Technology http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8130/all en-US 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/stop-making-these-8-risky-password-mistakes">Stop Making These 8 Risky Password Mistakes</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/20-ways-amazons-alexa-can-make-your-life-easier">20 Ways Amazon&#039;s Alexa Can Make Your Life Easier</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-ways-your-smartphone-saves-you-money">8 Ways Your Smartphone Saves 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/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 Stop Making These 8 Risky Password Mistakes http://www.wisebread.com/stop-making-these-8-risky-password-mistakes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/stop-making-these-8-risky-password-mistakes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_scared_internet_511483528.jpg" alt="Woman learning to stop making password mistakes" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Elaborate passwords are a necessity in today's internet-obsessed world. Unfortunately, too many of us still rely on simple passwords that make us easy targets for hackers.</p> <p>A study by the online security provider Preempt found that <a href="https://blog.preempt.com/weak-passwords" target="_blank">35 percent of LinkedIn users</a> have exceptionally weak passwords that pose no challenge to hackers. (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> <p>Want to boost your online security and keep your personal information safe from hackers? Then here are some key password mistakes to avoid.</p> <h2>1. You use the same password across various accounts</h2> <p>This is one of the biggest password mistakes too many of us make. We reuse passwords from site to site. It doesn't matter how complex these passwords are &mdash; whether they are an incomprehensible mess of lowercase letters, numbers, and uppercase letters. If you are using the same password at multiple sites, you are vulnerable. A hacker only has to crack this password once to access several of your accounts.</p> <h2>2. Your password is all numbers or all letters</h2> <p>One of the easiest ways to make your password more challenging to crack? Use a wide variety of characters, numbers, lowercase letters, uppercase letters, and even symbols such as your keyboard's dollar sign and asterisk.</p> <p>Never make your password all letters or all numbers. These are some of the easiest passwords to guess.</p> <h2>3. You don't mix up where you put those numbers</h2> <p>Maybe you take the next step and you do put numbers and letters in your password. Where you put those numbers matters, however. Too many of us simply put a string of numbers at the front or at the end of our passwords. If you want to create a stronger password, sprinkle numbers throughout it, and don't simply bunch them all together. Also, don't use obvious numbers, such as your street address, the year you were born, or the years during which your children were born.</p> <h2>4. You rely on short passwords</h2> <p>It's difficult to remember long, complicated passwords. But such passwords are also more difficult to crack. Don't create a password that's too short. Online security experts have different opinions on this, but keep your passwords at least 12 characters long, and you'll be a lot better off. The longer your password, the more work hackers have to do to guess it. Many might give up and go after less difficult passwords.</p> <h2>5. You follow well-known patterns</h2> <p>You might think you've created a complex password, one filled with letters, numbers, and symbols. But if your password follows certain well-known patterns, hackers can crack it with little effort, relying on password-cracking programs.</p> <p>Security consultant KoreLogic in 2014 studied the users at an anonymous Fortune 100 company. It found that about half of the users relied on five patterns to create their passwords. KoreLogic discovered, too, that 85 percent of the users at this company relied on just 100 common password patterns.</p> <p>What are the three most common patterns that KoreLogic uncovered? Users relied on one uppercase, five lowercase and then two digits, such as Pdregt45. They also relied on one uppercase letter, six lowercase letters and two digits, such as Tjiktrg39, and one uppercase letter, three lowercase letters and four digits, such as Pewy1476.</p> <p>When creating passwords, then, avoid these most common of patterns. Your password might seem perfectly random to you. Hackers won't see it the same way.</p> <h2>6. You start your password with an uppercase letter</h2> <p>Mixing upper- and lowercase letters in your passwords is a good idea. But don't start your password with an uppercase letter and then follow it with a string of letters that are all lowercase. Instead, randomly capitalize letters throughout your passwords.</p> <h2>7. You aren't careful with exclamation marks</h2> <p>Some sites might require passwords that include not just letters and numbers, but at least one symbol, too. Adding symbols can dramatically increase the complexity of your password. Just don't fulfill the symbol requirement by putting an exclamation point at the very end of your password. Too many users already do that, and it makes cracking your password an easier task.</p> <h2>8. You always place numbers next to each other, no matter where you put them</h2> <p>So, you avoid the common mistake of putting numbers only at the beginning and end of your passwords. That's good. But don't place numbers next to each other, either. Users have the habit of bunching numbers together in their passwords, no matter where they put them. This is another common mistake that makes your passwords easier to hack.</p> <h2>How to manage all these passwords</h2> <p>Following all the above tips poses one big problem: How are you supposed to remember all these random and long strings of numbers, letters, and characters?</p> <p>One way is to use a password manager, like LastPass, Dashlane, or 1Password. This allows you to store your passwords through their encrypted and secure system, so when you visit a site, your login credentials will be saved and you can login without needing to remember your password. Unless you have a superb memory or don&rsquo;t have very many online accounts, this is one of the safest ways to keep your passwords and have it easily accessible.</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/stop-making-these-8-risky-password-mistakes">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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-sneaky-ways-identity-thieves-can-access-your-data">3 Sneaky Ways Identity Thieves Can Access Your Data</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/what-is-your-auto-reply-email-telling-people-about-you">What Is Your Auto-Reply Email Telling People About You?</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/phishing-scams-continue-to-plague-social-media-sites">Phishing Scams Continue to Plague Social Media Sites</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/google-yourself-challenge-how-much-can-people-learn-about-you-online">Google Yourself Challenge: How Much Can People Learn About You Online?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Technology identity theft internet safety internet security login password protection passwords safe password Fri, 14 Apr 2017 08:30:13 +0000 Dan Rafter 1927496 at http://www.wisebread.com Flashback Friday: 34 Smart Ways to Improve Your Social Media Presence http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-34-smart-ways-to-improve-your-social-media-presence <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/flashback-friday-34-smart-ways-to-improve-your-social-media-presence" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_happy_phone_519863698.jpg" alt="Woman finding smart ways to improve social media presence" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Having a social media presence used to be optional, and only for the digital journalism world. But now, having a decent following seems like a requirement if you want to run a business, successfully share your art, and engage with others in your industry. Here's how to improve your social media presence.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/iStock_000033755744_Large.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-surprising-ways-social-media-stars-make-money?ref=fbf">5 Surprising Ways Social Media Stars Make Money</a> &mdash; Start by learning from the masters. Being a social media &quot;star&quot; is a thing, and they are making more money than most of us. Here are some of their best tricks.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-clean-up-your-image-on-social-media?ref=fbf">7 Easy Ways to Clean Up Your Image on Social Media</a> &mdash; Maybe you spent the first few years on Facebook posting keg party photos and trolling celebrities. Yeah, that's not a good look. If you need to do some cleanup, follow these easy steps.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/000071173689.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-to-stop-doing-on-social-media-by-30?ref=fbf">10 Things to Stop Doing on Social Media by 30</a> &mdash; Those bad social media habits need to be left behind, because tweets and photos don't always disappear, even after you delete them. Employers, family members, and potential romantic partners can see what you're doing, so you might want to act accordingly.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-improve-your-finances-using-social-media?ref=fbf">How to Improve Your Finances Using Social Media</a> &mdash; Once your social media posts are nice and tidy, use this guide to start bringing in some money on the side. Because once you start gaining a following, it's actually pretty easy!</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/iStock_73433583_MEDIUM.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-earn-extra-income-with-twitter?ref=fbf">How to Earn Extra Income With Twitter</a> &mdash; Twitter is a great place to connect with people and brands directly. You can also use your account to make some extra money with sponsored tweets and other branded content.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jumpstart-your-job-search-with-instagram?ref=fbf">Jumpstart Your Job Search With Instagram</a> &mdash; Social media platforms can also aid you in your job search. Curate your feed and you might hashtag your way into a new gig!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chrissa-hardy">Chrissa Hardy</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-34-smart-ways-to-improve-your-social-media-presence">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/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-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/5-surprising-ways-social-media-stars-make-money">5 Surprising Ways Social Media Stars Make Money</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/social-media-and-identity-theft-in-2010">Social Media and Identity Theft in 2010</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/social-media-an-easy-source-of-coupons">Social Media: An Easy Source of Coupons</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development Technology Facebook fbf flashback friday instagram Internet internet presence LinkedIn snapchat social media social media tips twitter Fri, 14 Apr 2017 08:30:08 +0000 Chrissa Hardy 1927497 at http://www.wisebread.com 34 Smart Ways to Cut Your Electric Bill http://www.wisebread.com/34-smart-ways-to-cut-your-electric-bill <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/34-smart-ways-to-cut-your-electric-bill" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-531612106.jpg" alt="Finding smart ways to cut your electric bill" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I was pleasantly surprised to see that my February natural gas bill was only $65 &mdash; which isn't bad for heating an entire house during an Iowa winter. But my electric bill for the month was over $100. There must be some things I can do to use less electricity and lower my bill. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-youre-wasting-electricity-without-realizing-it?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Ways You're Wasting Electricity Without Realizing It</a>)</p> <p>One way to save money on your bill is to change your behavior and pay more attention to your usage of electricity &mdash; no investment required. Another way is to install some upgrades. These involve spending money on projects, and investments to improve the energy efficiency of your home and lower your utility bills every month. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-anyone-can-go-solar-and-save-on-energy?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Ways Anyone Can Go Solar and Save on Energy</a>)</p> <p>Here are some smart things you can do to use less electricity and start saving money on your electric bill.</p> <h2>1. Turn off auxiliary heating devices</h2> <p>I was using a space heater to keep some plants warm, but this ran up my electric bill. I'll use more efficient <a href="http://amzn.to/2otBRFM" target="_blank">heating pads</a> instead.</p> <h2>2. Enjoy some nonelectric evenings</h2> <p>Every once in awhile, switch off the circuit breaker and have an evening with no electricity. Break out the flashlights, candles, books, and board games. You don't have to wait for Earth Hour to turn out the lights and save money on electricity.</p> <h2>3. Dry clothes outside</h2> <p>Weather permitting, you can hang laundry outside to dry instead of running an energy-intensive dryer.