewhere.</p> <p>Always use your personal computer and mobile devices to look for jobs and respond to emails, and only provide your personal phone numbers for calls. Don't use the office copier or fax for resume or other job-search materials, either; you could accidentally leave your resume on the machines, thereby ratting on yourself.</p> <h2>Continue giving 100 percent at your current job</h2> <p>Remember when you were a senior in high school? It was so hard to put forth the effort during that last week of class. It's common to adopt a similar attitude when you're planning to leave a job. You might tell yourself that you'll be gone soon anyway, so why bother trying to impress anyone? But this is a dangerous mentality. It's important to remain professional until the day your tenure ends at your current position.</p> <p>&quot;Don't ease off the gas just because you are thinking about leaving,&quot; says Ryan Naylor, CEO and founder of LocalWork.com. &quot;Maybe that new job won't come, or maybe you want a good referral later. If you do leave, you want to leave behind a continued path of goodwill, not burned bridges.&quot;</p> <h2>Don't announce your intentions on social media</h2> <p>Even though you think your social media accounts are &quot;private,&quot; remain cautious. People are nosy, and it's common practice these days for employers to check in on their employees' social media presence. If you don't say anything, you don't have to explain anything. This is especially true on LinkedIn; use the service to search for open positions and network with contacts, but don't outwardly declare that you're looking for a new job. It's almost guaranteed to get back to your employer.</p> <p>Nancy Schuman, chief marketing officer at recruitment firm Lloyd Staffing, adds, &quot;Make your activity stream on LinkedIn private and turn off broadcasts. Don't list your current employer by name on your resume. Instead, describe it as a 'large financial institution,' 'a well- known consumer products company,' etc.&quot;</p> <p>Same goes for Facebook, Twitter, and any other platforms you use. You may not be directly connected to your boss, but chances are you're connected to someone you work with, or someone who knows someone you work with. These services may help you make connections faster, but it's best to target individuals in your network directly who may be able to help you. It'll certainly be less dangerous than making a blanket post on Facebook about how you'd like a better job.</p> <h2>Don't send resumes to blind ads</h2> <p>When applying for positions, make sure you know to whom you're sending your resume and information. On platforms like Craigslist, often the job description is listed but the employer remains anonymous. This could spell trouble if you inadvertently respond to an ad your current employer is running.</p> <p>Certified career coach Cheryl Palmer relays a story of a job seeker who made that mistake.</p> <p>&quot;A woman once told me that her coworker responded to a blind ad and then was confronted a short while later by someone in the company from Human Resources,&quot; she says. &quot;The HR professional asked her if she was looking for another job. The woman lied and said no. The HR professional responded, 'I got your resume.' It turned out that the job that this woman had unwittingly applied for was at her own company.&quot;</p> <p>If you're posting to job boards, do that anonymously as well. You never know who's on there. If HR is searching for candidates for your office and they find you, you'll have some explaining to do.</p> <h2>Keep your interview attire in your car</h2> <p>Try not to take time off work to go on job interviews, if only to avoid raising a red flag on why your attendance is suddenly sporadic. If need be, schedule interviews during your lunch break or possibly after work. If there's no wiggle room, as a last resort, take one day off from your current job and try to schedule multiple interviews on that day.</p> <p>To expedite the interview process during work hours &mdash; like lunchtime, for instance &mdash; keep interview attire in your vehicle so you can change in and out of it at a discreet location. A suit and tie will be a dead giveaway if you normally wear jeans and a polo. You can only use the &quot;I have a funeral to attend after work&quot; excuse so many times before your coworkers start to think you're an agent of death.</p> <h2>Use references outside your current company</h2> <p>If you're trying to keep your job search a secret, why would you list your current employer as a reference? Surely you can find other people to vouch for you who don't have the power to fire you for making poor decisions.</p> <p>To avoid this predicament, Schuman suggests letting a prospective employer know that you will offer a current reference once you have a job offer. &quot;But do have other references lined up who know you and your work well for them to contact in the interim,&quot; she adds.</p> <h2>Ask for confidentiality at your interview</h2> <p>You may even go so far as to ask the person with whom you're interviewing not to reach out to your current employer. Just mention that you'd rather keep your current employer out of it; most hiring managers will understand.</p> <p>Schuman suggests, &quot;If you are working with a recruiter, tell them your confidentiality must be maintained; ask to be made aware of all prospective opportunities <em>before</em> your resume is referred.&quot;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-keep-your-job-search-a-secret">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/jumpstart-your-job-search-with-instagram">Jumpstart Your Job Search With Instagram</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/7-things-you-should-never-include-in-your-cover-letter">7 Things You Should Never Include in Your Cover Letter</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/11-ways-college-grads-can-get-ahead-in-the-job-hunt">11 Ways College Grads Can Get Ahead in the Job Hunt</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/the-proper-ways-to-discuss-salary-in-a-job-interview">The Proper Ways to Discuss Salary in a Job Interview</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-land-the-job-when-youre-overqualified">How to Land the Job When You&#039;re Overqualified</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Job Hunting career confidentiality discreet interviewing new jobs privacy resumes social media work Thu, 01 Jun 2017 08:30:18 +0000 Mikey Rox 1957429 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways Your Devices Are Spying on You http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-your-devices-are-spying-on-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-your-devices-are-spying-on-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-452268617.jpg" alt="your home devices are spying on you" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Microwave ovens aren't spying on us (yet), but plenty of other products seem to be. From smart TVs to tech toys for kids, there are a slew of common household items collecting data about our location, habits, and preferences &mdash; and some are more sinister than others. Here are some of the ways your possessions could be tracking your every move. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/careful-your-cc-may-be-sharing-this-private-info?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Your Credit Card May Be Sharing Your Private Info</a>)</p> <h2>1. Your TV might be bugged by the U.S. government</h2> <p>According to the latest dirt from WikiLeaks, the CIA has developed a covert hacking program that can transform your smart TV into a bug. Once your TV is hacked by the program, it has the ability to enter into a &quot;fake-off mode&quot; in which the TV appears to be off but is actually on and operating as a recording device. The program, known as &quot;Weeping Angel,&quot; uses the TV's speakers and camera to record what it hears and sees. Then it transmits these private living room conversations to the CIA server.</p> <h2>2. Your child's doll could be bait for a cyberattack</h2> <p>Cayla is a sweet-faced American-made doll with big, blue eyes and Bluetooth technology. Not only is Cayla adorable, she's also interactive. Everything Cayla hears gets transmitted to a voice recognition company that helps the doll to hold human-like conversations, much like the iPhone's Siri. Unfortunately, this technology also makes the doll a prime target for hackers. In Germany, where hidden microphones and cameras are illegal, the doll has been pulled from store shelves and government officials have ordered doll owners to confiscate the toy. In Norway, a consumer group has released a warning about the doll's vulnerabilities. Consumer complaints about Cayla have been filed in the U.S., though the doll remains on shelves in America and in several European countries.</p> <h2>3. Your shoes could help retailers figure out your age or social status</h2> <p>The British retail analysis firm Hoxton Analytics is pointing its facial recognition software to the ground. Instead of faces, the firm's technology records shoppers' feet as they walk in and out of participating retail outlets. The data is then analyzed to reveal a surprising amount of information, including specifics about a shopper's gender, age, and social class. It's all based on the shoes a person is wearing. According to Hoxton executives, the retail analysis technology can determine a person's gender based on his or her footwear with 80 percent accuracy. The company asserts that the marketing technology is much less invasive than scanning shoppers' faces, but its use has raised concerns among consumer advocate groups.</p> <h2>4. Your cell phone could be surveilling your every move</h2> <p>Cell site simulators, or stingrays, are commonly used by law enforcement agencies to geolocate the cell phone calls or text messages of criminal suspects and other persons of interest. The New York Police Department, for example, has used the stingray technology more than 1,000 times since 2008 to determine a person's location by monitoring their calls and texts. It's not only New Yorkers who are susceptible to this sort of secret surveillance. Stingrays are used by local police agencies across the nation, as well as the FBI and CIA. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-surprising-ways-your-identity-can-be-stolen?ref=seealso" target="_blank">18 Surprising Ways Your Identity Can Be Stolen</a>)</p> <h2>5. A hacker could infiltrate your baby monitor</h2> <p>If you use a baby monitor to keep a watchful eye over your child at night, know that a hacker could infiltrate the device in order to spy on your child. In a recent horror story, <a href="http://sfglobe.com/2016/01/06/stranger-hacks-familys-baby-monitor-and-talks-to-child-at-night/" target="_blank">a stranger hacked a baby monitor</a> in Washington state and used the device to communicate with a three-year-old child, as well as to track the movements of people in the room. The toddler's parents reportedly entered their child's room one night and heard a voice on the baby monitor saying, &quot;Wake up little boy, daddy's looking for you.&quot; The child had reportedly told his parents that he did not like the monitor because of the voice that spoke to him on it during the night. But it wasn't until the parents heard the voice for themselves that they understood what their child meant.</p> <h2>6. Your refrigerator could make you vulnerable to an email hack</h2> <p>Samsung's latest voice-controlled refrigerator can play music, stream movies, and sync your Google calendar onto a display screen. Sounds cool, right? But beware: Earlier models of the smart fridge have allowed hackers to break into its owner's email accounts. That's because previous security shortcomings have allowed hackers to access the refrigerator technology in order to steal users' Gmail login credentials. Here's the silver lining: Samsung's latest model hasn't had any reported hacking fiascos &mdash; not yet, anyway.</p> <h2>7. Your webcam could be recording you</h2> <p>If your webcam isn't password protected &mdash; or if the password is easy to hack &mdash; you could be under surveillance. Hackers around the globe are known to gain access to the webcams of strangers in order to peek into the private lives of their owners. There's even a creepy search engine that matches voyeuristic hackers with unsecured webcams, making it that much easier for devious internet users to violate the privacy of strangers.