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Google to Introduce Privacy Tool to Limit Access to Private Information + How to Limit Thieves from Your Private Info

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Google could unveil new privacy tools that restrict the use of tracking cookies in its Chrome browser as soon as this week, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing anonymous people. The new tools would give users more information about how they’re tracked and allow options to limit cookies. The change likely signals a commitment to privacy, but also enhances Google’s dominance in the ad market as other digital-marketing companies lose data-collecting power, The Journal says. Apple’s Safari and Mozilla’s Firefox have already introduced cookie tracking restrictions.

This is bad news for advertisers but good news for consumers. While it may seem like a convenient way for marketers to get consumers what they’ve been looking for, the truth of the matter is that with identity theft on the rise, the less information that is out there about you, the better.

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 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 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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Amazon Prime Day Kicks off W/ Competition + How to Kick off the Habit of Paying Full Price

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Ready, set, go! Amazon’s Prime Day starts today and continues through Tuesday, bringing a whole new meaning to retail wars, as Walmart becomes the latest rival to try to get in on the mid-summer online-shopping bonanza. This year marks Amazon’s fifth year of Prime Day, and according to Salesforce’s Rob Garf, the shopping event has prompted “rising shifts” for the entire month of July. Target and eBay have also announced sales of their own. There is definitely competition in these mean retail streets but how do you compete with yourself to save money?

I have a friend who spent time as an intern and then as an assistant buyer at a Fortune 500 specialty brand, and from her experience, she vowed never to pay full price for a pair of jeans again (unless the price is already right of course). Working in the buying department opened her eyes to reality behind retail. For instance, jewelry can be marked up to at least five times its value. As a buyer, you’re the one who actually chooses what looks go into each door. You also have the privilege of watching sales trends and dealing with a lot of retail math. You consider the cost of goods sold, retail price, and yes, the markup.

Markup is when a company produces or purchases a good at one price and then sells the good for a higher price.

Here’s how it works:

Selling price = [(Cost) ÷ (100 – percentage markup)] × 100.

So, a company buys a pair of jeans at wholesale for $60 and needs to sell it at a 60 percent markup. The calculation would be [($60) ÷ (100 – 60)] x 100. This breaks down to ($60 ÷ 40) x 100, resulting in a selling price of $150.

By having a markup on goods, a company is able to earn profits even when goods go on sale. But what does that mean for the consumer? Well, your pricey luxury shoes, shirt, and hand bag aren’t all that expensive. You just paid an absurd amount for it.

This leads me to the premise of this article – start at the sales rack. Being trendy with your finances should come before fashion. See what deals you can get before paying full price. There is nothing more fashionable then extra cash in your money bag.

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Another One! U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Wins Again + How to Win in Your Personal Finances

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The U.S. women’s soccer team are the World Cup champions after beating the Netherlands 2-0. It’s the fourth title overall for the Americans, and the first time they have won back-to-back trophies. The team has also launched itself into the gender pay gap debate with its lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation: the women can expect a guaranteed payday of about $250,000 with Sunday’s title, says the New York Times, while the winning team of the men’s World Cup would have received roughly $1.1 million each, per CNBC.

What about in your personal finances? How do you win? The short-term sacrifice of becoming financially focused early on has long term benefits that are totally worth it also. Here are just a few:

Financial Freedom. The definition of financial freedom varies depending on the person, but it boils down to being able to cover life’s necessities, including food, clothing, and housing expenses. Buckling down in your twenties and thirties to focus on laying a financial foundation leads to financial freedom. And the sooner you get there, the better off you’ll be.

Stress Free Living. Most stress is self-imposed and generally centered around money. Some relationships crumble due to tension perceived by finances. The highest liability we encounter is housing. The second and third largest consist of health care and food. While food and medicine are ongoing obligations, owning a home can eliminate a chunk of financial responsibility, freeing up more money to save and invest. Start early when it comes to homeownership. You may miss a few parties, but the peace that comes with owning the home you rest in will be made up for it.

Generational Wealth. Chances are you’re considering starting a family. What better way to honor those you love with an abundant financial future? Each generation should be able to start a notch above the last. Investing five years of your young adulthood can make a 10-year difference in the lives of your unborn children. This sacrifice isn’t only for you but for those to come after you.

More Time. We are not so much looking for more stuff but for more time to enjoy the stuff we already have and the people we can share that stuff with. The reason most look to retirement is to enjoy what they have worked so hard for. The moment you decide to be financially responsible is the moment you begin to enjoy the journey, both the highs and lows of creating wealth. By all means, don’t save the party until the end. Celebrate while you build but remember to never lose focus of the building. 

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Nike AIMS to Get on the Right Side of History + How to Be on the Right Side of Your Legacy

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Nike has pulled a U.S.A-themed sneaker from its range after receiving objections from Colin Kaepernick, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing anonymous sources. The former NFL player reportedly told the company that the early American flag featured on the Air Max 1 USA, created in celebration of July 4, was offensive due to its connection to slavery. Nike also recently stopped selling some products in China after a designer’s support for Hong Kong protests sparked backlash, and reportedly cancelled a sneaker in May following objections.

The flag in particular is the Betsy Ross flag which Wikipedia states: The Betsy Ross flag is an early design of the flag of the United States, attributed to Betsy Ross, using the common motifs of the alternating red-and-white striped field with five-pointed stars in a blue canton. Grace Rogers Cooper noted that the first documented usage of this flag was in 1792.[1] The flag features 13 stars to represent the original 13 colonies with the stars arranged in a circle. The 13 Colonies has a deep connection to Slavery which is where the objection is coming from.

It is good to see that someone is using their influence in the right way, but also this tells you how influence can affect the bottom line. This move is helping Nike create or clean up its legacy.

We are now in graduation season, and for many students, graduating college is an enormous feat that starts the beginning of their legacy. But after you are now free to do as you wish, how do you continue to add to that legacy? Yes, you are going to start a billion dollar business or work as an exec for a fortune 500 company but beyond your title and accolades, what else can you bring to the table? The truth of the matter is that what you do with your money is more important than how much you have. It is said that a good man (or woman) leaves an inheritance for his (or her) children’s children. And even if we don’t have children, leaving an inheritance of wealth on earth for the benefit of others is the truest form of what we call being rich. If one is truly wealthy, he or she freely gives. Making your riches count is found in your legacy. So, while we may not fully understand what our legacy will be when all is said and done, we can aim to leave the following:

Knowledge & Wisdom.

Maya Angelou told Oprah Winfrey that no one truly knows their legacy because they can influence different people differently. No matter your level of education, you have the ability to give a word of wisdom because the wise are those who have experienced life and learn lessons along the way. Never underestimate your ability to encourage another person.

Kindness.

Ellen DeGeneres is synonymous with kindness. At the end of each show, she can be heard saying Be Kind to One Another. The impact that she has had on students, families, young stars, and animals is surely a legacy. Something as simple as kindness, an ability we all have access to because it resides in us, goes a very long way. It literally changes lives.

Money & Assets.

Robert Kiyosaki said money isn’t everything, but it does affect almost everything in our lives that is important. Leaving beyond money and financial assets to your children and their children can put your loved ones ahead 10, 20, and even 50 years. While you are building wealth, keep future generations in mind. Most of our early adulthood is spent paying school loans, discovering our purpose, and laying a financial foundation. Imagine what life would be like if your parents set up twice as much as they did for you financially. You’d most likely be at least five years ahead of where you are.

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