</p> <h2>4. Turn up central A/C temperature</h2> <p>Turn up your thermostat a few degrees to run your central air conditioner less.</p> <h2>5. Use someone else's electricity</h2> <p>Turn off the lights, appliances, and air conditioning at your house and go somewhere else. You could go to the library or work at a coffee shop.</p> <h2>6. Use your ceiling fans correctly</h2> <p>Run ceiling fans to make rooms comfortable with less energy than running A/C. Set the ceiling fan direction for the correct season &mdash; in summer, a ceiling fan should rotate counterclockwise when viewed from below.</p> <h2>7. Use fans, open windows</h2> <p>Use box fans or oscillating fans to cool occupied spaces and run central A/C less on hot days. Open windows at night to take advantage of cool air. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-fans?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Best Fans</a>)</p> <h2>8. Turn off unused lights</h2> <p>Get in the habit of turning off lights when leaving a room. It's easy enough to turn the lights back on if they are needed again.</p> <h2>9. Turn off unused electronics</h2> <p>Turn off computers, game consoles, and TVs when no one is using them. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hands-in-your-pocket-the-cost-of-standby-power-environmental-and-otherwise?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Cost of Standby Power</a>)</p> <h2>10. Run full loads</h2> <p>Run full loads in your dishwasher, clothes washer, and clothes dryer for maximum efficiency.</p> <h2>11. Use cold water</h2> <p>Reduce your use of hot water in your clothes washer, and select cold or warm water wash cycles instead whenever possible.</p> <h2>12. Run the clothes dryer at night</h2> <p>Run your clothes dryer and other energy intensive appliances at night if your electric utility provides an off-peak hours discount.</p> <h2>13. Clean lint trap on clothes dryer</h2> <p>Remove lint from the lint trap on your clothes dryer to maximize airflow and minimize energy use.</p> <h2>14. Turn off the dry cycle on your dishwasher</h2> <p>Instead of using a heated dry cycle, I simply open the dishwasher door and let dishes air dry.</p> <h2>15. Install LED light bulbs</h2> <p>I am replacing all of my incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs that provide great lighting and use a fraction of the electricity. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-energy-efficient-light-bulbs?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Energy Efficient Bulbs</a>)</p> <h2>16. Remove &quot;extra&quot; light bulbs</h2> <p>If a fixture has more light than you need, remove some of the bulbs so it will use less power.</p> <h2>17. Take advantage of water heater savings</h2> <p>Here are some ways to reduce electricity consumption for hot water:</p> <ul> <li>Lower the temperature setting on your hot water tank.</li> <li>Install an insulated jacket around the tank.</li> <li>Insulate the first six feet of hot water supply pipe.</li> </ul> <h2>18. Sleep outside</h2> <p>It gets cool outside at night, even during the summer. You can take advantage of this by turning off your air conditioning and sleeping outside in a tent or on a screened-in porch.</p> <h2>19. Remove underutilized appliances</h2> <p>If you have an extra freezer or refrigerator in your garage that doesn't have much in it, consider getting rid of it to save a few dollars worth of electricity every month.</p> <h2>20. Skip the blow dryer for your hair</h2> <p>Blow dryers are loud and use a lot of power. They also dry out your hair over time, so use a towel to dry your hair instead.</p> <h2>21. Use a toaster oven</h2> <p>Use a toaster oven to heat up small items such as a sandwich or slice of pizza instead of firing up the full-sized oven.</p> <h2>22. Choose a flashlight over a night light</h2> <p>I keep an LED flashlight next to my bed instead of trying to light large areas of the house with nightlights that use electricity all night long.</p> <h2>23. Charge your gadgets at work</h2> <p>If there are outlets handy at the office, you might as well charge your phone, tablet, and laptop there instead of at home. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-solar-chargers?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Solar Chargers</a>)</p> <h2>24. Use timers for holiday lights</h2> <p>I bought a digital timer to automatically turn my holiday lights off and on so they never run all night.</p> <h2>25. Change your furnace filter</h2> <p>You will get better airflow and spend less on central A/C if you change your furnace filter every few months.</p> <h2>26. Think broom, not vacuum cleaner</h2> <p>A broom is quiet and uses no electricity. I am trying to break my habit of reaching for the vacuum cleaner to clean up every mess in my shop.</p> <h2>27. Upgrade motion detectors</h2> <p>Install motion detectors on outside lights to prevent leaving lights on.</p> <h2>28. Install Energy Star appliances</h2> <p>Make energy efficiency a top criterion when selecting new appliances.</p> <h2>29. Choose a high efficiency A/C</h2> <p>If you have an older central A/C unit, you may be able to cut your cooling cost significantly by replacing it with a more energy efficient model.</p> <h2>30. Make sure you have insulated windows</h2> <p>Replace leaky or single pane windows with double or triple pane windows charged with inert gas to reduce A/C cost.</p> <h2>31. Install a programmable thermostat</h2> <p>You can install a <a href="http://amzn.to/2ovZP3h" target="_blank">programmable thermostat</a> to automatically adjust A/C temperature when no one is home.</p> <h2>32. Add solar panels</h2> <p>Install solar panels to generate your own electricity and drastically cut your electric bill. In some locations, you may even be able to sell any excess electricity that you generate. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cut-your-electric-bill-with-solar-panels?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Cut Your Electric Bill With Solar Panels</a>)</p> <h2>33. Install a skylight or light pipe</h2> <p>If the sun is shining outside, you can bring free light in from outside using a skylight or light pipe.</p> <h2>34. Bicycle generator</h2> <p>You can generate your own electricity to run electronic devices and even some appliances by using a bicycle generator.</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/34-smart-ways-to-cut-your-electric-bill">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/10-ways-anyone-can-go-solar-and-save-on-energy">10 Ways Anyone Can Go Solar and Save on Energy</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/8-ways-your-smartphone-saves-you-money">8 Ways Your Smartphone Saves You Money</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/7-tools-and-gadgets-your-smartphone-can-replace">7 Tools and Gadgets Your Smartphone Can Replace</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/12-green-living-habits-thatll-save-you-every-month">12 Green Living Habits That&#039;ll Save You Every Month</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-ways-your-devices-are-spying-on-you">7 Ways Your Devices Are Spying on You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Technology appliances electric bill electricity energy green living saving money tech gadgets Wed, 12 Apr 2017 08:30:15 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1925857 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Easy Ways to Clean Up Your Image on Social Media http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-clean-up-your-image-on-social-media <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-easy-ways-to-clean-up-your-image-on-social-media" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-515677550.jpg" alt="Woman learning easy ways to clean up her image on social media" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Cleaning up your social media account can improve your overall image and pay off big time. That's because more people are checking social media accounts now than ever before. In fact, according to the job search website CareerBuilder, 60 percent of employers admit to researching potential candidates through their social media profiles. As a safe bet, you should expect potential employers, college admissions offices, romantic partners, and even in-laws to Google your name and check your accounts. Here's how to clean up your internet presence in a pinch. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-to-stop-doing-on-social-media-by-30?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Things to Stop Doing on Social Media by 30</a>)</p> <h2>1. Check all accounts</h2> <p>Make sure that you hit all the important social media channels when you're cleaning up your online profile. You'll want to focus on your social media pages across the board, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. Don't neglect one just because you don't think you have a lot of followers or haven't been on it for years.</p> <h2>2. View it publicly</h2> <p>Sign out of your social media accounts or login and &quot;view your profile as public&quot; to see what strangers can see. Sometimes your privacy settings aren't what you thought. Imagine a potential employer is visiting your social media page. Are you happy with the image you've created? Delete things that you're not comfortable with the world seeing.</p> <h2>3. Upload recent photos</h2> <p>You can improve your job prospects by making a good first impression right away. Post a recent photo of yourself and make sure your best self is highlighted. A professional looking headshot is best. If you can't afford to hire a photographer, have a friend take some shots in good lighting.</p> <h2>4. Showcase your talents</h2> <p>Update your LinkedIn profile with recent projects to showcase your talents, as well as information on your interests and skills. Add keywords to your profile so that it is more likely to show up in searches.</p> <h2>5. Get a domain</h2> <p>Consider getting your own domain and using it as a portfolio. Here, you can showcase your recent projects, skills, and links for further information on your work. Add this link to all of your social media pages. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-surprising-ways-a-personal-website-can-improve-your-life?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Surprising Ways a Personal Website Can Improve Your Life</a>)</p> <p>Having a social media presence and your own domain allows you to control what people see when they search for you online.</p> <h2>6. When in doubt, delete, delete, delete!</h2> <p>You'll want to clear away anything that interferes with the image you're trying to present. Consider erasing provocative photographs, controversial statements, and any posts that negatively refer to previous employers. Consider taking the time to go back several years. Some companies have interns whose job it is to go through candidates' social media pages and they're instructed to dig deep.</p> <h2>7. File a complaint when necessary</h2> <p>If there is embarrassing content that someone else has posted of you that you can't remove yourself, you may want to politely ask them to remove it. If there are items on your Facebook page that you can't remove yourself, you may want to contact Facebook Support or even <a href="https://support.google.com/legal/answer/3110420?visit_id=1-636250326555842646-111694048&amp;rd=2" target="_blank">submit a legal complaint to Google</a> in extreme cases.</p> <h2>Going forward</h2> <p>Just follow the general rule that if you don't feel comfortable with everyone at the office seeing what you're up to, don't include it on your social media accounts.</p> <p>Consider setting up different groups for your friends and followers, so that you can limit some of your activity to only the people you trust. Sometimes it's unavoidable to add a coworker or boss to your social media account, but you can limit your posts to specific groups of followers and friends.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-clean-up-your-image-on-social-media">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/how-to-use-snapchat-in-your-job-search">How to Use Snapchat in Your Job Search</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-web-presence-will-soon-be-more-valuable-than-your-credit-rating">Your Web Presence Will Soon Be More Valuable Than Your Credit Rating</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-social-blunders-to-stop-making-by-30">10 Social Blunders to Stop Making 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/5-ways-social-media-saved-someones-life">5 Ways Social Media Saved Someone&#039;s Life</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Technology dos and don'ts networking reputation social media social media etiquette social media tips Tue, 11 Apr 2017 08:30:14 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1925372 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Surprising Ways a Personal Website Can Improve Your Life http://www.wisebread.com/8-surprising-ways-a-personal-website-can-improve-your-life <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-surprising-ways-a-personal-website-can-improve-your-life" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-541288714.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The popular book <em>The Martian</em> became a best-seller in 2014, but started out as a series of blog posts by author Andy Weir on his personal website. Andy posted one chapter at a time, and got comments from readers as he posted new chapters. Eventually, he self-published an ebook which was later published in hardcover by Random House and became a big budget Hollywood movie starring Matt Damon. This example highlights some of the benefits you can get from having a personal website where you can publish anything you want in a way that anyone in the world can access.