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-your-devices-are-spying-on-you">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-buy-a-new-computer-without-breaking-your-budget">How to Buy a New Computer Without Breaking Your Budget</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/34-smart-ways-to-cut-your-electric-bill">34 Smart Ways to Cut Your Electric Bill</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/stop-making-these-8-risky-password-mistakes">Stop Making These 8 Risky Password Mistakes</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-earn-extra-income-with-a-drone">How to Earn Extra Income With a Drone</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/7-tools-and-gadgets-your-smartphone-can-replace">7 Tools and Gadgets Your Smartphone Can Replace</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Technology bugged devices government internet security privacy spying tech gadgets Tue, 18 Apr 2017 08:30:11 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1929794 at http://www.wisebread.com Careful! Your Credit Card May Be Sharing Your Private Info http://www.wisebread.com/careful-your-cc-may-be-sharing-this-private-info <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/careful-your-cc-may-be-sharing-this-private-info" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-508426961.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="143" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In 2015, a study conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that scientists were able to use the information from credit card purchases to correctly identify the names of the consumers making the charges. Their accuracy was a staggering 90% &mdash; and they only looked at four transactions.</p> <p>These scientists could do this even after credit card companies anonymized the transactions, erasing the names and other personal details of the cardholders doing the buying.</p> <p>You might be surprised at just how much your credit card provider knows about you, and has known for a while. Take for example the 2008 case of Kevin Johnson, who received a letter <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/TheLaw/gma-answers-credit-card-companies-financially-profiling-customers/story?id=6747461" target="_blank">slashing his credit limit</a> by $7,000 because his credit card provider didn't approve of the stores he frequented. These stores, they claimed, were common shopping hot spots for people with poor repayment histories. This kind of profiling ignored Johnson's solid 760 credit score in favor of the data it was secretly gathering. And although Johnson's card provider later abandoned the policy, the question of ethics had been raised.</p> <p>Though the concept of credit card data sharing can be a little unnerving, it's not all harmful, either. Over time, your credit card provider can piece together a detailed history of your spending habits to help you find relevant sales, coupons, or services. If you charged the purchase of a new couch, for example, you might suddenly see advertisements from stores selling home furnishings. You might even receive a mailing from a mortgage lender wondering if you want to refinance your mortgage loan.</p> <p>So, exactly what information is your credit card collecting and how does it affect you?</p> <h3>1. The Type of Food You Like</h3> <p>Do you eat at the same four restaurants each month? If you charge these meals, your credit card provider will take notice. You might start receiving coupons for discounts at these restaurants.</p> <h3>2. Where You Like to Grocery Shop</h3> <p>If you do the majority of your shopping at one grocery store, don't be surprised if you start receiving mailings informing you of weekly specials. You might even be asked to join that store's preferred shopping program, which could save you even more money. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-store-loyalty-programs-that-are-worth-it?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Store Loyalty Programs That Are Worth It</a>)</p> <h3>3. What You Like to Buy Online</h3> <p>Many of us are turning to online shopping as a way to beat the stress of visiting brick-and-mortar stores. Just know that your credit card provider will be happy to share your online shopping habits if you pay with plastic. If you buy flowers for every Valentine's Day, birthday, or anniversary, local and national florists might start targeting you with advertisements boasting of their own specials.</p> <h3>4. Details About Your Financial Health</h3> <p>Your credit card provider can glean much about your financial health through your transactions. If you are constantly shopping at thrift or secondhand stores, this could be a sign that you are struggling financially. If you decide to request a credit line increase, or an APR decrease, you might not be approved. Or even if you decide to apply for a new credit card with the same bank, they might use this information in their decision. Of course, you might also start getting advertisements from companies who target such consumers &mdash; everyone from mortgage lenders eager to refinance your home loan to a lower interest rate, to insurance providers eager to get you into what they consider a lower-cost auto insurance policy.</p> <h3>5. The Medications You Need</h3> <p>Ever charge your visits to the doctor or dentist? Maybe you also charge your prescriptions? Don't be surprised if this information is shared, bringing advertisements from a host of medical providers. If you prefer that your medical histories and treatments remain private, you might want to pay with cash instead.</p> <h2>So &mdash; What Are the Privacy Rules?</h2> <p>Thanks to the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Modernization Act of 1999, you'll receive a privacy letter from your credit card provider when you first open your account and, in most cases, once every year thereafter.</p> <p>The letter will state how your credit card provider intends to use your personal financial information. It might state that your provider uses information from your transactions for its own internal purposes.</p> <p>Your credit provider usually will state that it might share your financial information as a way to market its own products and services to you, and that it will share your information with affiliated businesses. Maybe the parent company behind your credit card also runs a mortgage business. It might share your information with this affiliated business unit, meaning that you might be targeted for refinance and mortgage advertisements.</p> <p>The letter might also mention that your provider will share information about you with nonaffiliated companies. These are outside companies that aren't a part of your credit card provider's family of business units.</p> <h2>How Can You Limit What's Shared?</h2> <p>You do have some control over how your credit card company shares your information. Read the privacy statement you receive each year. It will tell you how to opt out of <em>some </em>of this info-sharing. You might have to call your provider, write a letter, send an email, or fill out an online form.</p> <p>You can't opt out of all sharing, though. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says that you can stop your credit card provider from sharing information with nonaffiliated companies. You can also stop your provider from sharing information that appears on your three credit reports &mdash; one each maintained by Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion &mdash; with affiliated companies. The bureau, though, says that you can't stop your provider from sharing information with affiliated companies when that information is based solely on the transactions you have made with your credit card.</p> <p>If you are uncomfortable with the information that credit cards gather about your spending, make sure to read the privacy notices carefully and follow the instructions to opt out, and then try to make your purchases in cash.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/careful-your-cc-may-be-sharing-this-private-info">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/stop-dont-cut-up-your-credit-cards">Stop! Don&#039;t Cut Up Your Credit Cards</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/when-does-your-credit-card-start-charging-interest-on-a-purchase">When Does Your Credit Card Start Charging Interest on a Purchase?</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/this-is-how-americans-spent-their-money-in-the-1950s">This Is How Americans Spent Their Money in the 1950s</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-best-credit-cards-for-travel-purchases">Best Credit Cards for Travel Purchases</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/is-credit-monitoring-ever-worth-it">Is Credit Monitoring Ever Worth It?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards credit reports data privacy sharing information shopping spending habits spending history Wed, 25 Jan 2017 16:32:04 +0000 Dan Rafter 1879590 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Simple Ways to Protect Yourself From Medical Records Theft http://www.wisebread.com/7-simple-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-medical-records-theft <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-simple-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-medical-records-theft" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/medical_records_theft_4391261.jpg" alt="Finding ways to protect yourself from medical records theft" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Hacker attacks on medical records are exploding, with more than 113 million health files stolen in 2015. Criminals are using health records to commit medical identity theft, a crime that causes even more suffering than financial identity theft.</p> <p>Think having credit cards or a mortgage opened in your name is a nightmare? Maybe, but it's nothing compared to what victims of medical identity theft have suffered. Victims of this crime often suffer from financial fraud, just like those who have their credit cards compromised, says Ann Patterson, program director of the Medical Identity Fraud Alliance.</p> <p>Resolving medical identity fraud is much more difficult than cleaning up a case of financial ID theft. The majority of medical ID theft victims reported spending an average of <a href="http://medidfraud.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/2014_Medical_ID_Theft_Study1.pdf">$13,500 on lawyer fees</a> or medical bills in their names, compared to an average of just $55 to clean up financial ID theft, according to a 2015 Ponemon Institute survey. And with no centralized source to consult like a credit report, and no real-time alerts like banks and credit monitoring services, it may take a long time to even realize you're a victim of medical identity theft, Patterson warns.</p> <p>Whether you have just received a discomfiting letter from your health care provider that a data breach has occurred, or you simply want to head off this kind of life disruption before it happens, here are seven steps you can take to protect yourself from medical ID theft.</p> <h2>1. Read Your Mail</h2> <p>Those explanation of benefits statements from doctors' offices and hospitals may not be light reading, but you should look at them, at the least to verify that you saw the provider named on the date listed. Also, if you get mail from an unfamiliar doctor's office, don't toss it out without reading it &mdash; what you might think is junk mail could actually be a bill taken out in your name by an identity thief.</p> <h2>2. Review Your Medical Records</h2> <p>One positive thing about medical records going online is that it makes it easier for patients to periodically check that all the procedures listed there were actually performed on you, and that the details listed match your identity. If your records aren't online, you can ask to check your file when you're at the doctor's office.</p> <p>Reviewing medical records could be a matter of life and death, because &quot;information, such as an allergy to penicillin, is often <a href="http://icitech.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/ICIT-Brief-Deep-Web-Exploitation-of-Health-Sector-Breach-Victims2.pdf">deleted from a patient's medical record</a> when it is stolen by a hacker or used by a buyer,&quot; warns the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology in a report that was presented to the US Senate in September.</p> <h2>3. Ask About Safeguards</h2> <p>Whether it's your doctor's office or your kids' school collecting data about your family, ask what happens to the paperwork you fill out. Is it shredded after being entered into a database, or tossed into the recycling? What kind of security protects those databases?</p> <h2>4. Don't Always Do as You're Told</h2> <p>Medical forms frequently ask for the patient's social security number. Patterson leaves that line blank, and if challenged, she explains that the omission is for privacy reasons. &quot;I have yet to be refused medical care because I refused to provide my Social Security number,&quot; she says.