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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 one of the nation’s top personal finance experts. Dubbed as the Financial Motivator, he uses a culturally responsive approach in teaching financial literacy. He is the Head of Financial Education at BankMobile and Editor-in-Chief at Paradigm Money. The views and opinions expressed are those of Ash Cash and not the views of BankMobile and/or its affiliates.

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Federal Judge Grants Relief for Students Defrauded by Fake Schools + How to Protect Yourself from a Bigger Fraud Attempt

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Fraud Attempt

An Obama-era rule designed to help students cheated by for-profit colleges get relief on their education debt finally took effect Tuesday after efforts by the Trump administration to block it; specifically by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. A federal judge has ordered that the Department of Education immediately begin to comply with the rule that grants automatic loan forgiveness to defrauded students who attended schools that were closed while they were enrolled. This is a big win for many who were bombarded with high debt due to some shady characters. These shady characters not only attack you from an institutional level but also from an individual level.

Millions around the world use mobile devices to watch movies, play games, get turn-by-turn directions, find news, read books, listen to music, bank online and much more. The portability of technology has literally placed the world in our hands.

While mobile devices are beyond convenient, some apps may pose a threat to your personal information. Although app makers promise to protect your privacy, data breaches have occurred despite their best efforts and most current protocols. While the Federal Trade Commission is doing its best to enforce developers’ privacy promises, be diligent in protecting yourself from vulnerable systems that contain significant amounts of your private information.

Here are five tips mobile apps users should consider to protect themselves and their data:

1. Guard your device.

In the wrong hands, sensitive information — including financial information and personal contacts stored on a mobile device — can cause a lot of damage. Keeping your mobile device within view in a safe and secure place will help mitigate the risk of unauthorized access. Lock your device with a password that is easy enough for you to remember but complicated enough that it can’t be guessed or easily copied. No “password” or “12345” passcodes!

2. Download apps only from trusted sources.

The easiest way to compromise your personal information is to give it away. Download apps only from trusted sources to ensure you are not aiding and abetting the theft of your information. Before you download, read the app’s privacy policy to see what information the app will store, how it will be used, and when and how they plan to securely dispose of it.

3. Turn off your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth® when not in use.

While Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are convenient ways to connect your device to other useful devices and systems, identity thieves can use your connection to access your files and information. Turning off your Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection when you are not using it will help keep your information safe from hackers. Avoid open or public Wi-Fi connections that are unsecured. When you connect to an unsecured network, you invite others to view your private information freely.

4. Don’t store usernames or passwords.

Sometimes easy isn’t safe. While granting permission for a website you frequently visit to remember your username and password allows faster and easier access, it can also put your personal information at risk. This is especially true of financial apps or websites. If you use your mobile device to bank or shop, completely log out when you are finished. Avoid banking or shopping on your mobile device while on public Wi-Fi.

5. Monitor your credit.

When you’re familiar with how your credit normally looks, you can easily spot unusual activity and can minimize the damaging effects of identity theft when they happen. Remaining vigilant about suspicious or unauthorized activity on your credit report can help you recognize when thieves are attempting to access your information and solicit credit with your data.

Mobile devices offer unparalleled convenience on the go, but the benefits may not outweigh the costs. Proactively protecting your information can help prevent identity theft.

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Fidelity Is Getting into Trading Cryptocurrency + How to Start Your Cryptocurrency Portfolio

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Crypto

To Crypto or Not to Crypto? That is the Question! Since the Bitcoin rise and fall of 2017 many people have been on the fence about the status of cryptocurrency, not knowing whether it is a good investment option or not. Now The world’s fourth-biggest asset manager will begin dealing in bitcoin and ether, the two largest of the currencies that allow users to bypass governments and banks. Fidelity Investments has opened a crypto unit to store and trade digital currencies for hedge funds and other investors. It’s the first Wall Street titan to get into the crypto game that is filled with regulatory and security risk. So the question remains… To Crypto or Not to Crypto? For those who are willing to start investing Forbes has created a How To Start Investing In Cryptocurrency guide:

1.Decide which kind of cryptocurrency you’re interested in.

As important as it is to decide how much to invest in cryptocurrency, it is also necessary to be strategic in understanding the fundamentals of a digital asset, as this can play a major role in the level of risk involved.

Fundamental analyses are the best indicators for long-term investors, so you’ll need an understanding of how a coin or Initial Coin Offering (ICO) functions, its history and what it brings to the table before choosing to participate in its development.

It might be best to look at the purpose of the cryptocurrency you’re interested in, how long it has been in the market, its market capitalization and its underlying tech solutions. Cryptocurrencies that solve problems are less likely to fail than those that are essentially ICOs.

Also, the longer a cryptocurrency has been in the market, the more trusted it is.

2.Decide what type of investment you’re after.

Naturally, you’ll want to create a plan if you want to enter the crypto market. The question is whether your trades will be short-term or medium- to long-term endeavors. This is an important consideration that affects the amount of money you’ll place in your investments. If the plan is to trade regularly, then understanding market trends, the culture driving the markets and the mentality of investors is a step in the right direction.