</p> <p>I started writing on a personal website about four years ago and have discovered a number of ways that having a personal website can be beneficial. It's useful for storing, organizing, and sharing all kinds of creative work such as writing, a personal journal, photos, sound recordings, video clips, and other information that you want to share with the world. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-a-side-hustle-can-advance-your-career?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Ways a Side Hustle Can Advance Your Career</a>)</p> <p>Here are some ways a personal website can improve your life.</p> <h2>1. It's a place to get creative</h2> <p>When I started my personal website, it had been years since I had done any creative writing. I realized that I could easily start a website and publish my writing immediately. That is both scary and exciting, but what did I have to lose?</p> <h2>2. It won't cost much (or anything at all)</h2> <p>It is possible to set up a professional website or blog at no cost at all. I set up a blog on the Blogger platform for free years ago and still use that today. If you want to spend a few dollars per month, you can get a custom domain name and add ecommerce features to support an online business.</p> <h2>3. It's an opportunity to make money</h2> <p>Once I started getting visitors to my website, I realized I could make money. I started selling advertising and placing affiliate marketing links on my site. Affiliate marketing links are links to products for sale that are related to the content on my website, and I get paid a commission if someone buys after clicking on that link. If you are willing and able to produce material that people are interested in reading, then you can make money on the side. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-you-really-make-money-by-starting-a-blog?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Can You Really Make Money by Starting a Blog?</a>)</p> <h2>4. It becomes a creative portfolio for you</h2> <p>My personal blog has provided a place to showcase my writing, and I have leveraged this to win some paid writing opportunities. Having your own website gives you a way to get those early publications of your work, which can lead to opportunities with other publishers. A portfolio of work is essential when you are seeking new assignments.</p> <p>You can post almost any type of creative work on a personal website: digital photos, artwork, audio book narration, video clips, crafts, and even technical projects. You can also add a resume, and provide contact information for those who may be interested in working with you. This can help boost your career in almost any field.</p> <h2>5. It helps you learn and practice coding</h2> <p>Although there are lots of graphical tools to create Web pages, I sometimes edit the HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) code or CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) code to make the page work how I want. By understanding a few simple principles, you can gain a deep understanding of how websites really work.</p> <p>I have also practiced coding on my website by making JavaScript calculators and publishing them on my blog. You can code the graphical interface with calculator buttons and write equations for the calculations with code that is embedded in a script on the page. This is a great way to practice and show off your coding skills in a way that people can use and appreciate.</p> <h2>6. You can get published today, no roadblocks</h2> <p>One of the best things about having your own website is that there are no rules. You can publish whatever you want with no censoring and no gatekeeper. You get to decide for yourself what can be published, even if no one else would publish it. This means that you can become a published writer immediately.</p> <h2>7. You get to perform for an audience</h2> <p>I remember how nervous I was to push the &quot;publish&quot; button the first few times when I was starting my website. I knew that anyone in the world would be able to read my posts and perhaps even comment or send me an email complaining about my content. Writing for an audience pushed me to do my best work, more so than writing in a notebook that no one else could see.</p> <h2>8. You learn how to become more visible on the internet</h2> <p>One of the fun parts about having your own website is looking at the stats to see how many people are visiting. Since you always want to have more visitors, it makes sense to learn how people are finding your website and try to boost your traffic. One strategy is to use SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to get more traffic from search results. Understanding SEO can be a valuable skill, both for your own website and as a consultant for other sites. With your own website, you have the opportunity to do experiments to try ideas out and learn what works to boost traffic.</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/8-surprising-ways-a-personal-website-can-improve-your-life">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/4-big-business-accounting-tools-every-side-gig-needs">4 Big Business Accounting Tools Every Side Gig Needs</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/apple-introduces-most-outrageous-rewards-program-in-history">Apple introduces most outrageous “rewards” program in history</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-you-can-earn-18-to-25-an-hour-with-amazon-flex">How You Can Earn $18 to $25 an Hour With Amazon Flex</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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-businesses-your-tween-can-start">13 Businesses Your Tween Can Start</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development Technology branding hobbies personal growth personal website self-promotion side gig side hustle website Fri, 07 Apr 2017 08:30:15 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1923219 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Avoid a "Sweetheart Scam" http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-a-sweetheart-scam <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-avoid-a-sweetheart-scam" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-476845526.jpg" alt="Woman learning how to avoid a sweetheart scam" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The &quot;Sweetheart Scam&quot; is nothing new, but the internet and dating sites have made it much easier to pull off. Scammers scour online profiles and use their charm to convince the victim that it's love at first sight. Before they know it, they're handing over all their money and valuables. Then, the scammer moves on.</p> <p>The FBI reports that <a href="https://www.fbi.gov/audio-repository/news-podcasts-inside-sweetheart-scams.mp3/view" target="_blank">losses from sweetheart or dating scams</a> have doubled in the past 10 years to between $15,000 and $20,000 per victim.</p> <p>It's a horrible crime. But, you can use these tips to avoid it, or stop someone you know from getting taken in by this heinous con.</p> <h2>1. Try not to get involved with anyone right after a relationship</h2> <p>Be wary about getting involved with someone else soon after an ended relationship. The sweetheart scam preys especially on those who are divorced, widowed, or recently single.</p> <p>At this time, you're at your most vulnerable. You're emotionally unstable, and you may be craving the attention of a new partner. You are more likely to be open to suggestion. Scammers are superb at reading your emotional state and manipulating you. So, be aware of anyone who approaches you soon after a break up of any kind, and if money comes up, walk away.</p> <h2>2. Don't give money or valuables to anyone</h2> <p>You could have met the nicest person in the world. They seem kind and honest. They are charming. They tell you everything you want to hear. But, pretty soon after laying this groundwork, the requests come in for money and valuables.</p> <p>They're small at first. They may ask for a few bucks to help cover a phone bill until payday, and they promise to pay you back. However, the requests will only get bigger as they gain your trust. Before you know it, you're handing over hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars to someone because you genuinely think they love you. All they love is your cash. Once they have bled you dry, they'll move on. Don't give anyone money until you have a long, proven relationship, and know everything about them.</p> <h2>3. Research your new sweetheart<strong> </strong></h2> <p>Never take anyone at face value. The internet has given scammers an incredible resource. They can find images of people they want to look like, create fake websites, steal personal videos, and even create hundreds of phony friends.</p> <p>Even if everything is going great, do some digging. It doesn't hurt to do a background check; they're inexpensive and can give you a great deal of information. If you discover they have horrible credit and a history of bad debts and dubious deals, you may want to ask them about it. Do a reverse image search on their photos. Are they who they say they are? Are they insanely good looking? Check phone numbers. Check places like LinkedIn and Google+ to see if the information they have told you checks out. It never hurts to be too careful. If they're too good to be true, they probably are.</p> <h2>4. Talking on the phone isn't enough</h2> <p>There's nothing wrong with beginning a long-distance relationship, and for thousands of people every year, it works. But scammers love to operate over phones and emails. They'll refuse to show their real face, or meet in person. You've probably seen Catfish, the MTV show, and know how this goes. Fake photos, fake Facebook and Twitter profiles, sometimes even phony voices. Although seeing someone's face over a video call like Skype won't automatically protect you from a scam, it's a step in the right direction.</p> <p>If you get resistance, and a bunch of excuses, block this person. There is no reason someone cannot video chat in this day and age. Technology is dirt cheap, and even libraries have computers with webcams.</p> <h2>5. Find a safe place to meet and talk</h2> <p>If you want to avoid a sweetheart scam, meeting someone in person is essential. You'll get a much better impression of them face to face. So if you've reached the point where you're ready to meet, do it in a safe place. That is not your home, and it's definitely not their home.</p> <p>You are looking for a place that is well known to you, is occupied by people and/or staff, and has an easy way for you to leave. A public park is fine if it's during the day and plenty of people are around. But your best bet is usually a busy coffee shop or restaurant. These days, many bars and restaurants are staffed with people who know about the dangers of meeting people online. They may have notices posted in the bathrooms, providing code words that you can use to get you out of the situation.</p> <h2>6. Be wary of an early &quot;I love you&quot;</h2> <p>Do lightning-fast romances happen? Of course. Are two people meant to be together, and feel it the second they meet? Yes, sometimes. But the vast majority of people fall in love over time. You get to know the person intimately. You find out their flaws, and love them for every single one. You meet their family and friends. It's a process. If someone you meet blurts this out after a week or two, alarm bells should be ringing.</p> <h2>7. How's their grammar?</h2> <p>Many sweetheart scams originate in places like Nigeria, where English is a second language. Although technology like Google Translate helps to disguise this, you should pick up on mistakes that feel weird. This is not to say you should become a grammar Nazi, but if the texts and emails you get are worded in an odd way, with spelling errors most people wouldn't make, you may want to do some digging. Of course, talking on the phone, video chatting, and meeting in person would easily clear up this particular point of contention.</p> <h2>8. Listen to your friends and family</h2> <p>There's an expression that directly applies to sweetheart scams; you can't see the forest for the trees. When you become involved with someone, the heart rules the head for a while. You can get caught up in the other person so much, you don't see the obvious; that they're taking you for a ride.</p> <p>So, during this time, listen to your friends and family. At first, they may just give you subtle hints. But as you begin handing over money, they will usually raise the red flags and tell you to get out of the relationship. Don't ignore them. If they suspect your new love is not all he or she appears to be, take a step back. Do the research. They may be wrong, but if enough of them raise concerns, you should be worried.</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-avoid-a-sweetheart-scam">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-yourself-from-predatory-lending">How to Protect Yourself From Predatory Lending</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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-sopa-and-how-will-it-affect-you-0">What Is SOPA, and How Will It Affect You?