</p> <h2>5. Treat Health Information Like Financial Information</h2> <p>Just as you should shred your tax documents and bank statements before tossing them, you should shred your doctor's office visit receipts, prescription labels, and even destroy prescription bottles with information stickers on them, Patterson says.</p> <p>And if you wouldn't post your bank account balance on social media, don't be so quick to divulge upcoming medical treatments either. While it might be hard to imagine the harm in asking for thoughts and prayers for an upcoming surgery, Patterson urges patients to look at their profile from a criminal's point of view.</p> <p>&quot;You're putting out free information to give a detailed profile of you,&quot; she says, such as what region you live in, what doctors you frequent, and what ailments you have. If a criminal knows you have cancer, for instance, they may be able to &quot;buy painkillers in your name and not raise a red flag immediately, because it fits your profile,&quot; she says.</p> <p>If you think it's okay to share such information because your posts are only seen by friends and family, consider that, according to the Ponemon Institute, about half of medical ID fraud is committed by people who know the legitimate account holder.</p> <h2>6. Use Monitoring Services When Offered</h2> <p>It's now common for health insurers and other providers who have been hacked to offer members free fraud monitoring services. Take advantage of the offer! Patterson says that less than half of consumers offered free subscriptions actually sign up. Although they monitor for financial fraud &mdash; they won't tell you that someone checked in as you at a hospital &mdash; the services can provide valuable red flags. For instance, if a fraudulent medical bill goes into collections, it will show up on your credit report, and therefore trigger a fraud monitoring alert.</p> <h2>7. Be Careful What You Tell Your App</h2> <p>There are lots of fitness and health monitoring apps and websites nowadays, and while it's fine to sign up for one, look into the company that made the product, and think carefully about how much personal health data you share with them.</p> <p>&quot;Most of these companies are not regulated in the same way as your health care provider or health plan to protect your personal health information,&quot; MIFA warns.</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/7-simple-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-medical-records-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/how-to-handle-a-massive-medical-bill">How to Handle a Massive Medical Bill</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-protect-your-credit-after-the-equifax-breach">How to Protect Your Credit After the Equifax 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-to-protect-elderly-loved-ones-from-financial-scams">How to Protect Elderly Loved Ones From Financial Scams</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/will-a-dental-discount-plan-save-you-money">Will A Dental Discount Plan Save You Money?</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/dont-panic-do-this-if-your-identity-gets-stolen">Don&#039;t Panic: Do This If Your Identity Gets Stolen</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Consumer Affairs Health and Beauty credit monitoring doctors fraud health care medical identity theft medical records privacy safeguards social media thieves Fri, 28 Oct 2016 09:30:25 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1821821 at http://www.wisebread.com How Much Personal Finance Info Should You Share? http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-personal-finance-info-should-you-share <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-much-personal-finance-info-should-you-share" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_shocked_face_71844019.jpg" alt="Woman learning how much personal finance info she should share" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Money is one of those topics that is not often discussed freely. In fact, it is common for people to disguise how much money they really have.</p> <p>But then there are a few people who are happy to say exactly how much money they make without holding anything back. Some people even post their income and net worth updates on the Internet every month! Is there a benefit to freely sharing personal finance information?</p> <h2>What Can Go Wrong When Sharing Too Much About Your Finances</h2> <p>There are some good reasons people tend to avoid disclosing details when talking about money. Much like the usual sensitive topics of religion and politics, open conversations about money can result in friction and even damaged relationships. If you reveal how much money &mdash; or debt &mdash; you really have, you can make people uncomfortable or even lose friends.</p> <p>People have a strong sense of fairness about money, and sharing financial details can highlight inequity and cause hard feelings: &quot;Why does that person make more than me when I work harder?&quot; Sensitivity about salary fairness is accentuated among people who work for the same employer.</p> <p>When you reveal your financial details, you may unintentionally hurt someone's feelings and sense of self-worth. Let's say that in a moment of truthfulness, you decide to reveal how much you make to a close friend. Imagine how disappointed your friend would feel if he/she makes a lot less than you. On the other hand, imagine your dismay if your friend surprises you by revealing that she makes a lot more than you. Discussing your income can spark feelings of dissatisfaction that can last for a long time.</p> <p>Money can divide people into &quot;us&quot; versus &quot;them.&quot; The Occupy Wall Street movement with dividing lines drawn at the 99% versus the 1% is a dramatic example of this. It can be hard to relate to someone if you think they are in a different economic situation and that they do not face the same problems and issues that you are dealing with. Imagine if you suddenly learned your friend who you see as a peer makes twice as much income as you. This may impact your relationship since you know your friend has options and financial resources that are not available to you. Your friendships may be stronger if you do not know how much your money your friends make.</p> <p>If you reveal that you have a lot of debt and/or little savings, others may think that you are not competent with money and may assume that you are not competent at other things as well. Some people feel that borrowing money to buy things you don't really need is irresponsible, especially when they are forgoing such purchases in order to pay down debt and achieve financial independence. Discussing money freely may bring up differences in philosophy about saving and spending that can make it harder for people to relate to each other.</p> <p>Once you reveal personal finance details, it is impossible to put the toothpaste back in the tube. Once your secret is out, your financial privacy has been lost and there is no way to get it back.</p> <h2>Why Do Some People Reveal Everything?</h2> <p>Even with all of the downsides to revealing financial details, some people are eager to share full details of their personal finances. Why?</p> <p>Some people use &quot;full financial disclosure&quot; as a way to keep themselves accountable and motivated to improve their financial situation. If I had to publish my income and net worth every month, I can see how this would make me focus on getting the numbers to look as good as possible. Plus, I wouldn't want to have to explain any embarrassing purchases or debt. Publishing financial information to help stay on track is sort of like participating a weight loss program where you share a list of everything you eat with your group. You are less likely to slip up if you know you will have to share your setbacks with the world.</p> <p>Some people share their financial details to get attention &mdash; and money. Personal finance bloggers know that sharing their income and financial details publicly can generate traffic to their blog. People are curious to see how much money other people make and how they spend it. I find it fascinating to look at other people's expenses so I can look for areas where I could improve my own budget. Some personal finance blogs are set up with a stated monetary goal and readers can track the blogger's progress toward the goal over time. Sharing intimate financial details on a blog helps build a following which generates income from advertising.</p> <p>Another benefit of full disclosure is that you don't have to worry about keeping secrets. You can speak freely about money without worrying about something slipping out. If you reveal your financial details to others, they are more likely to share their details with you. You might learn lessons from their experience that you can use to improve your own finances.</p> <h2>How Much Should You Share?</h2> <p>How much personal finance information should you share? The right answer for you depends on your comfort level with your financial situation and what you hope to accomplish by sharing. I see little benefit to sharing my personal finance information and lots of potential drawbacks. I could always change my mind and decide to share later, but for now I am keeping my personal finances personal.</p> <p>One of the biggest problems with sharing personal finance details is that once you share, your information is out and there is no way to get it back. You won't be able to get people to forget that number if you change your mind later and regret sharing it.</p> <p>In the end, your finances matter much more to you and your family than to anyone else. Others may be curious, but your money situation doesn't directly impact anyone outside your family very much. Most people have more to lose than to gain by freely sharing their financial details.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-personal-finance-info-should-you-share">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/is-six-figures-really-that-much">Is Six Figures Really That Much?</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-money-conversations-every-couple-should-have">5 Money Conversations Every Couple Should Have</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/8-things-i-learned-about-money-after-getting-married">8 Things I Learned About Money After Getting Married</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/why-couples-fight-over-money-and-what-to-do-about-it">Why Couples Fight Over Money and What to Do About It</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/does-your-net-worth-even-matter">Does Your Net Worth Even Matter?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Lifestyle debts friendships income information oversharing privacy relationships Tue, 27 Sep 2016 09:00:07 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1800653 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Reasons Alone Time Is Good For Your Soul http://www.wisebread.com/9-reasons-alone-time-is-good-for-your-soul <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-reasons-alone-time-is-good-for-your-soul" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_reading_book_000061374724.jpg" alt="Woman learning reasons alone time is good for her soul" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My friends, family, and significant other? They are fabulous. We get along great, and I love being around them... most of the time. As a self-proclaimed introvert though, I have to admit that my alone time is just as precious to me. There are countless <a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Fun-Things-Do-Yourself-35362035">fun things to do alone</a>, and while it's nice to have company, sometimes it's extremely refreshing to appreciate life from a perspective that's entirely your own.</p> <p>I recently went on a weekend getaway in Southern California with just myself, a beautiful new <a href="http://www.ford.com/cars/mustang/" target="_blank">2015 Ford Mustang</a>, and miles of open desert road. Whether it was the fresh air and warm sun or the endless hours of freedom I had at my fingertips, I came out the other end of my adventure feeling like a new person. If you're able to, take some time to yourself &mdash; whether it's just an for hour or for an entire trip &mdash; and see what it can do for you. Here are more reasons why alone time is good for your soul.