Monday, July 18, 2011

Watch Out! Identity/Credit Theft Prevention

I am sure all of you have been nagged by your parents or by Oprah about protecting your credit cards and social securities numbers. Yes it is all annoyingly repetitive but worth listening to...Luckily I've never experienced my bank account being hacked (*knock on wood*) but I have had many friends who have been victims of credit fraud.

Recently one of my friends received a text message saying her debit card had been deactivated and she needed to call this number to reactivate it. It was a recording that sounded similar to her bank and asked her for her card number and last digits of her social security. Seems typical right? Turns out some guy in California hacked her information and was withdrawing money from an ATM! In fact, just the other day I just received an email from Chase Bank asking me to verify my information because it couldn't be processed...but wait, I don't even have an account with Chase Bank...sooo scary!!

Anywho here are some tips I've either read about or that have been drilled into my head by my lovely parents!

  1. DON'T keep your social security card in your wallet, memorize your number and keep your card locked away in a safe place.
  2. ALWAYS check up on your bank accounts, make sure there are no weird charges. This will also help you keep track of your balance so you don't overdraft :) Also check your credit report from time to time to make sure everything is correct (i.e. accounts, addresses).
  3. NEVER give your entire social security number over the phone, internet, or mail, no matter who it is. They should only be asking for your last four digits. It is only ok when you are applying for a credit card or it is school/government related, but even then make sure it is a secure site!
  4. DON'T respond to a text or email from someone who is asking for your personal information because these days it can be made to look like an official email from your bank, but ends up being a trap. If you ever give out your info make sure you know who you are talking to and make sure any contact you receive is coming directly from your bank's website (even websites can be hacked). Not to mention, you can always go into your bank branch and do it in person just to be safe.
  5. CONSIDER opening a separate banking account to use for online purchases amd only transfer the amount of money you need.Yes, this is a pain but it's definitely worth the extra effort because if that account gets hacked they won't have access to the millions of dollars you've got saved up in your main account ;). The Internet can be a scary place these days, you never know who is waiting on the other side to steal your information.
  6. TRY to change your passwords often, yes this is also a pain, but again worth it because hackers can get into your emails and still any information they find. And don't use obvious passwords like 123456.
  7. SHRED, SHRED, SHRED!!! I am somewhat OCD when it come to this. I shred everything! Even my receipts from McDonald's because it has the last four digits of my debit card on it. Believe me! There are people out there who dumpster dive as a hobby. All it takes is one non-shredded bank statement or even a poorly torn apart paper for them to uncover your personal information. Invest in a shredder.
Hope you can use some of these tips!!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Lake Powell!!!

Spent the past week in Lake Powell and I am not very happy about being back home! But I had a great time! I went with Greg's family again this year and it was even better than last year! We stayed in the most perfect spot and had great weather. It did storm for half of one day but I was still able to get my tan on :)

 This year I was convinced I would clear the wake on a wakeboard but the water ended up being too  choppy to even wakeboard so we spend most of the time surfing which I am pretty much pro at (aka "pro" means without rope). <<<video watch it<<<

Greg's cousins brought a jetski which was so amazing to have, I had a hoot of a time throwing Greg off the back of it (and getting thrown off) and showing Greg the speed demon inside of me (55mph). Since we had the jetski we were able to go to the area we stayed at last year. We found the place where we carved our names in a rock and were able to carve "2011". It was crazy to sit there and realize that one year ago we were sitting in the same spot :) 

last year's picture

this year <3

My favorite part of Lake Powell is sleeping on the very top of the houseboat and falling asleep to the stars and waking up to the sunshine...yes the spiders and bugs freak me out sometimes but it's fun sleeping outside. Speaking of night we all came back to the houseboat and as we were parking the speedboat someone yells "spiders!". There was a bizzilion spiders on the side of the houseboat, oh and the best part was that one was a black widow! With a red hourglass on it! Now I'm sure you know what that means, but for those of you who don't, the female black widow is the most poisonous spider! One bite and you're a goner! Luckily my manly boyfriend smashed it with a bottle and we were safe. Yet I still kept replaying the episode of "I shouldn't be alive" where the little boy got bitten by a black widow and was only saved because his dad smuggled a vaccine from Mexico. 

Anywho...we all had a great time. Greg's nephew, Kaden, who is barely 5 years old got up on the wakeboard, he is going to be a professional!! We had a "relaxation station" which was perfect to lounge on all day and catch up on my reading :)

  Lake Powell is so beautiful day or night.

I was so grateful to be able to go and spend time with such a great family and enojy the beautiful scene and sunshine of Lake Powell, I think I might have to go back tomorrow I had such a perfect, fun time!!