</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/stop-making-these-8-risky-password-mistakes">Stop Making These 8 Risky Password Mistakes</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/18-surprising-ways-your-identity-can-be-stolen">18 Surprising Ways Your Identity Can Be Stolen</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Technology con artists Internet manipulation online dating online relationships sweetheart scams theft warning signs Wed, 05 Apr 2017 08:30:12 +0000 Paul Michael 1921002 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 TV Must-Haves Once You Cut the Cable Cord http://www.wisebread.com/3-tv-must-haves-once-you-cut-the-cable-cord <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-tv-must-haves-once-you-cut-the-cable-cord" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-618335432.jpg" alt="Woman getting TV must-haves after cutting cable cord" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Is it time for you to join in on the cord cutting movement? You know that you're only watching a few channels out of the hundreds that you're paying for. And cutting the cord on your cable bill will undoubtedly be good for your budget. But can you still watch the shows you love? Yes. You'll be surprised at the variety of options you have without paying for hundreds of channels you don't use.</p> <p>Here's a basic breakdown of the great options you have available when <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cutting-the-cable-cord-has-more-than-financial-benefits" target="_blank">cutting the cable cord</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-everyone-can-cut-cable-and-still-watch-what-they-love-even-sportsfans?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Cut Cable and Still Watch What You Love</a>)</p> <h2>An HD antenna</h2> <p>The first option to consider when you're ready to cut the cord is an HD antenna that you can install in your home. Here are a few of your best options.</p> <h3>Mohu Leaf 50 Indoor Antenna</h3> <p>For about $50, you can pick up a <a href="http://amzn.to/2mK3syc" target="_blank">Mohu Leaf</a> and depending on where you live, score a bunch of HD channels for free. The Leaf has a 50-mile range and can be placed indoors on a window or bookcase shelf. To figure out how many free HD channels you can get at your home, visit <a href="https://nocable.org/hd-antenna-coverage-map" target="_blank">NoCable.org</a> and enter your address.</p> <h3>Antennas Direct 50 Clearstream Eclipse</h3> <p>If you're cutting the cord from DishNetwork or DIRECTV, the <a href="http://amzn.to/2nYk9XL" target="_blank">Antennas Direct 50</a> is a great alternative. This is due to the fact that you can install the antenna directly onto your abandoned satellite dish, or a wall or window indoors, making installation really easy. You can then connect the antenna to the existing infrastructure of your home and start watching free HD channels immediately.</p> <h3>Mohu Sky 60 Antenna</h3> <p>If you live in more of a rural area, especially with mountains and hills, the Leaf probably won't get you many free channels. So instead, check out the <a href="http://amzn.to/2mJUaCe" target="_blank">Mohu Sky 60</a>, which should be attic- or roof-mounted and will offer a much better solution. For example, I live 10 miles out of town with hills in every direction. The Leaf gives me only two HD channels, while the Sky 60 gives me six HD channels including FOX, CBS, and ABC.</p> <h2>A subscription to a streaming service</h2> <p>For the rest of the TV shows and movies you've come to depend on through your cable or satellite service, choose among these affordable streaming services.</p> <h3>Netflix</h3> <p>A Netflix streaming account starts at $7.99 per month, or $9.99 per month if you want HD quality. While you won't pick up cable channels with Netflix, you will pick up a ton of original programming as well as thousands of movies, TV shows, and documentaries. Besides viewing on your TV, you can also access all of Netflix's programming on your tablet, computer, or smartphone.</p> <h3>Prime Streaming</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2nbqHCb" target="_blank">Prime Streaming</a> is available free to all Amazon Prime members. Prime membership costs $99 per year and gets you access to thousands of titles, including popular TV shows and movies. You can also use Amazon's streaming service to rent or buy current TV shows and new movies to view immediately. You can also pay an additional fee to get access to HBO, Cinemax, Starz, and Showtime. Plus, get access to special programming like animé, foreign dramas, and more, as add-on services.</p> <h3>Hulu</h3> <p>If you're interested in streaming the current season of your favorite TV shows, get Hulu. For $7.99 per month, you can stream many of the current shows that won't be available on Netflix until next year. Movies are also available on Hulu.</p> <h3>DIRECTV NOW Streaming</h3> <p>Just recently DIRECTV introduced a streaming option to try and capture a new customer base and it actually looks promising. For $35 a month, you can stream live TV from over 120 channels plus over 10,000 on-demand titles. With the cheapest DIRECTV satellite package coming in at about $55, this is a solid alternative if you don't want to give up your satellite options.</p> <h3>HBO Now</h3> <p>For $14.99 per month, you can access HBO's original shows, documentaries, and their movie selection, without having a cable subscription. This is the main difference between Now and HBO Go &mdash; which you're only able to access with cable.</p> <h3>Livestream</h3> <p>There still aren't many streaming options for sports programming, but Livestream is one of the few available at the moment. This app allows you to stream live events through your Chromecast, Roku, or Apple TV. The app is free and you can also use it on your iPhone or Android device.</p> <h3>Sling TV</h3> <p>If you're one of the many who hasn't cut the cord because of a lack of streaming sports options, Sling TV just might be for you. Sling TV is the first true internet-only alternative to a traditional cable package. For only $20/mo, you can get the Sling TV Orange package which includes ESPN, TBS, and CNN plus about 25 other popular channels.</p> <h2>A streaming device</h2> <p>Using streaming services doesn't mean you can only watch on your computer. There are some nifty devices that allow you to stream these shows to your TV, so you can sit back and still enjoy shows and movies on your big screen TV. Most newer TVs have the required USB port that the streaming sticks and players directly connect to. On older TVs without a USB port, you might be able to use an HDMI-to-USB adapter cord, but it depends on your HDMI setup in the back of your TV.</p> <h3>Amazon Fire TV Stick</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2n2eKzv" target="_blank">The Amazon Fire TV Stick</a> plugs into the back of your TV and lets you immediately start streaming. Of course, you need a Wi-Fi connection in your home, too. The Fire TV Stick is compatible with all of the popular subscription services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video, as well as free streaming options like YouTube.</p> <h3>Roku Streaming Stick</h3> <p>The <a href="http://amzn.to/2n2Dl7u" target="_blank">Roku Stick</a> stands out from the Fire TV stick in the number of apps available, as well as a convenient search feature. The Roku Stick actually searches across all streaming services to find you the exact program you're looking for.</p> <h3>Chromecast</h3> <p>This is Google's streaming device, and it also uses your Wi-Fi connection to stream music and videos on your TV. The main difference with Chromecast compared to the options above is that there's no remote. You use your phone, iPad, or laptop computer to control your programming.</p> <h3>Apple TV</h3> <p>Much like the two options above, Apple TV comes equipped with all the video/streaming apps you could ever need. Apple TV has over 1,600 of them, and the video quality is outstanding. It also connects to your iTunes library so you can seamlessly access your favorite music on your TV.</p> <h3>Gaming consoles</h3> <p>If you're a gamer, you might not need a streaming device at all, because new gaming consoles come equipped with a streaming interface. Nintendo Wii, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3, and PS4 are all gaming consoles that are able to stream TV through their wireless connection, so you can download the streaming apps (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc.) and watch your favorite shows and movies through your console.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-tv-must-haves-once-you-cut-the-cable-cord">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-netflix-and-hulu-to-play-on-your-tv">How to Get Netflix and Hulu to Play on Your TV</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/3-subscription-services-every-traveler-needs">3 Subscription Services Every Traveler Needs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/five-quick-remote-control-hacks-to-save-you-time-and-money">5 Quick Remote Control Hacks to Save You Time and Money</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/life-without-tv">Life Without Television</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/cutting-the-cable-cord-has-more-than-financial-benefits">Cutting the Cable Cord Has More Than Financial Benefits</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Technology antenna cable cable bill getting rid of cable netflix satellite streaming services tv Tue, 28 Mar 2017 09:30:33 +0000 Kyle James 1917303 at http://www.wisebread.com 18 Surprising Ways Your Identity Can Be Stolen http://www.wisebread.com/18-surprising-ways-your-identity-can-be-stolen <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/18-surprising-ways-your-identity-can-be-stolen" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-629293194.jpg" alt="surprising ways your identity can be stolen" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most people have already been victims of the most basic forms of identity theft &mdash; having fraudulent charges on your credit card. Those even less lucky have been victimized in more aggressive ways, with criminals obtaining medical care, working, and flying in our names.</p> <p>Unwinding that mess can take years and thousands of dollars. The effect is exacerbated by the fact that the crime doesn't generally stop with the one person who stole your information. Credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, and other data gets packaged and sold on the underground Internet so that different people all over the world could be impersonating you at the same time.</p> <p>&quot;It's a pain. It does cause a lot of stress,&quot; said Lindsay Bartsh, of San Rafael, California, who said that straightening out a web of fraudulent medical bills, flights, job applications, and credit applications took every minute of her free time for a year.</p> <p>How does it happen? Here's a look at both the most common ways thieves steal our data, as well as some of the newest ploys to watch out for.</p> <h2>1. Mail Theft</h2> <p>Bartsh believes this time-honored tactic is how her personal information got out into the criminal underworld. An expected W-2 tax form never arrived. Assuming it was stolen, it would have given thieves a wealth of information, such as Social Security number and workplace.</p> <h2>2. Database Hacks</h2> <p>When a large corporation gets hacked, the effect can be widespread. When the U.S. government's <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/federal-eye/wp/2015/07/09/hack-of-security-clearance-system-affected-21-5-million-people-federal-authorities-say/?utm_term=.af013608cbff" target="_blank">Office of Personnel Management was breached</a>, some 22 million people had their personal information exposed. (I was one of the many who received a warning about this, because I had a writing contract with a government agency.)</p> <h2>3. Malicious Software</h2> <p>If you have a virus on your computer, you may suffer more than a slowdown or a system crash. Some malicious programs that spread as viruses record every keystroke you type, allowing thieves to find out your online banking username and password. These programs can infect your mobile phone as well as your computer.</p> <h2>4. Search Engine Poisoning</h2> <p>This is a sneaky way of tricking people into giving up their own personal data, or getting malicious software onto a person's computer. The criminals create a fake website similar to a real one, or that could plausibly be a real one.</p> <p>One tactic is for you to click through to the fake site and try to buy a product, entering your credit card or debit card number. Another way they try to get you is for you to unknowingly download information-stealing software onto your computer.</p> <p>Where does the search engine part come in? These criminals manipulate Google and other search engines' algorithms to get their phony sites ranked high in search listings, leading users to believe they must be legit. Fortunately, Google has made progress in preventing this in recent years, but it still happens.</p> <h2>5. Phishing</h2> <p>Phishing is a term that broadly means &quot;fishing&quot; for personal information through a variety of common social interactions &mdash; so-called &quot;social engineering.&quot; The most common phishing attack happens when you get an email that looks like it came from your bank or another legitimate company. It may come with an alarming subject line, such as &quot;overdraft warning&quot; or &quot;your order has shipped.&quot; When you click a link in the email, you may see a login screen identical to your normal login, which will trick you into entering your username and password. You could also be asked for more identifying details, such as Social Security number and account number.