</p> <p>RELATED:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Career-Tips-Introverts-38279445">7 Totally Practical Career Tips For Office Introverts</a></p> <h2>1. Being Alone Gives You Time to Think</h2> <p>Life can be crazy sometimes &mdash; crazy good, crazy bad, or just crazy busy &mdash; and it's easy to get caught up in your hectic week or month and forget to allow yourself time to process things. Being alone gives us the time we all need to reflect on important events and to organize our feelings about the things that have happened. Without this, we can get overwhelmed with all we are trying to juggle mentally, and this can cause extra anxiety and stress.</p> <h2>2. You Can Get Creative</h2> <p>There's nothing like putting on headphones, listening to your favorite songs, and getting down to work. It doesn't matter if you're a writer, an artist, a musician, or a software engineer; we all have creative outlets and we all need to nurture them as much as we can. Being by yourself gives you the motivation and the opportunity to open your mind and explore new ideas, then put those ideas to good use.</p> <p>RELATED:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Working-From-Home-Tips-37778375">11 of the Best Work-From-Home Hacks Ever</a></p> <h2>3. You Can Recharge</h2> <p>Being around people is both exhilarating and exhausting. It means having to constantly be alert and aware of what's going on around you and in conversations that require your full attention. Socializing at work and with friends is definitely a positive thing, but it can also be draining. When you're alone, you can use that quiet time to recharge and regroup. It's essential to do this so that when you're around people again, you feel refreshed, more energetic, and ready to interact.</p> <h2>4. You Get to Know Yourself Better</h2> <p>Spending time alone means taking your thoughts and feelings into account above anyone else's, and when you do this, you get to explore your personality in depth. The more time you get to know yourself, the more you'll find out just how awesome you are.</p> <p>RELATED:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Best-Career-Advice-38400406">Real People Share the Greatest Career Advice They've Ever Received</a></p> <h2>5. You Become More Independent</h2> <p>When you're alone, you don't have the option of depending on other people for their opinions, advice, or help. You call all the shots, and even though that can be scary sometimes, it also means you become more reliant on yourself &mdash; and this is a great thing. Being independent means being self-assured, so that you can bring that confidence to the table when you're with people, too.</p> <h2>6. You See and Hear Things You Wouldn't Otherwise</h2> <p>We often make idle conversation with people just to fill the silence, but when we're quiet, we can hear and see things we don't notice otherwise. We are able to appreciate the small things in life because we don't miss them when they happen, and being alone can help you pay more attention to those important moments.</p> <h2>7. You Get to Do Whatever You Want to Do</h2> <p>You don't have to make compromises with anyone on where to eat, what movie to watch, or what sights to see on a trip. You can spend all the time you'd like to doing exactly what you want to do, and while having company is sometimes welcome, going on your own private adventures can be just as exciting and fulfilling.</p> <p>RELATED:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Things-You-Learn-Your-First-Job-38155545">13 of the Greatest Lessons We Learned at Our First Jobs</a></p> <h2>8. You're More Productive</h2> <p>It's easier to get more things accomplished when you're free from distractions &mdash; including people &mdash; and taking some time to yourself to put all your efforts into getting things checked off your to-do list can be extremely rewarding.</p> <h2>9. You Appreciate the People in Your Life</h2> <p>Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right? Taking some time away from the people in your life can help you realize how important and valuable they are to you. This break can renew your excitement for spending time with the people who you care about the most, and you will return from spending time alone happier and more enthusiastic about seeing them.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Need an excuse for more alone time? Here are nine reasons it&#039;s good for you. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p style="text-align:center;"><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com" style="border:none;"><img alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u921/POPSUGARrgb.jpg" style="height:95px; width:300px" /></a></p> <p><em>This is a guest contribution from our friends at </em><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/"><em>POPSUGAR Smart Living</em></a><em>. Check out more useful articles from this partner:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Career-Tips-Introverts-38279445">7 Totally Practical Career Tips For Office Introverts</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Working-From-Home-Tips-37778375">11 of the Best Work-From-Home Hacks Ever</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Best-Career-Advice-38400406">Real People Share the Greatest Career Advice They've Ever Received</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Things-You-Learn-Your-First-Job-38155545">13 of the Greatest Lessons We Learned at Our First Jobs</a></li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/popsugar-smart-living">POPSUGAR Smart Living</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-reasons-alone-time-is-good-for-your-soul">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/16-ways-you-are-causing-road-rage">16 Ways You Are Causing Road Rage</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/learn-to-love-winter-with-some-simple-self-deception">Mental Tricks That Will Help You Hate Winter Less</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/invest-your-time-in-these-13-things-while-youre-in-your-20s">Invest Your Time in These 13 Things While You&#039;re in Your 20s</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/will-that-thing-really-change-your-life">Will That Thing Really Change Your Life?</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/7-tips-to-avoid-watching-a-crappy-movie">7 tips to avoid watching a crappy movie.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Lifestyle Personal Development alone time emotional health introvert me time mental health privacy solo tips Fri, 06 Nov 2015 09:15:11 +0000 POPSUGAR Smart Living 1577435 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Facebook Updates That Are Making You Look Stupid http://www.wisebread.com/7-facebook-updates-that-are-making-you-look-stupid <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-facebook-updates-that-are-making-you-look-stupid" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young-man-smartphone-177381725-small.jpg" alt="young man smartphone" title="young man smartphone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>While 73% of online adults use several forms of social media, <a href="http://www.pewinternet.org/2013/12/30/social-media-update-2013/">Facebook remains their first choice</a>.</p> <p>And that's what we love about Facebook. When we put up an update, somebody is going to read it. However, not of all your updates are as smart as you think. Actually, some of them might be making you look inconsiderate or, even worse, dumb. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-break-your-social-media-habit?ref=seealso">5 Ways to Break Your Social Media Habit</a>)</p> <p>Here are the top seven types of Facebook updates to avoid.</p> <h2>1. Accusing Somebody Before Checking the Facts</h2> <p>One of the best things about Facebook is the ability to interact with people around the world in real time. However, this ability should increase your awareness of what you're about to post.</p> <p>For example, when Facebook rolled out a feature that allowed its users to donate money to fight ebola, an user was quick to call out this as a <a href="http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/zuckerberg-has-perfect-comeback-troll-accusing-facebook-exploiting-ebola-161271">marketing ploy from Facebook</a>. The user even asked how much Facebook was donating to the cause. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg personally replied to this comment pointing out that his wife and he had themselves <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/14/zuckerberg-ebola_n_5982762.html">donated $25 million to fight ebola</a>.</p> <p>Before you post, make sure to check out your facts. After all, they're often just a Google search away. If you are too lazy to do it, you deserve to be called out.</p> <h2>2. Including Spelling and Grammar Errors</h2> <p>Nobody is perfect. A minor typo in a long essay or memo is understandable. However, short Facebook updates, such as &quot;Grandma, your amazing!&quot; and &quot;And that's why I told their wants fewer waters&quot; make spelling and grammar errors stand out. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-grammar-mistakes-that-are-making-you-look-stupid?ref=seealso">12 Grammar Mistakes That Are Making You Look Stupid</a>)</p> <p>Here are some steps to prevent those mistakes:</p> <ul> <li>Most desktop and mobile browsers (e.g. <a href="https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/how-do-i-use-firefox-spell-checker">Firefox</a>) offer a spell checker, so use that feature to proofread your posts.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The bulk of grammar errors result from homonyms, which are words that share the same pronunciation, regardless of their spelling. Some examples are your/you're, to/two/too/ and they/their/they're. Review this list of <a href="http://grammar.about.com/od/words/a/HomonymChart.htm">200 homonyms</a> and keep an eye out for them.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Remember that you can edit the text of updates after they go live.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Thank people that point out your grammar and spelling errors. A simple &quot;thank you&quot; is the only right answer; anything else only highlights your mistake even more.</li> </ul> <h2>3. WRITING EVERYTHING IN CAPS</h2> <p><a href="http://uxmovement.com/content/all-caps-hard-for-users-to-read/">Using all caps in your Facebook updates</a> makes them harder to read. When you write in all caps, your text is <a href="http://www.bergsland.org/2012/06/typography/how-your-readers-see-your-letters-legibility/">40% less legible</a> than text using the right mix of uppercase and lowercase. You should reserve the use of all caps for very few instances, such as abbreviations and acronyms. Otherwise, you will come off as the crazy person in the park that shouts out random comments to strangers. That's a terrible look!</p> <p>Try this test. Read out loud each of the sentences below:</p> <ul> <li>&quot;What are you doing?&quot;</li> <li>&quot;WHAT ARE YOU DOING?&quot;</li> </ul> <p>While the first sentence sounds friendly, the second one sounds scary and intimidating. How would you rather be perceived?</p> <h2>4. Getting Your Priorities Wrong</h2> <p>Imagine this scenario. You just poured battery fluid all over your hand and are experiencing a terrible allergic reaction. You are desperately searching for antihistamine cream, but can't find any.</p> <p>What would you do?</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">a) Call a friend or relative for help</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">b) Head to your neighbor's place to check if they have any antihistamine cream</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">c) Drive or walk to the nearest pharmacy</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">d) Dial 911</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">e) Post about it on Facebook</p> <p><a href="http://emgn.com/entertainment/16-people-who-got-owned-on-facebook/3/">Don't be the person that goes for option e</a>.</p> <h2>5. Being Passive Aggressive</h2> <p>I agree with American Idol's host, Ryan Seacrest, in that the passive aggressive Facebook updates make you look like a brat.</p> <p>Here is an <a href="http://www.ryanseacrest.com/2011/07/05/the-5-most-annoying-types-of-facebook-status-updates/">example from Ryan</a>:</p> <p>&quot;I'll never be able to forgive you for what you did. I hope you realize that what goes around, comes around&hellip; you'll see soon enough.&quot;</p> <p>While people understand that you may have an ongoing argument with somebody, they may not understand why you're involving all of your 500 Facebook friends in it. Stop chastising that somebody with random and vague Facebook posts (also known as &quot;vaguebooking&quot;). Instead address your issue with that somebody in private and, more importantly, move on.