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Elon Musk Wants to Take Tesla Private + How to Keep Your Identity Private & Away from Thieves

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The world’s 31st richest person and CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk is considering taking his company private. Immediately after he tweeted those thoughts, he boosted his net worth by $1.4 billion. He is now worth $25.8 billion. Although no final decision has been made it is excited times when you think of the possibility. Tesla has been public since 2010, but recently experienced a series of setbacks and negative news reports which is what sparked the idea. Going private will allow a level of protection from outside scrutiny and allow Elon to direct the company in the direction of his choice. Privacy in many cases is important especially when it comes to your identity.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in America. Many experts suggest you monitor your credit report regularly to keep track of your current and closed accounts, negative items and/or credit inquiries. However, this may not be enough to combat the sophisticated identity thief who knows how to circumvent many of the safeguards.

Cybercriminals are smart and patient. Many understand that after a data breach, the first thing many consumers do is opt into a 90-day initial security monitoring period, which alerts creditors that they may have been a victim of identity theft. That is why some savvy fraudsters will wait, avoiding the initial detection period before using and abusing your information. This means that you must remain vigilant even after you place a security alert with one of the major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, Transunion)

You have the right to dispute information on your credit report if you think it’s fraudulent or inaccurate, as well as the right to stop creditors and debt collectors from reporting fraudulent accounts. But not all accounts are treated equally. Understand your liability in the event of identity theft or other financial fraud, and for how long any available grace periods protect you.

Your liability for the unauthorized use of your credit card is limited to only $50, and if you report it before a loss has occurred then your liability is zero. If your ATM or debit card is lost or stolen, your liability for unauthorized transactions depends on how soon you report the loss to your financial institution. In some cases, you may face unlimited liability for fraud if you do not report it soon enough. Ensure that you’re keeping close tabs on your cards at all times.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, you are not liable for any debt incurred on fraudulent new accounts opened in your name and without your permission.

The following are ways to keep your privacy private:

1- Regularly check your credit report to ensure all information – including your full name and any variations, current and past addresses, Social Security number, birth date, spouse’s name, and the names of current and previous employers – is accurate. Any misspellings of your name or unknown addresses could indicate that you may be a victim of identity theft. While it is suggested that you view your credit reports at least once a year, it is good practice is to review your report once every quarter, if not monthly. In addition to ensuring your personal information is accurate, to keep surprises at bay, look at closed accounts, verify negative items, and make sure there are no unauthorized credit inquiries on your report.

2- Review your bank account online every three or four days instead of waiting for your bank statements. With limited rights in the event of fraudulent bank account activity, it is imperative that you note any discrepancy and report it immediately.

3 – Add credit monitoring alerts to your credit report. Alerts notify you of any changes to your credit report. This is the most effective way to identify potential fraud and stay proactive in the fight against identity theft.

Each year, cybercriminals become more and more cunning. By taking proactive precautions, you can stop them from defrauding you and have peace of mind that your information is safe. The old adage of “better safe than sorry” applies in this case. Make sure you‘re doing what’s necessary to protect yourself and minimize the impact of identity theft.

Ash Exantus aka Ash Cash is a speaker, bestselling author, personal finance expert, and business consultant. Ash has established himself as a thought leader and trusted voice with Corporate America, Colleges, Churches, and Community based organizations. He is the Head of Financial Education at BankMobile and Editor-in-Chief at Paradigm Money.

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Connecting Aretha Franklin Tribute to Madonna + How to Connect Your Credit to Your Future

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R&B singer Aretha Franklin, passed away on August 16, 2018 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Yesterday during the MTV Video Music Awards, Madonna was attempting to give the Queen of Soul a tribute but instead gave us a story about her life and tried to connect it to Aretha.  Madonna opened the segment by saying Aretha had “changed the course” of her life and told a story of when she was an up and coming singer and dancer she sang Franklin’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” acapella during an audition that didn’t go too well.

Most of the tribute was Madonna talking about her early life and career. She talks about her rough upbringing in Detroit, where she said she was often mistaken for a “prostitute.” She did eventually get back on track to say that “Long live the queen.”

“So, you are probably all wondering why I am telling you this story. There is a connection,” she said.

“Because none of this would have happened, could have happened, without our lady of soul. She led me to where I am today,” she continued.

“And I know she influenced so many people in this house tonight, in this room tonight. And I want to thank you, Aretha, for empowering all of us. R-e-s-p-e-c-t. Long live the queen.”

Since then she has been getting a lot of flack about her self-centered tribute, but in trying to defend her self, she went on social media to say, “I was asked to present the video of the year by MTV! And then they asked me to share any anecdotes I had in my career connected to Aretha Franklin,” Madonna wrote on Instagram.

“I shared a part of my journey and thanked Aretha for inspiring me along the way. I did not intend to do a tribute to her! That would be impossible in 2 minutes with all the noise and tinsel of an award show. I could never do her justice in this context or environment.”

If you look deep into her story, it is easy to see the connection, but I can understand how people wanted an Aretha Franklin tribute to be more about Aretha Franklin. Madonna concluded her Instagram post by saying that most people “have short attention spans, and are so quick to judge.” Similar to your credit score, credit report, credit reporting agencies, and creditors, they are definitely quick to judge as well. One false move and they will turn on you for the worst. So how can connect your credit to your future so that you stay in the good graces of those who matter?