</p> <p>Fortunately, banks have put some countermeasures into place to fight phishing. You can also protect yourself by not responding directly to incoming messages. If you get an email that looks like it's from your bank, type your bank address into your browser instead of clicking the link, sign in, and check your account's message center. Or just call your bank's customer service number.</p> <h2>6. Phone Attacks</h2> <p>The Internal Revenue Service has been warning for several years that <a href="https://www.irs.gov/uac/newsroom/scam-phone-calls-continue-irs-identifies-five-easy-ways-to-spot-suspicious-calls" target="_blank">scammers are calling people claiming to be the IRS</a>, either claiming that they have a refund due or owe money. Fishing for information via the phone is also known as &quot;vishing,&quot; as in, &quot;voice phishing.&quot;</p> <p>If they're taking the refund tactic, they'll probably ask for your bank account number or other personal info, supposedly in order to send you your refund. If they say you owe, they may ask for a credit or debit card number, or worse, try to get a payment in a way that's not traceable or refundable, like through a prepaid debit card.</p> <p>This kind of scam is also known as &quot;pretexting,&quot; and the really good scammers make it seem realistic by having some basic info about you on hand before they call, like your address and date of birth, which are pretty easy to find online.</p> <h2>7. Text Attacks</h2> <p>In another twist on phishing, &quot;smishing,&quot; or SMS phishing, sends you a text message encouraging you to click a link that will either trigger the download of malicious software or direct you to input personal information.</p> <h2>8. Fake Wi-Fi Hotspot</h2> <p>Also known as an &quot;evil twin&quot; hotspot, this is a Wi-Fi connection setup in a public place, like a cafe, with a name that leads you to believe it was provided by someone trustworthy, like the cafe owner. The evil twin Wi-Fi hotspot really connects you to the Internet, just like a legit connection. The difference is, the evil twin is provided by a hacker, who uses specialized software to eavesdrop on information you're sending out &mdash; like your bank password or Social Security number &mdash; or to direct you to a malicious website like those described above.</p> <p>When a hacker interrupts your attempt to access a legitimate website and steals the data you're trying to send, it's called a &quot;<a href="https://www.owasp.org/index.php/Man-in-the-middle_attack" target="_blank">man in the middle attack</a>.&quot;</p> <h2>9. Dumpster Diving</h2> <p>Another low-tech but very effective method is simply pawing through recycling bins, looking for discarded credit card offers, bills, medical records, and other paperwork that could have personal information on it. Not only can identity thieves hit you at home, they could also search dumpsters outside of medical offices, schools, and banks.</p> <h2>10. Workplace Theft</h2> <p>A U.S. Department of Justice survey of convicted identity thieves found that a third of them <a href="https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/219122.pdf" target="_blank">accessed victims' information through their jobs</a>. The criminals worked for mortgage companies or at government agencies such as the Department of Motor Vehicles, where they had access to treasure troves of client information. Others lifted information from job applications.</p> <p>Back in 2000, just one guy was responsible for stealing 33,000 people's credit reports at his credit industry help desk job. He sold the reports to thieves who, according to news reports, used the information to steal up to $100 million.</p> <h2>11. Burglary</h2> <p>When someone breaks into your home or car, it may not be the loss of your jewelry, cash, or laptop that hurts the most. If they find your credit cards, Social security card, or tax returns &mdash; or get such information off a stolen computer &mdash; you could be in for severe identity theft.</p> <h2>12. Pickpocketing</h2> <p>Another old-fashioned crime that has thrived in the era of high-tech data theft, pickpocketing nowadays commonly leads directly to identity theft. In fact, a major ID theft ring busted 10 years ago targeted crowded events to steal wallets and convert the information inside to valuable dossiers of information, which they would later resell.</p> <h2>13. Mobile Phone Theft</h2> <p>If you have authorized your phone to make payments on your behalf, saved passwords for banking and retail sites, or saved other personal data on it, having the device stolen could cost you a lot more than the replacement cost. Phones that aren't password- or fingerprint-protected are most vulnerable.</p> <h2>14. Mobile Phone Account Hijacking</h2> <p>Another form of ID theft targeting phones happens when someone gets ahold of your account information and uses it to <a href="https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/identity-theft-mobile-phone" target="_blank">order a new phone or line</a>, with the bill going to you.</p> <h2>15. Shoulder Surfing</h2> <p>This technique involves watching over someone's shoulder as they enter a password at the ATM, or using a camera to steal the information from farther away. This could also be a tactic for getting someone's phone password before physically stealing the phone.</p> <h2>16. Skimming</h2> <p>This nefarious technique involves stealing credit or debit card information with a card reader that may look just like a legitimate card reader. Skimming devices have been found at gas station pumps, on ATMs, and at retail store registers. Or, waiters in restaurants can put your card through a skimmer when they take it to the back to finalize your bill.</p> <h2>17. Friend and Family Theft</h2> <p>Also known as &quot;familiar fraud,&quot; this crime happens when the ID thief is your child, your parent, even your spouse. Sadly, it's not uncommon for parents to abuse the identities of their own minor children in order to get credit. In a <a href="https://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/587/the-perils-of-intimacy?act=0#play" target="_blank">disturbing story broadcast on <em>This American Life</em></a>, Rachel Rosenthal couldn't figure out how her identity thief kept catching up with her, no matter how many accounts she closed &mdash; until she realized that the thief lived in her own home and had access to all her mail and documents. It was her boyfriend, who had been &quot;helping&quot; her financially, with money he withdrew from <em>her</em> bank account.</p> <p>Often, these crimes take place in the context of real relationships, where one party happened to turn on the other party. But there are also crooks out there who look for partners specifically to steal their identities, especially on dating sites and social media.</p> <h2>18. Social Engineering Targeting Companies</h2> <p>You don't have to work for a credit agency or mortgage bank to get customer information if you are skilled enough to trick employees into giving it to you. Thieves may call an airline, posing as a secretary who needs her boss's trip information, or call a company pretending to represent a client or supplier. A friendly fast talker may be able to get employees to skip security protocols and give out information they shouldn't. Every call the thief makes is a little easier, armed with the information from the last call</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/18-surprising-ways-your-identity-can-be-stolen">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/phishing-scams-continue-to-plague-social-media-sites">Phishing Scams Continue to Plague Social Media Sites</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/stop-making-these-8-risky-password-mistakes">Stop Making These 8 Risky Password Mistakes</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/10-ways-to-keep-your-private-info-private">10 Ways to Keep Your Private Info Private</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> Consumer Affairs Technology hijacking identity identity theft phishing skimming stolen identity tech news Wed, 08 Mar 2017 11:00:10 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1905168 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Smart Ways to Save on Smartphones http://www.wisebread.com/5-smart-ways-to-save-on-smartphones <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-smart-ways-to-save-on-smartphones" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-538872884.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Phones and phone service plans are an almost inescapable part of modern society. Every few years, we must choose a new cell phone and a new service plan to invest in. It's a modern necessity that can take up a huge chunk of our monthly expenses.</p> <p>Don't worry, there are several strategies that can help save you money on this necessity. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-smart-way-to-pay-for-cell-phone-service?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Smart Way to Pay for Cell Phone Service</a>)</p> <h2>1. Repair the Phone You've Got</h2> <p>Do you have a glitchy or damaged phone? Tired of dealing with it? Don't sign up for a new phone just yet. Nearly every town has one or two smartphone repair shops that might be able to fix your phone.</p> <p>The diagnostic tests to determine if the problem can be fixed are typically free. The actual repairs can run anywhere from $50 to $150 depending on the device, the problem, and the store. That's still expensive, but it might be worth it if it prevents the need to purchase another $300 to $700 phone.</p> <h2>2. Sell Back Old Devices</h2> <p>If you determine it's time for a new cell phone, don't just throw the device in the trash. Many businesses have <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-sites-that-will-pay-for-your-old-iphone?ref=internal" target="_blank">cell phone trade-in programs</a>.</p> <p>What exactly are trade-in programs? You sell the devices that are <em>not</em> currently being financed by a carrier or business to the store for cash. That's cash you can use to purchase your next phone. How much money you will receive is based on the following factors:</p> <ul> <li>The phone type;</li> <li>The phone's ability to power on;</li> <li>If the phone has cracks on the screen.</li> </ul> <p>The following stores have trade-in programs: Gazelle, Amazon, uSell, Best Buy, Walmart, EcoATM, Verizon Wireless, and T-Mobile.</p> <p>You might also want to check out Trade-Up programs from various cell phone carriers and stores. Trade-Up programs allow you to trade in your old phone and put the money directly toward your next phone purchase.</p> <h2>3. Don't Purchase Phones Directly From Cellphone Carriers</h2> <p>Amazon, eBay, Best Buy, and even Costco (pretty much any store other than the traditional phone carriers) can offer cheaper smartphone options. You should shop around to see if you can find new, used, or refurbished phones for a cheaper price.</p> <p>If you find a phone, you should check that the phone will be compatible with the cellular provider you use. (Some smartphones are locked to only work with certain providers.)</p> <h2>4. Purchase an Unlocked Smartphone</h2> <p>Why purchase an unlocked phone? Unlocked phones have the following benefits:</p> <ul> <li>They're available at a variety of stores;</li> <li>They aren't tied to one particular phone provider;</li> <li>They can be slightly cheaper;</li> <li>They allow the use of your phone on international trips;</li> <li>You're able to leave a provider and take your phone with you.</li> </ul> <p>If you decide to purchase an unlocked new, refurbished, or used smartphone, you need to keep in mind that you will most likely need to either purchase or receive a SIM card from a store or the cellular provider you opt to use.</p> <p>Cell phone companies have different plans for unlocked phones. These plans typically have monthly payments like more traditional phone plans. Or, you can opt to just purchase pre-paid SIM cards from stores like Amazon and Best Buy.</p> <h2>5. Choose the Best Plan for You</h2> <p>Don't just sign onto the first provider you stumble across. You should check out a wide variety of plans before signing up. Consider your usage habits. Don't automatically sign up for the cheapest plan not knowing how much data you use each month. You'll be in for budget-breaking overage charges. But don't just sign up for the unlimited plan, either, just to have a safety net from possible overage charges. The only thing worse than paying for using too much data, is paying for data you'll never use.</p> <p>Plan comparison sites can help you get a general sense of how much various phone providers cost. Two sites that can help you determine which provider offers the best plans are <a href="http://www.myrateplan.com/" target="_blank">MyRatePlan.com</a> and <a href="https://www.whistleout.com/" target="_blank">WhistleOut.com</a>.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/samantha-stauf">Samantha Stauf</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-smart-ways-to-save-on-smartphones">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/7-apps-that-make-budgeting-fun-no-really">7 Apps That Make Budgeting Fun — No Really!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-apps-for-busy-working-parents">The 5 Best Apps for Busy Working Parents</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-ways-your-smartphone-saves-you-money">8 Ways Your Smartphone Saves You Money</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/is-unlimited-data-still-a-thing">Is Unlimited Data Still a Thing?