</p> <p>Your Facebook friends will thank you for keeping their feeds free of drama.</p> <h2>6. Sharing Too Much Information</h2> <p>If you feed looks like this&hellip;</p> <ul> <li>&quot;Today, I'm heading with Bobby to the new Thai restaurant, Spices.&quot;</li> <li>&quot;Only one hour until Bobby and I head to Spices!&quot;</li> <li>&quot;Allright! Lunch time! Spices, here we come!&quot;</li> <li>&quot;Just got to Spices, OMG, everything is so good.&quot;</li> <li>&quot;Selfie with the waiter.&quot;</li> <li>&quot;Bobby got the panang curry!&quot;</li> <li>&quot;Nom, nom, nom, this is SO GOOD!&quot;</li> </ul> <p>&hellip;then you're annoying the crap out of your Facebook friends. A recent survey puts &quot;people sharing too much information about themselves&quot; at the top of the <a href="http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/02/03/6-new-facts-about-facebook/">list of what Facebook users strongly dislike</a>.</p> <p>There are plenty of studies that recommend that the posting frequency sweet spot is <a href="https://blog.bufferapp.com/social-media-frequency-guide">between 5 and 10 posts per week</a>. Keep your feed smart by posting around once per day &mdash; and maybe twice.</p> <h2>7. Sharing About Others Without Their Permission</h2> <p>&quot;Posting things about your or pictures of you without asking permission&quot; ties at number one on that same survey about Facebook user dislikes. It makes sense for two reasons:</p> <ul> <li>First, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/notes/social-jobs-partnership/recruiting-survey-social-media-helps-connect-job-seekers-with-employers/404484379619706">half of American employers are using Facebook in their hiring process</a>. You don't want to be the reason why a potential employer didn't hire your best friend.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Second, some people just like their privacy. If you want to share updates and pictures of others, make sure that those others are ok with it in the first place. This is a major issue for parents: <a href="http://www.today.com/parents/dont-post-my-kids-photo-facebook-parents-plead-2D12092742">68% of parents don't allow others to post photos of their child on Facebook</a>.</li> </ul> <p>Don't assume that people (and their children!) want to be on your Facebook wall. Check for their permission and respect their desire for privacy if they decline your request. Be smart and stay out of trouble.</p> <p><em>What is your pet peeve of Facebook updates? Please share in comments &mdash; or on our Facebook page!</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/7-facebook-updates-that-are-making-you-look-stupid">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/flashback-friday-34-smart-ways-to-improve-your-social-media-presence">Flashback Friday: 34 Smart Ways to Improve Your Social Media Presence</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-twitter-updates-that-are-making-you-look-dumb">6 Twitter Updates That Are Making You Look Dumb</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/9-things-people-with-good-phone-skills-never-do">9 Things People With Good Phone Skills Never Do</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-ways-social-media-can-save-you-money">6 Ways Social Media Can Save You Money</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/secrets-to-finding-and-winning-facebook-promotional-giveaways">Secrets to Finding and Winning Facebook Promotional Giveaways</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development etiquette Facebook posting privacy social media Mon, 17 Nov 2014 12:00:10 +0000 Damian Davila 1254699 at http://www.wisebread.com Secrets to Finding and Winning Facebook Promotional Giveaways http://www.wisebread.com/secrets-to-finding-and-winning-facebook-promotional-giveaways <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/secrets-to-finding-and-winning-facebook-promotional-giveaways" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000011259011Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Remember how I told you about my <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sweeping-101-what-the-real-winners-know">secret hobby as a sweeper</a>? Even with an increasingly busy schedule, I make time to enter sweepstakes for about 20 minutes each day. My efforts have definitely paid off; in the past four months, I have won a video camera, books, and an iPad 2 &mdash; all from <a href="http://www.facebook.com/">Facebook</a> promotions! Like most other kinds of sweepstakes, you can&rsquo;t win if you don&rsquo;t play. However, there are some unique aspects of Facebook sweepstakes that are important to note if you're going to participate.</p> <h3>Finding Facebook Giveaways</h3> <p>Many of the better giveaways can be found with the same tactics used to track down other promotions. (Read more on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-win-free-stuff-from-blog-giveaways">how to find blog giveaways</a>.) Because Facebook promotions aren&rsquo;t as heavily advertised, however, and the entry time can be much shorter (both increasing your winning odds), you will need to use some extra resources to find them. The best way to find most is through the <a href="http://www.wildfireapp.com/website/6/contests">WildFire App website</a>. It will have all of the promotions running with that app (the most popular at this time), and you can sort by sweepstakes or contests, as well as ending time. Also, since many Facebook giveaways are for local businesses, you can pay less than $30 for membership to a site like <a href="http://sweetiessecretsweeps.com/">Sweetie&rsquo;s Secret Sweeps</a>, and it will list promotions specific to your state, only.</p> <h3>Entering Facebook Giveaways</h3> <p>Since many of the rules for promoting and running a giveaway on Facebook <a href="http://www.facebook.com/promotions_guidelines.php">have changed recently</a>, there is a bit of confusion on how to enter successfully. Many believe that asking entrants to &ldquo;Like&rdquo; the company&rsquo;s fan page as a requirement for entry is illegal. Actually, you can require it, but it can&rsquo;t be the sole method of entry; they would still need to fill out some kind of form. Also, companies aren&rsquo;t supposed to have you comment or post on a wall for the sole method of entry; they are encouraged to use reliable third-party promotional applications to take your info.</p> <p><img width="390" height="245" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u148/Sweepstakes%20Like%20button.jpg" /></p> <p>(<em>Why is this important?</em> Many entrants mistakenly forget to &ldquo;Like&rdquo; a company when entering a giveaway, but companies are allowed to choose a winner only from fans. This means that if you skip this important step, you&rsquo;re entry won&rsquo;t count!) To find out what is required of you to submit a legitimate entry, read the official rules for all Facebook sweepstakes.</p> <p>One other thing to note is that many Facebook giveaways are hidden to anyone who doesn&rsquo;t &ldquo;Like&rdquo; a promotion. This is called &ldquo;Like-gating&rdquo;, and while it is legitimate, you have to remember that the act of Liking will not count as entry alone. (You still need to fill out that form!)</p> <h3>Calculating Your Odds</h3> <p>In the traditional sweepstakes world, tens of thousands of entrants compete for the same prize. Some promotions, like the <a href="http://www.hgtv.com/dream-home/index.html">HGTV dream home giveaway</a>, can generate millions of entries. Facebook giveaways, on the other hand, usually offer more modest prizes, having a shorter timeframe for entry, and aren&rsquo;t as heavily advertised. You can actually see how many people may be eligible to win by looking at the number of &ldquo;Likes&rdquo; a company has. (ABC Company, for example, has only 9,000 fans at the time of a giveaway ending. Assuming that not all of those fans entered the giveaway, you can assume that your odds are pretty good!)</p> <p><img width="182" height="89" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u148/number%20of%20likes.jpg" /></p> <p>Remember that many entrants have skipped the &ldquo;Like&rdquo; step &mdash; making your odds even better.</p> <h3>Sweepstakes vs. Contests</h3> <p>Because Facebook is all about the social aspect, it seems to have a higher-than-average percentage of contests on the site. (Contests are giveaways that require some level of engagement, like submitting a photo or essay, and then has voting or judging to determine a winner. Sweepstakes, on the other hand, are completely random. This means that if you aren&rsquo;t a fan of having to ask friends to vote, or you aren&rsquo;t particularly creative, you might not do as well. For those who want to enter purely as a numbers game, sweepstakes &mdash; or those promotions that are completely random &mdash; are for you. If you have a large social circle and are a talented photographer, for example, contests may be more your thing.</p> <h3>Being Notified as a Winner</h3> <p>Per the terms of Facebook, companies cannot use Facebook to tell you that you&rsquo;ve won. Assuming that you filled out the entry form correctly, they should have some other method to contact you (email, phone, etc.). This means that you don&rsquo;t have to keep checking your Facebook wall or messages to make sure that you didn&rsquo;t miss a big win. You should find out in a more reliable way.</p> <h3>Privacy Issues</h3> <p>You can often tell if a person enters many Facebook giveaways by looking at their wall. It isn&rsquo;t necessary to notify the world of your entries, however, especially if the sponsoring company doesn&rsquo;t quite line up with your image. (When I first got started, a wall post went up letting the world know about a trip I entered to win &mdash; sponsored by a condom company.)</p> <p>Once you have &ldquo;Liked&rdquo; a company and proceed to enter, you will be prompted to allow Facebook to access your information. This won&rsquo;t share anything with your friends, or even post anything to your wall. It is the only way to proceed with the giveaway, however, so make sure you hit &ldquo;Allow&rdquo; for your entry to continue.</p> <p><img alt="" style="width: 509px; height: 262px;" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u148/Request%20for%20Permission.jpg" /></p> <p>Upon submitting their sweepstakes form, there is usually a small checkmark at the bottom that says &ldquo;post to wall&rdquo;. You can always uncheck this if you don&rsquo;t want your wall cluttered with hundreds of giveaway notifications.</p> <p><img alt="" style="width: 499px; height: 150px;" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u148/Uncheck%20share%20on%20wall.jpg" /></p> <p>Many promotions will also prompt you to share with your friends. You can also &ldquo;skip&rdquo; this step. (Once you receive confirmation of your entry into the giveaway, you are under no further obligation to share, post, or refer.)</p> <p><img width="605" height="254" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u148/Sweepstakes%20on%20Facebook%20%282%29%20-%20Mozilla%20Firefox%208132011%20100742%20AM.jpg" /></p> <p>Also, if you don&rsquo;t want your &ldquo;Interest&rdquo; profile littered with beer companies or strange hobbies, you can always &ldquo;Unlike&rdquo; a company after the end of the promotion. (Just go to the company&rsquo;s fan page, and look for the &ldquo;Unlike&rdquo; link at the bottom left-hand side of the page.)</p> <p><img width="196" height="258" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u148/Pepto-Bismol%20%282%29%20-%20Mozilla%20Firefox%208132011%20100112%20AM.jpg" /></p> <p>One final piece of advice I can give regarding Facebook giveaways is to get in while the action is hot. Facebook is still a relatively new way to promote sweepstakes, and so the competition isn&rsquo;t nearly as stiff as more traditional methods of entry (online forms at a sponsor&rsquo;s site, blog giveaways, Twitter parties, or mail-ins). Even if you don&rsquo;t use Facebook to communicate with friends and family, I recommend setting up an account with stiff privacy settings for the sole purpose of entering to win!</p> <p><em>Have you won anything cool on Facebook?