If you want to go further, then studying up on market indicators, fundamental and technical analyses, incoming market-moving events, general tech news and developer announcements — among other things — is the next step to up your game.

3.Remember: Crypto market statistics matter.

As I mentioned previously, gauging market behavior during different time periods is part of a well-ordered strategy. While this might be confusing to follow up on at times, market dynamics shouldn’t be overlooked — especially if you plan on trading in the short term. To make it simpler, streamline your cryptocurrency choice to the ones you prefer, look up their charts and try to spot trends via market indicators.

4.Find out whether the digital asset is widely accepted and trustworthy.

As in most markets, trust is crucial for prospective investors. In order for someone to put their money behind a cryptocurrency or ICO project, that person must, through some process of their own, conclude that they trust the idea enough to put their money behind it. In the crypto universe, one could predicate this process on three key factors about new technology billionaire philanthropist and entrepreneur Peter Thiel has discussed: a unique idea (that offers tangible solutions), incremental improvement (which requires a good development team), and the ability to coordinate complex ideas.

In reality, these three points are the best indicators a long-term investor can consider in regard to cryptocurrencies.

In a talk at the Economic Club of New York in March, Thiel analyzed the trustworthiness of cryptocurrencies by drawing parallels between Bitcoin and gold. Both are considered a store of value, are not backed by any government, have unclear inherent values and are immutable in different ways.

5.Take a look at the major Crypto players so far.

In any field, learning from the knowledge of predecessors can never hurt, but it can help. Cryptocurrency is no exception. In fact, this move might be more important due to the market’s volatility, as a small mistake could cost a fortune or your entire holdings.

The most common saying by crypto investors and finance experts is that you should only invest money you are willing to lose. Put into perspective, this translates into a low percentage of your net worth. The question is: Do they really do as they say? Crypto millionaire Erik Finman, for instance, invested $1,000 in cryptocurrency when he was 12 years old. He had very little money, yet he went for a high-risk,-high-reward strategy and earned millions in the process.

At one point, Jeremy Gardener invested most of his stock holdings in crypto investments and has since become a millionaire.

At the end of the day, these individuals took huge leaps by investing in cryptocurrency. Even so, the important thing about their investments is that they were willing to lose the money.

6.Invest the right amount of money.

The rule of thumb that you should “only invest what you are willing to lose” is nigh on impeccable. Think about it this way: If you woke up one morning with your investment in a shambles, would it make you unable to pay your bills the next month? If so, you’re investing too much. Of course, losing money will always hurt. But if you invest properly, it won’t be a devastating event if the worst comes to pass.

I believe investors should always ensure that they maintain 95% of their investments in a well-diversified portfolio across different asset classes, sectors and geographical regions. This helps position investors to mitigate risks and take advantage of opportunities as they arise.

Personally, I invest around 5% of my portfolio in cryptocurrencies because, like a growing number of investors, I believe that there is no longer doubt that cryptocurrencies in some form are the future of money.

 

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Snapchat Push to Get Young Viewers to Watch TV on Phones + Easy Ways to Make Money on Your Phone Instead

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There’s a war going on outside no one is safe from… (Mobb Deep voice.) This war includes Snapchat in joining the push to get young viewers to watch TV-quality video on their phones every day. The app is launching a dozen or so shows under the name Snap Originals. The installments, about five minutes in length, will include augmented-reality lenses, split screens, and motion graphics, with plot structures designed to hook viewers upfront. Snap is following Instagram’s lead in trying to get its users to ditch television for mobile video instead. But the real question to ask is, do young people need to be watching TV on their phones? Isn’t there something more productive they can do? Thanks to Studentloanhero.com here are 25 Easy Ways to Make Money Using Your Smartphone:

1. Ibotta

Earn cash back on things you buy anyway. Here’s how Ibotta works:

  1. Before you head to the store, open the app and complete a few tasks to find offers for your favorite products and brands.
  2. Next, head to the store and purchase items you selected in the app.
  3. Once you’re done, take a picture of your receipt to redeem the offers you selected.

You’ll be credited with your cash back, based on the activities you completed ahead of time. Ibotta is compatible with PayPal and Venmo, and it also provides the option to claim gift cards.

Offers range from 25 cents to $1 or more. You have to prepare ahead of time, but depending on the items you purchase from your grocery list, it’s possible to get between $5 and $50 back at the store each month. Get your friends and family to sign up to earn referral bonuses.

2. Shopkick

Make money from your phone with Shopkick

Image credit: Shopkick

You won’t get direct cash back with Shopkick, but you can earn points to redeem for gift cards at your favorite retailers. Shopkick even offers Amazon gift cards. That’s a plus for me since I do a lot of shopping on the website.

You don’t even have to actually buy anything to benefit from Shopkick. Just walking into a partner store or scanning certain items can help you earn points. According to the company, Shopkick users have earned $68.5 million in free gift cards since 2009, when it was founded. You can get your share of free money by signing up and using the mobile app.