</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/10-fun-books-that-will-get-your-kids-excited-about-money">10 Fun Books That Will Get Your Kids Excited About Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Technology cell plan Cell service money phone phone bill saving money smartphone unlimited data Wed, 08 Mar 2017 10:30:37 +0000 Samantha Stauf 1905167 at http://www.wisebread.com Is Unlimited Data Still a Thing? http://www.wisebread.com/is-unlimited-data-still-a-thing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-unlimited-data-still-a-thing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-494831590.jpg" alt="Woman learning if unlimited data is still a thing" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Once upon a time, there were affordable unlimited data plans that allowed you to use all the data your heart desired. Nowadays, those plans seem like something out of a fairy tale. So, whatever happened to unlimited data, and what are the best options you can find today?</p> <h2>What Happened to Unlimited Data Plans?</h2> <p>Let's be honest; you use more smartphone data now than you did five years ago, right? We all do, and the carriers just can't keep up with our increased demands. According to Lowell McAdam, Verizon's CEO, &quot;If you allow unlimited usage, you just run out of gas.&quot; He says that unlimited plans <a href="https://www.cnet.com/news/verizon-ceo-unlimited-data-plans-just-arent-sustainable/" target="_blank">just aren't sustainable</a> in today's age of online videos and increased data usage. In short, carriers just don't have the spectrum required to carry the signals anymore.</p> <p>Verizon claimed that there were customers that were using over 100GB of data per month, which may be one of the reasons that they did away with the unlimited data plan altogether. Unless you are grandfathered into a plan with Verizon or AT&amp;T, these carriers no longer offer unlimited data plans to new customers.</p> <p>For several years, Sprint and T-Mobile were the only carriers offering unlimited data to new customers. In the past several weeks, both AT&amp;T and Verizon have re-entered the unlimited data game.</p> <h2>Your Data May Get Throttled</h2> <p>One thing that many unlimited data customers don't realize is that while you may have an unlimited data allowance, you won't necessarily receive high-speed data at all times. For instance, if your plan says &quot;Unlimited data (up to 23GB LTE),&quot; this means that you will only have 23GB of fast speed data. After that point, you will receive slower data speeds. Then, once the next cycle starts, you'll be back up to the highest speed. Most of the major carriers cap high-speed data at around 23GB per month.</p> <h2>Is Unlimited Actually a Good Deal?</h2> <p>Verizon found that the average customer actually only uses between 1-2GB of data per month, so it's important that you figure out exactly what you need before signing onto a plan with too little or too much data.</p> <p>Once you know how much data you realistically need each month, you can actually save money on your monthly plans. For instance, Verizon offers a plan for $50/month for 4GB of data. Even if you were grandfathered into the unlimited data plan, you'd still be spending $100. If you don't use more than 4GB of data, then you can save $35 per month just by switching to the 4GB plan.</p> <p>To find your data usage, go to Settings&gt;Cellular on an iPhone, or Settings&gt;Data Usage on an Android. Once you have this information, you can focus on finding the best cellphone plan for your requirements.</p> <h2>How to Control Costs</h2> <p>If you continually go over your data allowance every month, then you have two options: change your plan or stop using so much data. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to reduce your data usage, such as turning off automatic downloads, turning off Wi-Fi assist, and turning off high-quality music and video streaming. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-prevent-your-smartphone-from-wasting-data?ref=seealso" target="_blank">15 Ways to Prevent Your Smartphone From Wasting Data</a>)</p> <h2>How to Get the Right Data Plan for You</h2> <p>While you likely won't find unlimited plans with your cellphone carrier (without a catch), you can find the right plan based on tiered pricing models. If you can start a family plan, you can enjoy more data (or possibly an unlimited data allowance) shared among your family members. This can save your family quite a bit of money compared to individual plans. You may also want to consider a prepaid plan to keep your data usage in check. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-smart-way-to-pay-for-cell-phone-service?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Smart Way to Pay for Cellphone Service</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-unlimited-data-still-a-thing">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-smart-ways-to-save-on-smartphones">5 Smart Ways to Save on Smartphones</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-mobile-phone-upgrades-that-arent-worth-the-money">4 Mobile Phone Upgrades That Aren&#039;t Worth the Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-painless-ways-to-lower-your-cell-phone-bill">5 Painless Ways to Lower Your Cell Phone Bill</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-apps-that-actually-pay-you-to-shop">8 Apps That Actually Pay You to Shop</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-alternatives-to-cable-tv-that-will-keep-you-entertained">8 Alternatives to Cable TV That Will Keep You Entertained</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Technology cellphone plans data data plans phone bill smartphones unlimited data Tue, 07 Mar 2017 10:31:27 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1904505 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Surprising Perks (and Some Drawbacks) of Paperless Billing http://www.wisebread.com/9-surprising-perks-and-some-drawbacks-of-paperless-billing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-surprising-perks-and-some-drawbacks-of-paperless-billing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-546178094.jpg" alt="Woman learning perks and drawbacks of paperless billing" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Back in 2001, paperless billing was still in its infancy, and I was a recent college graduate who was just getting started in the adult world. At the time, my car insurance provider offered me a discount if I signed up for online billing. The discount helped me overcome my reluctance to give up my paper statements and beloved check writing routine.</p> <p>The world of paperless billing has evolved a great deal since the first year of the new Millennium. Here are the pros and cons of using paperless billing today, and some suggestions for making sure the benefits always outweigh the costs.</p> <h2>1. Pro: Paperless Billing Is Better for the Environment</h2> <p>Switching from paper to online statements doesn't just save stamps, it's also an important way to help the environment. According to PayItGreen studies from 2010, if just 20% of American households switched from all-paper to <a href="http://www.lawconferencing.com/about/payitgreen.php" target="_blank">all-digital billing</a>, statements, and payments, the collective impact would be enormous. Such changes would include:</p> <ul> <li>Save 150,939,615 pounds of paper</li> <li>Save 1,811,275 trees</li> <li>Avoid producing almost two million tons of greenhouse gases</li> <li>Avoid creating more than a billion gallons of wastewater in the paper production process</li> <li>Avoid using over 100 million gallons of gas to mail payments</li> </ul> <h2>2. Pro: Companies Will Offer Incentives to Go Paperless</h2> <p>Since companies spend less on paper, stamps, and sorting when they do all billing and payment online, it can make a big difference in their bottom line to get as many customers on paperless billing as possible. They often will sweeten the suggestion to go paperless by offering customers some sort of incentive to switch over. In some cases, like my auto insurer back in 2001, you can expect a small discount. Other incentives might include a statement credit, a gift card, or even the opportunity to win a prize.</p> <h2>3. Pro: Paperless Billing Helps You Declutter</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clear-out-financial-clutter?ref=internal" target="_blank">Paper clutter</a> often seems to have a life of its own. Switching to paperless billing means you'll never misplace a bill in a pile of junk mail, nor will you ever accidentally shred or recycle an unpaid bill because it decided to hide in the pile of credit card solicitations on your desk.</p> <h2>4. Pro: You'll Be Better Protected From Identity Theft</h2> <p>It may offer the illusion of security to hold a paper bill in your hand, but that's not always the case. It's a piece of cake for mail thieves and dumpster divers to glean sensitive account information off a stolen bill they pinched from your mailbox or garbage. By the time you realize your identity has been compromised, you may have a real headache to deal with, and some financial damage to undo.</p> <p>Your emailed paperless statements will never show your full credit card or bank account information. Even if a scammer hacks their way into your inbox, they'd still have to hack their way into your bill provider's online account to access sensitive information. Prevent this by using a strong password that includes multiple characters as well as upper and lowercase letters.</p> <h2>5. Pro: Access Your Statements From Anywhere</h2> <p>If you receive a paperless bill, it doesn't matter where you are &mdash; if you have access to the Internet, you have access to your statement. If you're out of town for work or vacation, you won't have to worry about what vulnerable information is left sitting in the mailbox while you're away.</p> <h2>6. Con: Forgetting to Pay a Paperless Bill</h2> <p>When you ignore your snail mail, it tends to pile up, making it harder to forget that there may be something important in there. Email, on the other hand, is eminently easy to ignore &mdash; so your paperless utility bill can very easily go unnoticed.</p> <p>Similarly, even if you do stay on top of both your paper mail and email, you may not be ready to pay your bill the moment it arrives. If that's the case with a paper statement, you can always set the bill somewhere that you'll see it, to remind yourself to pay it at another time. It is much more difficult to flag your email to remind you to pay the bill, which means you may forget until after you've missed the due date.</p> <h3>The Fix: A Dedicated Email Account and Calendar Reminders</h3> <p>Create a dedicated email account just for all of your bills, and plan on checking this email regularly. In addition, create reminders in your calendar to prompt you to check your dedicated email account so you never miss a payment.</p> <h2>7. Con: Lost Passwords</h2> <p>Passwords are an important part of online security, but the fact that pretty much everything you do online must be password-protected means that the odds are stacked against you for remembering all of your passwords. Many people get around that problem by using the same password for everything &mdash; which can seriously compromise your security if any of the accounts you use gets hacked.</p> <p>Companies that offer paperless billing often require even more security from your password, such as needing a special character, a number, and a capital letter. This is understandable, but it makes it even more difficult for the average person to remember their password &mdash; and multiple incorrect guesses can sometimes get you locked out of the site.</p> <h3>The Fix: Create a Password Based on a Sentence</h3> <p>The secret to secure but memorable passwords is to start with a sentence that means something to you. For instance: &quot;I am waiting for the reincarnation of Elvis.&quot;</p> <p>Then substitute letters, numbers, and symbols for each of the words: I@w4troE</p> <p>With that as your base password, you could tailor it to each site so that you can still remember your passwords, but each site's password is slightly different. For instance, you might add letters and numbers that represent the site to the end of your base password.</p> <p>For Capital One 360, your password would become: I@w4troECO360</p> <p>Just jot down the original sentence somewhere you can find it. It will remind you of your password, and mean nothing to anyone else.</p> <h2>8. Con: Forgetting to Update Account Information</h2> <p>If you moved, you'd have to let your bill providers know and inform them of your new home address. Well, the same is true for your email when you receive paperless statements.</p> <p>Maybe you're about to lose access to a work or school email that was tied to your billing account, or you're about to shut down an old email that got swamped by hackers. If you forget to update this change in your online billing account settings, you could end up losing access altogether.</p> <h2>9. Con: Overdrafts From Automatic Payments</h2> <p>Many people who set up paperless billing also make the leap to automatic online payments. For anyone whose income is variable, or anyone who lives paycheck to paycheck, automatic bill payments can cause major headaches if you have insufficient funds in your account on the day that your payment is debited. This makes for something of a Catch-22, since many people in such a situation need the discount that an automatic payment provides, but the automation puts them in danger of overdraft every month.