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/secrets-to-finding-and-winning-facebook-promotional-giveaways">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-i-made-400-in-10-days-by-selling-an-online-course-i-created">How I Made $400 in 10 Days by Selling an Online Course I Created</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-social-media-stars-who-earn-way-more-than-you">5 Social Media Stars Who Earn Way More Than You</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/these-6-instragrammers-are-getting-rich-by-traveling-the-world">These 6 Instragrammers Are Getting Rich by Traveling the World</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-ways-to-make-extra-money-using-social-media">6 Ways to Make Extra Money Using Social Media</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-keep-your-job-search-a-secret">How to Keep Your Job Search a Secret</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income facebook giveaways privacy social media sweepstakes winning Mon, 15 Aug 2011 09:48:16 +0000 Linsey Knerl 662848 at http://www.wisebread.com Attempts to Escape the Clutches of Online Data Aggregators http://www.wisebread.com/attempts-to-escape-the-clutches-of-online-data-aggregators <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/attempts-to-escape-the-clutches-of-online-data-aggregators" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/330329_3972.jpg" alt="exit sign" title="exit sign" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's a new crowd of web sharks on the prowl: they are effective, they are legal, and they want your data. Not only that, but they want your data &mdash; including some very personal stuff &mdash; to be available to anyone who asks &mdash; or pays.</p> <p>They are called <em>data aggregators</em>. These web businesses, with names like Spokeo, Zabasearch, and Intelius, use a search protocol broadly known as deep web crawling to extract information about you from a wide variety of sources including: government census data, social network sites, personal web sites, directories, surveys, business lists and real estate data. All of this information is publicly available. Aggregators don't create data, they mine it.</p> <p>Their rise, which began around 2004, has more recently spawned a new data service niche to, supposedly, protect your online privacy. Companies like <a href="http://www.reputationdefender.com/">Reputation Defender</a> have gone mainstream to advertise, &quot;Take Control of Your Online Identity.&quot;</p> <p>Reputation Defender does that in a couple of ways. First, they counter negative comments about you or your business with positive ones that they claim are optimized for SEO dominance in Google listings. The second way they claim to protect your privacy is to scrub the web of unwanted personal data references. This they propose to accomplish by providing you with a search engine dashboard to monitor personal data disclosures. (Yes, you have to do it yourself.) Once you find something, which presumably occurs with great regularity, you ask Reputation Defender to scrub the data for you.</p> <p>I was curious as to how they did this so I called Reputation Defender and asked the question: &quot;Do you remove primary source data from the web or do you just remove it from the aggregator sites?&quot;</p> <p>The call center representative responded, &quot;You know, that's a difficult question. Let me put you on hold for one second and I'll ask.&quot; He put me on hold for about two minutes before returning to answer, &quot;We don't necessarily remove it from the source, we remove from the aggregators like you mentioned, like Intelius and things like that. But we will continue to remove that information throughout the year, throughout the time you pay for. That's how it works.&quot;</p> <p>The cost? One hundred dollars a year.</p> <p>So I became curious as to just how difficult it was to remove this data myself and resolved to attempt the removal, cutting out the middleman and his hundred dollars a year in the process.</p> <p>Here are a few sites I selected for my experiment:</p> <ul> <li>Intelius</li> <li>MyLife</li> <li>PeopleFinders</li> <li>PeopleSearch Pro</li> <li>Pipl</li> <li>Rapleaf</li> <li>Spokeo</li> <li>Zabasearch</li> </ul> <p>The sites, it would seem, are proliferating like Milfoil in a Minnesota lake, so if I were to check back next quarter, I would not be surprised to find many more.</p> <p>I had heard that Spokeo was a particularly impressive site, so I went there first. The personal data is indeed impressive; we'll get to that in a minute. Another button caught my eye, right off. It read: &quot;Control Your Identity &mdash; Take Control Now.&quot; Upon clicking, I was taken to a page that read, &quot;Monitor and control your public information with IdentityForce&trade; protection.&quot;</p> <p>That's right. <em>The same site that was causing me all this angst was also selling the solution </em>&mdash; a solution just like Reputation Defender! I was immediately transported back to Econ 101. The way to riches in America is to create a perceived problem and solve it. Like yellow teeth and Pepsodent. Or wrinkled brows and Botox. But Spokeo has taken this one step further. They have created an <em>actual</em> problem and the simultaneous solution. This is like a spammer selling a no-spam solution.</p> <p>Reputation Defender, it should be said, approaches this level of perfidy by advertising on Spokeo's site. The relationship ensures that some portion of your fee goes to sustaining the entity that compromises your privacy. The privacy policy of one aggregator blithely informs you that it may share your data with foreign entities. Nigerian scammers, your ship has arrived!</p> <p>Interestingly, the data is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate. To your supposed benefit, however, according to Spokeo, &quot;The data provided to you by Spokeo may not be used as a factor in establishing a consumer's eligibility for credit, insurance, employment purposes, or for any other purpose authorized under the FCRA.&quot; But what's to stop someone from using this data for a prohibited purpose?</p> <h2>Opting Out</h2> <p>So what did I find? At Spokeo, I found the quantity of aggregated data about me was, well, startling. They had my address, my birth date, the names and ages of my kids, my home phone, my wife's name, photos, a photo of my house, a flattering assessment of my real estate worth, assorted photos, and <em>much, much, more</em>, as they say in the biz. Not only that, but for just $2.95 a month for a year, they promised far more detailed information including estimates of my net worth and who knows what else.</p> <p>I resolved to get rid of it all, just like Reputation Defender promised for only $100 a year. For MyLife, at least, the task was surprisingly easy &mdash; almost pleasant! The cheerful voice at the other end of the line asked a few questions to verify my stated identity (in truth, I could have been anybody, but then, why would anyone else care) and, <em>poof</em>, it was done.</p> <p>At <a href="http://www.spokeo.com/">Spokeo</a>, it was a three-step <a href="http://www.spokeo.com/privacy">online procedure</a>. I went to the Spokeo site the following working day and I was gone! Not a trace, even when using variations on my first name and middle initial.</p> <p>But then, this is hardly surprising if you figure their business model is to list the information only to take it down &mdash; for a price.</p> <p>At MyLife, which encourages you to become a member so you can see who is searching you, the process was even better, over the phone, at 800-704-1900. Just like Spokeo, after one working day it was gone.</p> <p>After that, things got stickier. At <a href="http://www.peoplesearchpro.com/">PeopleSearchPro</a>, I had to formally accept their <a href="http://www.peoplesearchpro.com/PSP.aspx?_act=optoutpolicy">Opt-Out Policy</a>, which is rife with caveats and disclaimers, before I could <a href="a%20href=%22%20http:/www.peoplesearchpro.com/PSP.aspx?_act=optout%20%22">opt out online</a>. The additional information related to this policy was some seven pages long. The opt-out term is for only five years. They won't allow a company like Reputation Defenders to act on my behalf. And so far, my data is not gone.</p> <p>Here's what you have to do at <a href="http://www.peoplefinders.com/">PeopleFinders.com</a> (You'll never find it; here's the link to the privacy protection section of their <a href="http://www.peoplefinders.com/privacy.aspx#f">private policy</a>):</p> <blockquote><p>We value your privacy and, upon request, can block your records from being shown on peoplefinders.com from databases we control. We are unable to remove you from databases operated by third parties. To do so, you should contact us by writing a letter, signed by you (we do not accept any unsigned requests or substitute service), giving us your:</p> <p>First name<br /> Last name<br /> Middle initial<br /> Aliases and A.K.A.'s<br /> Complete current address<br /> Date of Birth - including month, day, and year<br /> Additionally, for best results, <em>please include the records that you wish to have suppressed by providing former addresses going back 20 years</em> [italics mine]</p> <p>Please send this letter to:</p> <p>Opt-Out/PeopleFinders.com<br /> 1821 Q Street<br /> Sacramento, CA 95811</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.intelius.com/">Intelius</a> and <a href="http://www.zabasearch.com/">Zabasearch</a> share a unique, and onerous, process for data exclusion. In fact, they share the same fax number to which you must submit your request! And what a request it is. You must supply them with the variant forms of your name you want erased together with a photocopy of your driver's license with the photo and DL number blacked out. That still gives them your height, weight, eye color, current address, and signature. (If you don't have a driver's license you may substitute an official state ID card.) Fax this to 425-974-6194.</p> <p>At <a href="http://radaris.com/page/faq">Radaris.com</a>, which also offers the dreaded fax option:</p> <blockquote><p>You can scan your ID and email it to us along with your written request and your contact information to profile-remove @ radaris.com. Changes may take up to six weeks to implement and are only permanent if the information is also corrected (or deleted) at the original source. Without such a correction, Radaris cannot guarantee that a deletion or correction is permanent.</p> </blockquote> <p>Got that? It is not permanent &mdash; and that doesn't just apply to Radaris. Which is why this all works so well for the Reputation Defender business model of infinite scrubbing, as long as you keep paying your money every year &mdash; and as long as you continue to monitor your own freaking &quot;Dashboard.&quot;</p> <p>At <a href="http://pipl.com/">Pipl</a>, I never did find the Opt Out option, and so sent them an email at <a href="mailto:mail@pipl.com">mail@pipl.com</a>. After three days, I have not received an answer.</p> <h2>The Rankings</h2> <p>Finally, the rankings, using a five-point system, where one is the lowest, slowest, meanest, most anti-consumer mentality around, and five conveys ease and civility:</p> <p>MyLife: <strong>5</strong><br /> Spokeo: <strong>3</strong><br /> Intellius: <strong>2</strong><br /> PeopleSearchPro: <strong>2</strong><br /> Zabasearch: <strong>2</strong><br /> Peoplefinders: <strong>1</strong><br /> Pipl: <strong>1</strong></p> <p>Personally, I would bet that MyLife and Spokeo would be tempted to downgrade their consumer service upon viewing the results. Moreover, who knows how many other companies like this there are on the web &mdash; and how many will pop up tomorrow.</p> <p>To be sure, we are our own worst enemies when it comes to some of this stuff. If you put data about your kids on a Facebook page that is accessible to the public, expect it to turn up here, <em>with</em> photos. But the trend goes beyond that. I looked up the editor-in-chief of an online media company with a common name. It took me 15 seconds to locate her on Spokeo, and in a few more seconds I had her home address and phone number, a photo of her street, her husband's name, and the promise that for $2.95 I could get more info on her kids and who knows what else. And this is a person who regularly appears on television taking on controversial topics. Online aggregators allow hate mail to take a giant leap forward.</p> <p>Is this really how we want to live our data lives online?</p> <p>Feel free to take a shot at clearing your own data, but don't get your hopes up. And don't get your hopes up about services that promise to protect you for a fee. My advice? Play your cards a little closer to your chest and pray for regulation to ease removal of private data online.