Because credit can be a curse when you don’t understand it, it is essential that you plan for your future set some boundaries for yourself for a better, more solid financial future. Preparing for your future can look like a lot of things and should involve many different aspects, like living within your means, coming up with a list of financial objectives that you want to accomplish, knowing  what you want to use credit for in the future, learning how to build and maintain your credit and how you will set guidelines for yourself to avoid making common credit and financial mistakes. Learning these things will allow the credit bureaus to put some R-E-S-P-E-C-T on your name and give you the right connection needed for your credit history.

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Your Credit Score May Be on the Rise + Why This May Be Good News for Your Insurance Premiums

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Effective immediately many Americans… Well, actually millions of Americans have begun to see their credit scores bump up after the credit reporting agencies began stripping out some non-loan collections accounts and other negative credit information from people’s credit reports. This is because of settlements made with state attorneys general dating back to 2015. The negative credit information removed is mainly medical-debt collections that have been paid by an insurance company, inaccurate information or accounts that failed to reflect repayment efforts. It is said that one collection account is worth 11 points once removed.

So how will this jump affect your Insurance premium? When dealing with insurance, there are a lot of factors that determine just how much your premiums are. Anything from your gender and age, to your driving record or criminal record. But there is your credit score is another factor that a lot of people might not know about. Your credit score can play a huge role in determining just how much you have to pay for insurance.

Insurance Rates based on your credit is not a very well known fact, but it has become one of the norms in recent years. Insurance companies will now look at your credit history, and if you have bad credit, you can expect to pay much higher premiums.

Many people will argue that your credit score has nothing to do with whether or not you will file a claim on your insurance policy but the insurance companies beg to differ. Regardless of how you feel, the policy is here to stay. That means you should be aware of your credit score when attempting to get insurance. If you have a bad credit score, you should make plans for paying higher premiums.

Keep in mind that insurance companies will look at various things, such as pending bills, loans, bankruptcy and more when determining your premium. But here’s the bright side to this. A lot of people who are sick of having to pay high premiums are taking better care of their finances in an attempt to raise their credit score so that they do not have to pay as much. So in some twisted way, it can be a bit beneficial since it gives more incentive to be more careful with your money.

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A Global Attack on ATM’s Seems Imminent + How to Protect Yourself From a Credit Card Fraud Attack

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BREAKING NEWS: According to a cybersecurity expert, The U.S. government has told banks that cybercriminals are preparing to carry out a global attack on ATMs. The FBI issued this warning of an “ATM cash-out” hack that would allow the criminals to withdraw large sums of money using stolen information. Something similar happened to a Virginia bank over eight months in 2016 and 2017 where hackers stole a reported $2.4 million.

Technology has become the gift, and the curse and when it comes to your debit card people are always trying to figure out how to defraud you. Credit card fraud has become a major problem in modern society as well. It continues to get worst, so it’s important we protect ourselves. The following are precautions you can take to prevent fraud:

Keep Your Actual Card In a Safe Place

In order to thwart credit card thieves, you should have your credit cards always with you in your possession or locked up in a safe place where no one has access. Some people like to keep credit cards in their car for emergency reasons, but that is a bad idea unless its put in an inconspicuous place or enclosed in something that doesn’t make it obvious. Keep in mind that not every card involved in credit card fraud is physically snatched. Some thieves will use only the credit card number and leave the card behind.

Stay Focused

Make sure you are alert with each credit transaction you make and get your card back immediately after it is finished. You do not want anyone to have access to your card without your knowledge where they take a picture of it or writing down the numbers.

Take Caution When Buying Online

Cyberspace has become a breeding ground for credit card fraud. You need to be cautious about the online companies and website that you supply your credit card number with. Make sure you only shop at trusted and reputable brands.

Don’t Fall for E-mail Scams

Do not enter your credit card information into websites that you are linked to through emails. The best thing to do is to avoid giving out your credit card number online at all costs. But if you have to make an online payment, there are several reputable services that will allow you to pay without supplying your credit card information to a third party.

Invest in a Shredder

Some thieves will sink to any level to get access to your credit card information. Many will go through your garbage cans searching for credit card receipts or bill stubs with the complete account numbers on them. These numbers are then used to purchase things over the internet or to create a new credit card using your number and credit information. Any document containing your credit card account number should never be left lying around, and although it seems a bit extreme, you should never throw away sensitive items unless they are completely destroyed.

Check Your Statements and Credit Reports

Lastly, you should check your credit report periodically and add a feature where they will alert you to any unusual activity happening with your credit cards,  like increased balances or new accounts. Also check your statement regularly to make sure you catch unauthorized payments early. If you do find that unauthorized charges have been made to one or more of your credit cards, there are choices to be made and steps to be taken.

First off, you should call your credit card company and let them know that your credit card or credit card number may have been stolen and you want the card canceled. Now, the person who has taken your card cannot make any further purchases. Calling immediately will lessen your chances of having to pay for the charges made to your card and limit the amount of harm that has already been inflicted to your credit.

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