</p> <h3>The Fix: Ask for a Change of Payment Date</h3> <p>Most companies will allow their customers to request a specific payment date, particularly if they are using auto-pay options. If you deal with variable income or have trouble making it from one paycheck to the next, set up your automatic payments so that they are debited on the day your paycheck clears. If you have multiple bills that are auto-debited, you can stagger them through the month to coincide with your paydays.</p> <h2>Making Paperless Billing Work for You</h2> <p>Digital billing is here to stay, but it's far from a perfect system. Knowing which of the downsides are most likely to trip you up will allow you to plan ahead for the problems while you enjoy the benefits.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-surprising-perks-and-some-drawbacks-of-paperless-billing">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/3-sneaky-ways-identity-thieves-can-access-your-data">3 Sneaky Ways Identity Thieves Can Access Your Data</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-simple-financial-upgrades-you-can-make-during-breakfast">6 Simple Financial Upgrades You Can Make During Breakfast</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-improve-your-finances-using-social-media">How to Improve Your Finances Using Social Media</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/stop-making-these-8-risky-password-mistakes">Stop Making These 8 Risky Password Mistakes</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/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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Technology automatic payments bill pay email Internet online statements paperless billing passwords Mon, 06 Mar 2017 11:00:09 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1900129 at http://www.wisebread.com Organize 8 Key Areas of Your Life With These 17 Smart Apps http://www.wisebread.com/organize-8-key-areas-of-your-life-with-these-17-smart-apps <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/organize-8-key-areas-of-your-life-with-these-17-smart-apps" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-540566958.jpg" alt="Woman organizing her life with smart apps" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's no doubt the phone in your pocket is a great time killer while in a crowded waiting room, but the truth is that smartphones are actually amazing little tools that can really improve your productivity &mdash; both personally and professionally. Here are eight tasks you can do on your phone, with the help of 17 apps, that will help you organize your life and even boost your savings account with almost no effort on your part. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-productivity-apps-for-really-busy-people-like-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Great Productivity Apps for Really Busy People Like You</a>)</p> <h2>Track Your To-Do List</h2> <p>Skip the Post Its, notepads, and notes scribbled on napkins. Take your pick of task management apps, depending on how simple or robust you'd like it. Some will integrate with your calendar while others can be shared with friends and family. Find the one that will keep you on task and ditch the pen and paper for good.</p> <h3>1. Wunderlist</h3> <p><a href="https://www.wunderlist.com/" target="_blank">Wunderlist</a> allows you to create to-do lists, set due dates and reminders, and even assign to-dos for others.</p> <h3>2. Todoist</h3> <p><a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/todoist-todo-list-for-organizing-work-and-errands/id572688855?mt=8" target="_blank">Todoist</a> manages all of your projects &mdash; both personal and professional. You can also seamlessly manage all your tasks and events from any device.</p> <h3>3. Any.do</h3> <p><a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/any-do-to-do-list-calendar-reminders-tasks/id497328576?mt=8" target="_blank">Any.do</a> lets you link your calendar and to-do lists, so you always know what's coming up. You can set reminders for both so you never lose track of deadlines again.</p> <h2>Log Your Time</h2> <p>Have you ever wondered how much time you waste every day on things like social media or TV? The first step to managing your time effectively is understanding how your time is currently being spent, and where it's being wasted. Use a time tracker app to determine where your time is going. Some apps will work in the background, automatically gathering data on where you spend your time, whereas others allow you to manually select activities.</p> <h3>4. Awesome Time Logger</h3> <p><a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/awesome-time-logger-free/id663656917" target="_blank">Awesome Time Logger Free</a> features an intuitive interface that allows you to quickly track and log your time throughout the day and get custom reports that you can use to improve productivity.</p> <h3>5. My Hours</h3> <p><a href="https://myhours.com/#features" target="_blank">My Hours</a> works as a stop watch, tracking time you spend on each task. The app also allows you to assign billing to hours if you are a freelancer or contractor.</p> <h3>6. Toggl</h3> <p>While <a href="https://toggl.com/features" target="_blank">Toggl</a> is an ideal time tracker for teams, it's also great for individuals seeking an easy way to track time spent on tasks and bill accordingly.</p> <h2>Take Notes</h2> <p>There are few things more frustrating than needing to jot something down, and not having a pen and paper to do so. But luckily, this is 2017, and you no longer need traditional writing tools to record your thoughts. Note taking apps have moved way beyond just allowing you to type a few words on a file. Some allow you to create useful filing systems, set reminders, collaborate and share with others, and include everything from links to photos to screenshots.</p> <h3>7. Evernote</h3> <p><a href="https://evernote.com/" target="_blank">Evernote</a> lets you create full project to-do lists that can be shared across multiple platforms.</p> <h3>8. Google Keep</h3> <p><a href="https://keep.google.com/u/0/" target="_blank">Google Keep</a> allows you to take quick notes, add lists, photos, and voice memos to track your every thought. Seamless integration with Google Docs makes it easy to turn those quick notes into longer documents.</p> <h2>Organize Your Projects</h2> <p>You're busy. I'm busy. We're all endlessly busy. Sometimes we don't even know where to start, when to stop, and how much to do. Use time management apps that will allow you to schedule your tasks throughout your day.</p> <h3>9. Trello</h3> <p><a href="https://trello.com/platforms" target="_blank">The Trello</a>&nbsp;app helps you create &quot;boards&quot; for all the projects you're currently working on and lets you easily add notes, to-do lists, photos, videos, and even customized workflows for your projects.</p> <h3>10. Asana</h3> <p><a href="https://asana.com/" target="_blank">Asana</a> lets you track projects from start to finish, and easily chat with project collaborators as you go along.</p> <h2>Protect Your Passwords</h2> <p>In an era of cyber security breaches and identity thieves running amok with personal information, protecting passwords has become serious business. You want to make sure your passwords don't all match, are not easy to guess, and are updated frequently enough to protect yourself from data hacks. But you also need a way to remember or access all those secure passwords! There's an app for that.</p> <h3>11. Keeper</h3> <p><a href="https://keepersecurity.com/" target="_blank">Keeper</a>&nbsp;creates, organizes, and auto-fills strong passwords on your behalf for all your accounts.</p> <h3>12. LastPass</h3> <p><a href="https://www.lastpass.com/" target="_blank">LastPass</a> keeps all of your precious passwords in one safe space, and alerts you to any duplicate passwords that may put you at risk for being hacked.</p> <h2>Control Your Documents</h2> <p>Even after signing up for paperless delivery for all our accounts, we still can't escape the daily receipts, business cards, and other documents that we end up collecting on a daily basis. Use an app to quickly scan and file these away.</p> <h3>13. Shoeboxed</h3> <p><a href="https://www.shoeboxed.com/" target="_blank">Shoeboxed</a>&nbsp;lets you scan receipts and business cards, track mileage, and even send expense reports with receipt images attached.</p> <h2>Save Effortlessly</h2> <p>If you've made it a financial priority to build up your savings accounts in 2017, you know it can take time and due diligence to make it happen. Personal finance apps help you manage your money, pay your bills on time, and also effortlessly save money.</p> <h3>14. Acorns</h3> <p><a href="https://www.acorns.com/" target="_blank">Acorns</a> automatically funds your savings for you by rounding up your purchases and adding the change to your Acorns savings account. They'll even invest the &quot;change&quot; for you so you can potentially make much more than what your savings account is currently paying. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-i-learned-about-money-after-using-acorns?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Here's What I Learned About Money After Using Acorns</a>)</p> <h3>15. Digit</h3> <p><a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/digit-save-money-automatically-without-a-budget/id1011935076?mt=8" target="_blank">Digit</a> is the perfect savings sidekick. Once you link the app to your checking account, Digit analyzes your spending and sets aside small amounts of cash to save. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-a-robot-called-digit-really-help-you-save-more?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Can a Robot Called Digit Really Help You Save More?</a>)</p> <h2>Schedule Appointments</h2> <p>Tired of having to open up your calendar each time a meeting request comes in via email or text? Integrate your emails and even your text messages with your favorite calendar app to see everything in one place.</p> <h3>16. Gyst</h3> <p>Quickly determine potential meeting dates with <a href="http://gystapp.com/" target="_blank">Gyst</a>, both with friends and business colleagues by linking your text messages and emails with your calendar.</p> <h3>17. Handle</h3> <p><a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/handle-to-do-list-inbox-and-calendar-management/id766063605?mt=8" target="_blank">Handle</a> does just what it says and handles your life by linking your emails, to-do lists, and calendar, so you always know what's expected of you and where you need to be.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/organize-8-key-areas-of-your-life-with-these-17-smart-apps">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/the-5-best-apps-for-busy-working-parents">The 5 Best Apps for Busy Working Parents</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-tools-and-gadgets-your-smartphone-can-replace">7 Tools and Gadgets Your Smartphone Can Replace</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/10-dumb-little-productivity-killers-you-need-to-stop-doing-today">10 Dumb Little Productivity Killers You Need to Stop Doing Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-dumb-places-you-re-leaving-your-money">6 Dumb Places You’re Leaving Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Organization Technology apps apps you need organization productivity smartphone apps tech news time management Fri, 03 Mar 2017 10:30:38 +0000 Kyle James 1901984 at http://www.wisebread.com 20 Ways Amazon's Alexa Can Make Your Life Easier http://www.wisebread.com/20-ways-amazons-alexa-can-make-your-life-easier <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-ways-amazons-alexa-can-make-your-life-easier" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-577940288.jpg" alt="Learning ways Amazon&#039;s Alexa makes life easier" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>World, meet Amazon's Alexa. Alexa is a personal assistant that comes with the <a href="http://amzn.to/2lDJtCe" target="_blank">Amazon Echo Dot</a>, <a href="http://amzn.to/2mlm34q" target="_blank">Echo Tap</a>, and <a href="http://amzn.to/2li4vWa" target="_blank">Echo devices</a>. It works similarly to Siri and can be the assistant you never knew you needed.</p> <h2>What Can Alexa Do?</h2> <p>The smart wireless speaker offers a number of valuable services through Alexa that can really make your life easier. By simplifying daily tasks with Alexa, you can get out the door faster and focus on more important things.</p> <p>With more than <a href="http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=176060&amp;p=RssLanding&amp;cat=news&amp;id=2201509&amp;utm_source=Triggermail&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_campaign=Post%20Blast%20%28bii-iot%29:%20Google%27s%20self-driving%20car%20project%20is%20losing%20out%20to%20competito" target="_blank">3,000 available skills</a>, it can take some time to determine which skills are right for your needs. That's why we've highlighted some of the best ways to use Alexa to streamline your life.</p> <h3>1. Check the Traffic and Weather</h3> <p>By being able to check the traffic and weather with ease, you can better prepare for the day ahead.</p> <h3>2. Manage Your Calendar</h3> <p>You can edit your calendar and get reminders of upcoming events with voice commands. You can also create tasks on your favorite to-do app.</p> <h3>3. Find Your Phone</h3> <p>If you've lost your phone, <a href="http://amzn.to/2l81dnv" target="_blank">TrackR</a> will help you find it. Simply instruct Alexa to find your phone or ring your phone so you can quickly determine its location.