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This is a guest post by Steve Klingaman, a nonprofit development consultant and nonfiction writer living in Minneapolis. Read more by Steve:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://open.salon.com/blog/steve_klingaman/2010/03/24/four_things_about_health_care_reform">Four Things About Health Care Reform</a></li> <li><a href="http://open.salon.com/blog/steve_klingaman/2010/02/11/2010_year_of_the_roth_ira_conversion">2010: Year of the Roth IRA Conversion</a></li> <li><a href="http://open.salon.com/blog/steve_klingaman/2009/07/30/finally_student_loan_debt_relief_arrives_for_many">Finally! Student Loan Debt Relief Arrives for Many</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/steve-klingaman">Steve Klingaman</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/attempts-to-escape-the-clutches-of-online-data-aggregators">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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-surprising-ways-your-identity-can-be-stolen">18 Surprising Ways Your Identity Can Be Stolen</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/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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-refill-an-ink-cartridge-with-a-small-piece-of-tape">How to refill an ink cartridge with a small piece of tape</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/80-for-an-hdmi-cable-give-me-a-break">$80 for an HDMI Cable? Give Me a Break!</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Technology data security privacy Thu, 01 Jul 2010 13:00:22 +0000 Steve Klingaman 159270 at http://www.wisebread.com Google Reader invades your privacy and it's not going to stop http://www.wisebread.com/google-reader-invades-your-privacy-and-its-not-going-to-stop <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/google-reader-invades-your-privacy-and-its-not-going-to-stop" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/Google_answers.jpg" alt="Google RSS reader answers questions" title="Google RSS reader has privacy issues" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>On December 14, Google added a new sharing feature to their popular <a href="http://www.google.com/reader/">feed reader</a> and lost me as a user. </p> <p>Before December 14, Google Reader already had a &quot;sharing&quot; feature, which allows you to share posts with people that you had <strong>explicitly identified</strong> as friends you wanted to share with. </p> <p>After December 14, Google took everything you&#39;ve ever &quot;shared&quot; and started broadcasting that information to everyone in your Google Talk contact list. This is the new default setting. If you don&#39;t like it, the burden is on YOU to navigate through the settings to opt out of this new feature. Merry Christmas. </p> <p>Google assumes that everyone in your Google Talk contact list is a close friend of yours, ignoring the fact that we often chat with supervisors, customers, competitors, professors, and ex-girlfriends. </p> <p>Here&#39;s a likely scenario. In the past, maybe you&#39;ve shared a lurid post about Britney&#39;s sex life with your old college buddies. You shared that post with them with the understanding that it was just between you guys. Now Google has unilaterally decided that <strong>everyone you have ever chatted with</strong><em> </em>in Google Talk will know that you&#39;ve read and shared this item. </p> <p>What if you were a closet homosexual who shared gay lifestyle articles with discrete partners? What if you were thinking of leaving a physically abusive relationship and you&#39;ve shared spousal abuse articles with the few people you trusted?</p> <h2>Google Bait and Switch Signs of Larger Violations to Come<br /> </h2> <p>This is not some random mistake. According to this 9/12/07 post on <a href="http://blog.wired.com/monkeybites/2007/09/video-leak-goog.html">Wired</a>, this may be part of Google&#39;s plan to compete against Facebook: </p> <blockquote><p>The overall gist of the video is that Google wants to take its existing set of applications and integrate them around Google Reader. Google Reader will become, not just a way to track news items, but also where you can see what your friends are up to.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Now granted, you can already do that to some extent, but you need to set things up by hand. <strong>What Google would like to do is automate and streamline the process</strong> — <strong>as well as add more data to the mix</strong>.</p> </blockquote> <p> Speaking of Facebook, you might recall the Beacon scandal where Facebook shared its users&#39; online shopping history with all their friends on Facebook. Instead of learning from Facebook&#39;s mistakes, rumor has it that Google is considering a similar move. According to <a href="http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/12/19/google-poaching-beacon-partners-for-universal-activity-stream/">Techcrunch</a>: </p> <blockquote><p>Given this controversy, you’d think that Google wouldn’t touch anything remotely Beacon-like with a ten-foot pole. But a source familiar with the matter says that <strong>Google has contacted at least one Facebook Beacon partner</strong>, and perhaps more, in an effort to drum up support for its own initiative for OpenSocial, which it is calling “universal activity streams.&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>These <strong>“universal activity streams” </strong>are meant to <strong>combine all actions you take online, similar to Facebook’s Beacon, and present them as a line of text in your personal activity feed on Google</strong> or an OpenSocial partner site like <a href="http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/11/01/confirmed-myspace-to-join-google-opensocial/">MySpace or Bebo</a>. Within Google, for instance, these feeds could appear in Gmail, iGoogle, or Google Reader. The universal activity stream is expected to launch around February or March of next year. </p> </blockquote> <p>This move with Google Reader is only the first step towards the &quot;universal activity stream.&quot; If we don&#39;t stand up to Google now, they will make their expanded definition of sharing the default for all your other privacy information, such as search results, map queries, Google Docs, Google Notebook, or god forbid, <a href="http://blog.wired.com/monkeybites/2007/10/google-health-w.html">Google Health</a>. </p> <p>Earlier this year, a report by Privacy International <a href="http://www.privacyinternational.org/article.shtml?cmd%5B347%5D=x-347-553961">ranked Google dead last</a> in terms of privacy compliance, stating that there is &quot;an attitude to privacy within Google that at its most blatant is hostile, and at its most benign is ambivalent.&quot;</p> <p>Here are some of Google&#39;s worst offenses:</p> <ul> <li>Google maintains records of all search strings and the associated IP-addresses and time stamps for at least 18 to 24 months and does not provide users with an expungement option. While it is true that many US based companies have not yet established a time frame for retention, there is a prevailing view amongst privacy experts that 18 to 24 months is unacceptable, and possibly unlawful in many parts of the world.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Google has access to additional personal information, including hobbies, employment, address, and phone number, contained within user profiles in Orkut. Google often maintains these records even after a user has deleted his profile or removed information from Orkut. </li> </ul> <ul> <li>Google logs search queries in a manner that makes them personally identifiable but fails to provide users with the ability to edit or otherwise expunge records of their previous searches.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Google fails to give users access to log information generated through their interaction with Google Maps, Google Video, Google Talk, Google Reader, Blogger and other services. </li> </ul> <h2>Google&#39;s Arrogant Defense </h2> <p>The worst part of this whole ordeal is Google&#39;s unwillingness to recognize they did something wrong. In response to angry complaints in its <a href="http://groups.google.com/group/google-reader-howdoi/browse_thread/thread/318c4559e2ac5bbe/e2a7a7d782571c38?#e2a7a7d782571c38">feedback forum</a>, Google came up with this excuse: </p> <blockquote><p>The &quot;share&quot; feature was always intended to imply some amount of publicity. That&#39;s why we used the term &quot;share&quot; and had shared items marked as public by default on the Settings &gt; Tags page. <a href="http://groups.google.com/group/google-reader-howdoi/msg/270c0fc8d4836211">Google Reader Guide</a>. </p> </blockquote> <p>This is what Google is talking about. In the old system, the items you choose to share are published on a page with a obfuscated URL like this:</p> <blockquote><p><a href="http://www.google.com/reader/shared/99935x91944y71z67112" title="http://www.google.com/reader/shared/99935x91944y71z67112">http://www.google.com/reader/shared/45388x91944y71z67112</a> (not an actual working link, just an example). </p> </blockquote> <p>You &quot;share&quot; this link by explicitly telling your friend about this URL. Technically speaking, this page can be accessed by anyone who knows the address. That&#39;s what Google means when it claims the old system &quot;imply some amount of publicity.&quot; </p> <p>But come on. Look at that URL. If you were not told about that URL, there&#39;s no way you could access that page. Clearly the 20 random numbers in the URL is an indication that some amount of privacy is expected, and that <strong>we want the URL to be seen only by people we explicitly shared it with</strong>. </p> <p>Now Google wants to expand the definition of &quot;shared&quot; to include anyone you have ever chatted with on Google Talk (or worse, anyone you&#39;ve ever emailed, if your Gmail setting automatically adds anyone you&#39;ve emailed to your Google Talk contact list). </p> <p>After getting hundreds of complaints, the Google team brushed off their concerns with <a href="http://groups.google.com/group/google-reader-howdoi/msg/512db75caaa1a5cd">this little gem</a>: </p> <blockquote><p> All of us on the Reader team are paying attention and are aware of the feedback from this group. However, we do need to balance all these concerns with keeping the feature useful for those who like it and use it. (<strong>There aren&#39;t many of those on this thread, granted, but this is only a small subset of the people using this feature.</strong>) (emphasis mine) </p> </blockquote> <p>An angry Google user gave this <a href="http://groups.google.com/group/google-reader-howdoi/msg/84116446e62ed047">blistering response</a>:</p> <blockquote><p> The way these people have handled the current user feedback has shown that they are in reality *not* interested in hearing what people think, contrary to what the original post says. It would be safe to say that regardless of what kind of feedback they get, it will be in the minority because most people don&#39;t care that much about the services they use. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>So the people that give feedback will automatically, by their very nature of caring, be in the minority. Saying that they can&#39;t really take such groups into account means that they were in fact lying when they said they wanted feedback. </p> </blockquote> <p>But who needs feedback when you know your company does no evil? </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/will-chen">Will Chen</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/google-reader-invades-your-privacy-and-its-not-going-to-stop">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-simple-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-medical-records-theft">7 Simple Ways to Protect Yourself From Medical Records Theft</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/attempts-to-escape-the-clutches-of-online-data-aggregators">Attempts to Escape the Clutches of Online Data Aggregators</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-not-so-private-parts">The Not-So-Private Parts</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/netspend-the-story-of-the-visa-debit-card-we-did-not-apply-for">netSpend: The Story of the Visa Debit Card We Did Not Apply For</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/stay-secure-in-your-hotel-with-this-8-point-safety-check">Stay Secure in Your Hotel With This 8-Point Safety Check</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs google reader google talk privacy Wed, 26 Dec 2007 08:35:56 +0000 Will Chen 1543 at http://www.wisebread.com Money Matters: Why All the Secrecy? http://www.wisebread.com/money-matters-why-all-the-secrecy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/money-matters-why-all-the-secrecy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/money - secrecy.jpg" alt="shhh" title="shhh" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="333" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoPlainText">As I alluded to in <a href="/separate-bank-accounts-till-death-or-banking-do-we-part" target="_blank">another article</a>, I am amazed at how people will sit around the dinner table and openly share intimate details of their sex lives, medications, and even psychotherapy before they&#39;ll divulge their income. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Why all the secrecy around financial matters? What key to our inner selves is hidden in our balance sheets? </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Interestingly enough, at other dinner tables (usually the dinner tables of the affluent), I have seen quite an open approach to money. Not only are incomes, tax-saving techniques, and assets openly shared, but there is an air of helpfulness in the tone of the conversation. Everybody wants to share their strategies with others, in order to both teach and learn new techniques. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">I am reminded of the book <a href="/%3Ca%20mce_thref=%22http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&amp;location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FRich-Dad-Poor%2Fdp%2F0751532711%3Fie%3DUTF8%26s%3Dbooks%26qid%3D1195331290%26sr%3D8-1&amp;tag=wisbre09-20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325%22%3ERich%20Dad%20Poor%20Dad%3C/a%3E%3Cimg%20mce_tsrc=%22http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wisbre09-20&amp;amp;l=ur2&amp;amp;o=1%22%20width=%221%22%20height=%221%22%20border=%220%22%20alt=%22%22%20style=%22border:none%20%21important;%20margin:0px%20%21important;%22%20/%3E" target="_blank">Rich Dad Poor Dad</a>, where the author Robert Kiyosaki refers to his two fathers: His real dad (the poor one), and his adoptive dad (the rich one), who teaches him all there is to know about becoming and staying rich. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">One of the themes explored in the book is how affluent people approach their money matters, and it is irrefutably stated that if you want to be rich you must keep company with rich people. Not only is this because they have a lot to teach somebody who aspires to grow financially, but I believe it is also because of a positive attitude and energy towards money in general. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">There are also patterns I&#39;ve detected among people whose financial situations aren&#39;t what they wish; I&#39;ve noticed a brand of distain towards money in general (and those with money). I have to wonder why this is, and if it ties into the desire to keep finances private. People who don&#39;t have money (and aren&#39;t happy about it) not only regard those <em>with</em> money very negatively, but some go so far as to see money itself as being evil. “You can&#39;t <em>want</em> money - it will make you a bad person. You can&#39;t <em>have</em> money - it comes at the expense of morals or general empathy towards others”. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">I wonder if the people who feel this way think that people with money are the ones living in the big fancy houses driving the luxury cars and wearing the latest fashion. Do these people feel the same way towards the <a href="/the-millionaire-next-door-riches-de-mystified" target="_blank">Millionaires Next Door</a>, who are more characteristically the world&#39;s affluent, but don&#39;t flaunt it? Is that as disgusting to people who see money as being evil?</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Of course I am generalizing in the extreme. Not all people without money feel that the rich are immoral or that money is the root of all evil. I am just noting patterns I have observed through my years in the financial industry, and extensive reading I’ve done. Both friends and clients have typically fallen into one camp or another. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">And ultimately, rich is a state of mind. I have met poor people who think they are rich and rich people who think they are poor. Stay tuned for a follow-up post on a different way of defining Wealth altogether. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/money-matters-why-all-the-secrecy">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-much-personal-finance-info-should-you-share">How Much Personal Finance Info Should You Share?</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-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-get-married">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Decide to Get Married</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-personal-finance-letter-id-write-to-my-younger-self">The Personal Finance Letter I&#039;d Write to My Younger Self</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-simple-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-medical-records-theft">7 Simple Ways to Protect Yourself From Medical Records 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/how-to-do-money-like-a-grown-up">How to Do Money Like a Grown-Up</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance communication about money money matters privacy Sat, 17 Nov 2007 20:36:38 +0000 Nora Dunn 1402 at http://www.wisebread.com The Not-So-Private Parts http://www.wisebread.com/the-not-so-private-parts <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-not-so-private-parts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/dice-on-keyboard.jpg" alt="Rolling the dice online" title="Rolling the dice online" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Raise your hand if you’ve never used Google or any of its services, don’t belong to any social network (including sites like Flickr, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), don’t have (or comment on) a blog or never gave out any personal information online, like your name, email address, phone number, etc., in exchange for access and/or membership to a website.</p> <p>Wow. That’s not many hands. </p> <p>So, you willingly compromised a little privacy so you could post some photos, make new “friends” or keep a journal? Did anyone ask about your educational background? How about your sexual orientation or marital status? Your political views? </p> <p>Is that <em>your</em> house I see in the satellite image on my screen?</p> <p>Let’s safely assume that everyone realizes that any time you use a search engine, join a social networking website, or even post a blog entry – just to name a few free, common online activities – your opinions, preferences and other revealing details are tracked and stored for a variety of reasons, most (I assume to be) commercial in nature. </p> <p>In other words, people voluntarily disclose personal information in exchange for membership or, at the very least, an online identity so they can search and/or network.</p> <p>According to Heather Haverstein’s <a href="http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&amp;articleId=9037379&amp;intsrc=hm_list" target="_blank">recent article in Computerworld</a>, Pace professor Catherine Dwyer observed that “Users [of Facebook and MySpace] seem to view the social networking sites as a way to get online profiles, photos and the like for free while the sites ‘can take all their data and do whatever they want with it...’” </p> <h3>A marketer’s dream scenario</h3> <p>But who cares, right? You’re making and staying in touch with friends all over the world for free! Well, there must be money in all this somewhere because both <a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119065193646437586.html?mod=hpp_us_whats_news" target="_blank">Google and Microsoft have taken an interest</a> in Facebook, particularly the valuable user-provided information to sell ads:</p> <blockquote><p>“Some industry executives believe the Internet today is facing the sort of turning point that the computer-operating-system sector confronted two decades ago: Whoever controls the technology platform for buying and selling online ads could hold tremendous power over the Internet industry for years to come...”</p> </blockquote> <p> Facebook’s <a href="http://www.facebook.com/policy.php" target="_blank">privacy policy</a> says, among many things, that it “...may also collect information about you from other sources, such as newspapers, blogs, instant messaging services...” while MySpace (which is owned by Rupert Murdochs’ News Corp.) <a href="http://www.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=misc.privacy" target="_blank">says</a> that it “...also collects other profile data including but not limited to: personal interests, gender, age, education and occupation in order to assist users in finding and communicating with each other.” </p> <p>OK, not big surprises there. But a little further down it states, “We use reasonable measures to protect member information that is stored within our database...[P]lease note that we cannot guarantee the security of member account information.”</p> <p>So Facebook might be collecting information about me from sources other than Facebook itself, and the sprawl that is MySpace can’t guarantee that all my stored data is safe?</p> <p>Even Google, despite its <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/13/AR2007091302248.html?hpid=topnews" target="_blank">“call” for privacy standards</a>, was <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/6740075.stm" target="_blank">ranked worst</a> as far as user privacy; it is apparently “misunderstood” but was “working hard”.</p> <p>I’m glad none of these companies are doctors performing brain surgery; no guarantees, “misunderstood” but &quot;working hard” and marketing their services as useful experiences at the cost of a little personal privacy doesn’t do much to gain my trust, particularly in light of the news that <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/internetNews/idUSN2429817920070924?pageNumber=1" target="_blank">Facebook is being subpoenaed</a> over safety issues, despite “assurances made by the company.”</p> <h3>What You Can Do</h3> <ul> <li>It’s up to you how much you want to reveal online. Remember that cartoon from a couple of years ago: on the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog; </li> <li>Actually read the privacy policies and user agreements before clicking “I Agree”. It may be wordy, but you might decide that the site’s not for you. One website actually begins its legal section with, “Legal Mumble Jumble Ahead! Caution: Boring!!!”; </li> <li>A few weeks ago <a href="http://blog.facebook.com/blog.php?post=2963412130" target="_blank">Facebook announced</a> that it will be opening up to search engines, which means that an abbreviated version of your profile will eventually be visible to Google, Yahoo, MSN, etc. To control this, you need to change your settings under the <strong>Privacy &gt; Search</strong> area; </li> <li>Sometimes websites require an email address to access information. If you’re not comfortable giving out your personal address, try <a href="http://www.sneakemail.com/" target="_blank">Sneakemail</a> or <a href="http://www.10minutemail.com/10MinuteMail/index.html" target="_blank">10 Minute Email</a>, whose developer notes that, “My server used to get around 200-300 e-mail a day. In the past week it averaged 60,000-70,000 e-mail a day. Virtually all of those were to old (expired) 10minutemail.com accounts. Presumably virtually all spam.”</li> <li>Opt-out of letting the site you just joined share your information with third parties.</li> </ul> <p>For your consideration, check out <a href="http://albumoftheday.com/facebook/" target="_blank">this short video</a> about what Facebook may or may not be up to, and, just for the sake of balance, <a href="http://nebulizer.newsvine.com/_news/2007/09/20/975004-the-sinister-facebook-farce" target="_blank">this viewer’s reaction</a> . </p> <p>A sinister conspiracy or just business as usual? As with how much information you disclose on the Internet about yourself, it’s your choice.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ed-oreilly">Ed O&#039;Reilly</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-not-so-private-parts">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/is-this-news-story-fake-heres-how-to-tell">Is This News Story Fake? Here&#039;s How to Tell</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-refill-an-ink-cartridge-with-a-small-piece-of-tape">How to refill an ink cartridge with a small piece of tape</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/regifting-a-simple-how-to-guide">Regifting: A Simple How-To Guide</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/10-things-to-stop-doing-on-social-media-by-30">10 Things to Stop Doing on Social Media by 30</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/dont-panic-do-this-if-your-identity-gets-stolen">Don&#039;t Panic: Do This If Your Identity Gets Stolen</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Consumer Affairs Facebook MySpace privacy social networking Wed, 26 Sep 2007 01:09:44 +0000 Ed O'Reilly 1211 at http://www.wisebread.com