3. Receipt Hog

Snap pictures of your receipts to earn “coins” on Receipt Hog. Then, turn your coins into gift cards or cash. You can earn more by taking online surveys and completing other tasks. In the end, though, you’re probably not going to make a ton of money with this app.

The coins you earn aren’t worth a whole lot in terms of cash. A receipt adds about ten coins to your account. You can get extra coins for using the app and “leveling up.” I only go shopping about once a week, though, and rarely go to more than two stores. So, I might get 20 coins per week from shopping.

You could use the app’s prize wheel and complete challenges for extra coins. In the end, though, it takes a lot of coins to get cash:

How many coins it takes to get cash with Receipt Hog

Image credit: Receipt Hog

With this app, I could probably get between $50 and $100 per year if I were diligent about uploading all my receipts and took advantage of Receipt Hog’s sweepstakes and other activities to earn bonus coins.

As a long-term smartphone hustle, you’d have to combine this with other efforts to make any decent money. But it might be worth it for a little extra cash now and then.

4. Jobs2Shop

Ages ago, I was a mystery shopper. It required me to fill out a paper survey and mail it in for a check. Today, mystery shopping is as easy as downloading an app, frequenting targeted stores or restaurants, and leaving feedback. There are other actions you can take in the Jobs2Shop app to boost your earnings before cashing out via PayPal.

How much money you make depends on the type of evaluation you do. The main downside is that you rely on there being a demand for mystery shopping in your area. My relatively small town doesn’t have a huge need for it, so I don’t often get these gigs.

If you live in a bigger city and are regularly sent out to evaluate businesses, you could make up to $100 a month or more.

5. EasyShift

EasyShift is another mystery shopping app that can help you earn money by following a checklist. In some cases, you only need to take pictures of products or check prices and share the information inside the app. You can also earn money for writing reviews of certain promotions.

How much you make depends on the demand in your area and the types of tasks you do. Just going in and taking a picture of product placement might make you $2. You might make $20 on an assignment if you’re required to make a purchase.

It’s a simple way to go about your business and earn a few bucks per month. However, you probably won’t get rich with this app, especially if you live in a sparsely populated area.

6. Paribus

Make money with your smartphone by saving on price protection

Image credit: Paribus

This app is all about making sure you didn’t overpay for something you bought. Connect the app to your email account, and Paribus will scan your recent purchases and receipts. If a retailer owes you a refund based on price protection policies, the app sends a letter to the seller and notifies you when the money is returned. For example, if the price drops on a qualifying purchase, you’ll get money back.

Paribus doesn’t monitor all stores, though. It can help to check to see if the stores you frequent are on the list. The app also only monitors retailers that have price-match policies.

Can you do this yourself without the app? Yes. Does it take extra time? Sure does. So you might as well have Paribus do the heavy lifting.

7. Swagbucks

One of my favorite ways to make money using my phone is Swagbucks. I earn points, or “SB,” for shopping as usual online and by using the mobile app. You don’t get direct cash back when converting SB, but there are plenty of gift cards to choose from.

I net about $100 a year in Amazon gift cards by following my regular shopping habits and doing small tasks, such as taking short surveys or answering the daily poll question in the mobile app. Not bad for doing what I already do, especially when combined with other loyalty and rewards programs.

Focus groups and opinion surveys

It’s not always exciting, but filling out online surveys can be a way to earn extra money. Not only that, but you could make even more money if you’re part of a focus group or engage in other activities that result in helping marketers better understand their audiences.

8. UserTesting

For every 20-minute session you spend testing out apps, you can receive $10. That’s right; you can make $30 an hour by trying new things on your phone with UserTesting.

You probably won’t be able to find enough projects to replace your full-time job, though. Chances are that you won’t be offered enough projects to be busy for five or six hours a day. Instead, you’re more likely to see between two and six projects a week.

It’s still a pretty good way to make a little extra money each week. I managed to earn about $30 a week when I was using the app. They pay you exactly one week after you complete a test.

9. uTest

The user testing platform uTest pays you based on offers. You can look for available projects, ranging from creating bug reports to creating usability testing reports. Each of these projects takes different amounts of time and payouts are based on the way the customer perceives the quality of work.

You might get paid anywhere from $3 to $50, and there are bonuses available as well. If you have a few hours to spend each week, you could make between $10 and $100 without too much trouble.

10. Nielsen Digital Voice

In the past, Nielsen ratings used to put small electronic monitors (they looked a lot like DVRs) on TVs to get an idea of what families were watching.

Now Nielsen is involved in all sorts of rating information. Join its platform, and Nielsen will track your smartphone use as part of its efforts to find out more information about how consumers use their phones to communicate with others, use apps, and even surf online.

The main downside is that the points you earn might not translate directly into cash. Instead, it translates into extra chances to win prizes. You have a chance to get cash in the monthly sweepstakes, where you’re entered to win your share of $10,000 (divided among 404 people).

It’s not a guaranteed way to make a ton of money, but it can be a way to get a little extra cash without any added effort.

Read ways 11-25 by clicking here

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