</p> <h3>4. Set a Timer or Alarm</h3> <p>Along with quickly checking the time, you can also set a timer or alarm on the device. You can also set your phone to ring anytime the alarm goes off.</p> <h3>5. Play Music</h3> <p>You can play a song through Alexa or connect to a paid music service like Spotify. You can even instruct it to play certain types of music (such as, &quot;Alexa, play Christmas music&quot;) to perfectly set the mood.</p> <h3>6. Get the News</h3> <p>Alexa can read the news or your favorite audiobook to you. She can also answer questions so you can always stay informed.</p> <h3>7. Find Local Hotspots</h3> <p>Alexa can help you find local businesses or restaurants based on Yelp reviews. This can help you get more acquainted with your new neighborhood in no time.</p> <h3>8. Control the Lights</h3> <p>If you have smart lights, you can use Alexa to turn them on and off with your voice.</p> <h3>9. Control the Thermostat</h3> <p>If you have a smart thermostat (like a <a href="http://amzn.to/2l81Jlo" target="_blank">Nest thermostat</a>), Alexa can adjust the temperature via voice command.</p> <h3>10. Control Your GE Appliances</h3> <p>Once you've connected your GE appliances, you can tell Alexa to do things like preheat the oven when you're ready to cook a meal.</p> <h3>11. Control Your Smart Devices</h3> <p>Once you connect your smart devices (like your TV), you can start controlling them with Alexa. You can turn on the TV, launch Netflix, change the channel, and more. Companies like Ford, Hyundai, and LG have also released smart home appliances, cars, phones, and other electronics that can connect with Alexa to further simplify your life. With the <a href="http://amzn.to/2lLGlGu" target="_blank">Automatic car adapter</a> addition, you can even track information on your car, such as how much you drove and when you'll need gas.</p> <h3>12. Improve Home Safety</h3> <p>With Alexa, you can lock your doors or turn your home security system on.</p> <h3>13. Update Your Shopping List</h3> <p>By being able to verbally edit your shopping list, you'll never have to worry about forgetting anything again.</p> <h3>14. Buy Something</h3> <p>Of course, you can instruct Alexa to purchase something and she will complete the order on Amazon for you.</p> <h3>15. Order a Ride</h3> <p>You can connect your device with apps like Uber or Lyft to request a ride.</p> <h3>16. Plan a Trip</h3> <p>You can quickly plan and track a trip through the Kayak skill. Who needs a personal assistant when Alexa can do the hard work for you?</p> <h3>17. Find Recipes</h3> <p>Alexa connects to Food Network, My Chef, and All Recipes to help you find the perfect recipes for food or cocktails, so you can plan a tasty meal on the fly.</p> <h3>18. Order Food</h3> <p>Some food companies, like Domino's, have partnered with the Amazon Echo, allowing you to do things like reorder your most recent order, send a new order, or track your current order. You'll always know where your pizza is.</p> <h3>19. Get Fit</h3> <p>Simply instruct Alexa to start a seven-minute workout and she will walk you through the routine. Now, you'll never have an excuse to skip a workout again. You can also connect your Fitbit to better monitor your fitness. And you can get detailed nutritional information from the Food Tracker skill to more efficiently monitor your calorie intake.</p> <h3>20. Connect With Amazon Prime</h3> <p>If you have Amazon Prime, then Alexa makes it seamless for you to take advantage of all the services you are paying for with your subscription, so you get the best value for the money with Prime music, two-day shipping, and a lot more.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-ways-amazons-alexa-can-make-your-life-easier">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-ways-your-devices-are-spying-on-you">7 Ways Your Devices Are Spying on You</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/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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-off-the-grid-is-a-lot-harder-than-you-think">Going Off the Grid Is a Lot Harder Than You Think</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/9-skills-that-will-be-obsolete-soon">9 Skills That Will Be Obsolete Soon</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Technology AI Amazon Amazon Alexa personal assistant robot butler robots Siri tech gadgets tech news Tue, 28 Feb 2017 10:31:29 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1900048 at http://www.wisebread.com Pay with a Selfie: How Safe Are the New Ways to Pay? http://www.wisebread.com/bots-chips-and-selfies-how-safe-are-the-new-ways-to-pay <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/bots-chips-and-selfies-how-safe-are-the-new-ways-to-pay" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-512291874.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In 2016, more than half of all <a href="https://consumerist.com/2016/06/08/ups-survey-online-shopping-has-surpassed-in-store-buying-for-the-first-time/" target="_blank">purchases in the U.S.</a> were made online instead of at a brick-and-mortar store. From selfie-payments to Facebook Messenger bots, there is now a long list of unusual ways that you can pay the water bill or complete your grocery run for the week.</p> <p>But how safe are these new ways to pay? Let's take a closer look at how some of these new payment methods work, and what you can do to make them even safer.</p> <h2>1. Facebook Messenger Bots</h2> <p>Colorado-based <em>fintech </em>company BillHero was the first to leverage a Facebook Messenger chat bot to pay bills via chat commands. Later on in September 2016, Facebook enabled all of the 34,000 plus developers on the platform to support payments. The social media giant is working with several players in the credit card industry and fintech, including Visa and Braintree, to process all types of payment options.</p> <p>By opening the gates, Facebook allowed U.S. customers to complete a wide range of other transactions and purchases on Facebook Messenger. In a nutshell: The chat bot lets you know about a product that you might be interested in, and provides a &quot;buy now&quot; button. When you click it, it takes you to a checkout screen with your shipping information and payment method for you to review. Boom! Just like that, you're ready to pay.</p> <h3>But Is It Safe?<strong> </strong></h3> <p>Well, Facebook Messenger payment bots are covered by the same level of security as all other Facebook products. All transactions using a Facebook chat bot are encrypted or processed through a trusted third-party payment processor, such as PayPal or Stripe, to protect your payment information, such as your card number or CVV. Also, transaction confirmations from a bot will restrict your information, such as only showing the last four digits of your credit card number.</p> <h3>How to Make It Safer</h3> <p>Your first line of defense starts with your Facebook password. Facebook recommends building a password that has at least six characters and is a complex combination of numbers, letters, and punctuation marks. When a password isn't strong enough, the app will let you know. Also, make your Facebook password different from those you use for your online banking, investing, or retirement savings accounts. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-sneaky-ways-identity-thieves-can-access-your-data?ref=seealso" target="_blank">3 Sneaky Ways Identity Thieves Can Access Your Data</a>)</p> <p>A second tactic is to <a href="https://www.facebook.com/help/162968940433354?helpref=faq_content" target="_blank">turn on login alerts</a> so that you receive an automated alert when someone tries logging in to your Facebook account from an unrecognized device or browser. A third is to <a href="https://www.facebook.com/help/610199629080802?helpref=faq_content" target="_blank">require a password or PIN</a> whenever sending money or making payments in Facebook Messenger.</p> <h2>2. MasterCard Selfie Payments</h2> <p>Speaking of passwords, MasterCard believes that they cause too much hassle and presents the option to pay with a selfie. The &quot;selfie pay&quot; technology was first tested in the Netherlands, the U.S., and Canada and will be rolled out gradually across the world throughout 2017.</p> <p>Through a smartphone app, shoppers can confirm a purchase by taking a selfie and letting the facial recognition software verify their identity. According to MasterCard, 71% of users rated &quot;selfie pay&quot; highly during trials.</p> <h3>But Is It Safe?<strong> </strong></h3> <p>To prevent somebody from just holding up a picture of you and getting away with a $1,000 shopping spree, the app requires you to snap the picture after you blink or shake your head. Then, the app compares the selfie with stored algorithms of your face to identify you. During the trials, 73% of users believed that &quot;selfie pay&quot; will reduce fraud and 90% of them would use it in the future.</p> <h3>How to Make It Safer</h3> <p>Since &quot;selfie pay&quot; is still in the process of being rolled out, there's little that we can do as of right now. If taking selfies isn't your cup of tea, MasterCard also plans to provide a fingerprint confirmation option with the app and is currently testing voice and cardiac rhythm recognition.</p> <h2>3. Amazon Dash Buttons</h2> <p>Connected to your home's Wi-Fi, the <a href="http://amzn.to/2iTpixh" target="_blank">Amazon Dash Button</a> allows you to reorder many of your favorite products with a simple click. To set up each Amazon Dash Button, you'll need to download the Amazon app on your Android or Apple device, connect the Dash Button to Bluetooth, and also enter your Wi-Fi information. Some Dash Buttons don't support Bluetooth connection, and use your smartphone's Wi-Fi connection or speakers instead.</p> <p>Currently, the button is only available for Amazon Prime members, costs $4.99, and provides you with a $4.99 credit after your first order. There are hundreds of products to choose from including Charmin, Doritos, Greenies Dog Treats, and Red Bull! Once you click the button, an indicator light will turn green when your order is successfully placed, or red if there was a problem.</p> <h3>But Is It Safe?<strong> </strong></h3> <p>A device that connects seamlessly to your Wi-Fi, smartphone, and Amazon account &mdash; what could go wrong? While there are plenty of folks that have hacked their own button to do anything from <a href="https://medium.com/@ecaron/why-i-stopped-hacking-the-amazon-dash-button-and-learned-to-solder-84386a38bbd1#.wmcfdj5do" target="_blank">turning on lamps remotely</a> to <a href="https://medium.com/@brody_berson/hacking-amazon-s-5-dash-button-to-order-domino-s-pizza-9d19c9d04646#.j6d2iycep" target="_blank">ordering pizza</a> with one click, there are currently no reports of malicious hackers tapping into another person's Amazon Dash Buttons.</p> <h3>How to Make It Safer</h3> <p>Turn on the &quot;order protection&quot; feature on your Dash Button to prevent a new order from being placed until your prior order is delivered. This way you can prevent your spouse or son from tripling an order of detergent on the same day.</p> <p>Consider turning on the email notifications of your Amazon orders so that you can cancel any orders that you don't recognize.</p> <p>And it should go without saying, but set a strong password for your Wi-Fi and update that password at least once a year.</p> <h2>4. Chip Cards</h2> <p>No other new form of payment has generated more discontent from American consumers. From the confusion about swiping or inserting, to the awkward conversation with cashiers while waiting for your card to be processed, there is a list of reasons these metallic chips are considered an annoyance by many.</p> <p>However, the reality is that chip cards are far from being a new way to pay. They have been reducing fraud in over 130 nations around the world for several years. So, the U.S. is just playing catch-up. As of April 2016, Visa had issued <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2016/04/19/some-major-merchants-see-dip-counterfeit-fraud-thanks-chip-cards-visa-says/83194722/" target="_blank">roughly 265 million</a> U.S. chip-enabled credit and debit cards, and MasterCard had upgraded about 70% of its U.S. debit and credit cards to the chip format.</p> <h3>But Is It Safe?<strong> </strong></h3> <p>The evidence clearly indicates that chip-enabled cards reduce fraud. Visa has reported that among the U.S. merchants who were suffering the most instances of card fraud at the end of 2014, those that began accepting chip debit and credit cards saw instances of card fraud fall 18.3% as of the fourth quarter of 2015. On the other hand, some of the U.S. merchants who opted not to upgrade payment terminals to process chip cards experienced an increase in instances of card fraud of 11.4% for the same period. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-chip-credit-cards-make-life-easier?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Ways Chip Credit Cards Make Life Easier</a>)</p> <h3>How to Make It Safer</h3> <p>Simple: Opt to use your chip-enabled cards over those without a chip, and choose merchants with chip-enabled payment terminals over those who are still holding out. As with everything else, strength comes in numbers. Only when chip cards have become the norm across the nation can we all reap the enhanced security benefits of chip technology.</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/bots-chips-and-selfies-how-safe-are-the-new-ways-to-pay">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. 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