Is Banking Online As Safe As The Vault?

With technology changing as fast as the weather, would it not be nice to know that your hard earned money is safe and secure. In order to properly insure your online banking accounts and protect it from any watching eye, you need to know how to protect yourself. None of these is difficult however; in time, you will know what to look for so you can sleep better at night. You do not need to do each one of these but the more the better.

The first is perhaps the most popular way to steal your information. Its called phishing and people fall for it all the time. It comes in the style of a convincing email trying to mislead you. They try to convince you that they are the bank or a financial institution. They use fear in most cases to get you to reveal precious information or even a link to a site that looks like your bank. They may ask for passwords of account numbers, anything that could prove useful as the phishers try to gain access to you accounts. The first rule is, never give your password out to anyone. The bank will not even ask you for it. If someone does, run. Stay away from emails or anyone who tries to get your passwords from you.

Speaking of passwords, they are one of the best tools to use to protect your account. Some people use popular passwords like God or password. If your password is PASSWORD, that is easy to guess. You are more protected if you use characters and numbers. Try not to have something easy, for example, the road you live on followed by the year you were born. Center1964 is predictable since anyone can search online to find that information. The most secure passwords are ones that contain numbers and characters as well as special characters. Is you use a @ symbol and a # sign these are almost impossible to break. You can further strengthen your password by capitalizing some characters. This could make it more difficult to remember but you will not have to worry about some person on the other side of the world trying to break in.

If you are about to enter your password or other sensitive information, get in the habit of looking at the website address. Most sites have an http in front of them. That stands for hypertext transfer protocol. A more secure protocol is https that is the secure hypertext transfer protocol. Even if you do not understand the jargon, it is much safer. However, your Internet browser could limit that safeguard if it is out of date. Most browsers use 128-bit encryption. If you update your browser, do your banking on https sites you will be on your way to safe guarding your personal information.

The last two points I want to commit on is where to do your banking and firewall/antivirus programs. If you install a firewall and an antivirus program, you be even safer from attacks. Buy a reputable program for each and make sure to look for updates on a monthly basis. Even if hackers get smarter and find a way around those safeguards, these programs will be updated to deter any future attack. Since your computer contains all of these updates, does it not make sense to do your banking with your own computer? Going to Internet cafes and using their computers is not nearly as safe. You could go for years completely disobeying any of these recommendations and be fine but you are taking a chance with no possibility of reward. If you use your own computer you KNOW the safeguards that are in place, why take a chance?

Of course, there are more ideas if you want to go even further. Most of the above ideas take upfront time but most programs will install updates automatically so you do not ever have to think about it again.

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Auto Insurance Collision Repair and You – What You Need to Know

The auto insurance claim and repair process simplified for you.

Screech… Skiddd… Craaash is the last thing anyone wants or needs during their busy day to day life. When it does happen it can be very stressful and a bit intimidating having to deal with the insurance company claim process and a repair facility. Not knowing the facts makes it even more difficult to make the right decisions when processing an insurance claim. You may think that your insurance company is there to help you but the last thing they want to do is spend time and money fixing your car.

When they have to process your claim there is only one thing on their mind and that’s get it done as cheap as possible. Your best interest is not their main concern their own interest is. The insurance industry has two main focuses and one is taking as much of your money as possible and two is to keep as much as possible in any way they can. After over a hundred years in the business they have concocted some very ingenious ways to do so.

I own a licensed auto body/collision repair facility and for educational purposes for the best interest of my customers. I went to school and got educated in insurance and got licensed as an adjuster and producer. I decided to do this in 2000 when lightning struck my body shop and burned it to the ground. During my claims process I got no help from my agent and the assigned adjuster only knew one word and that was “NO”, everything I asked for he denied even when he knew I was entitled to the reimbursement of the loss. It took a year and a half to finally conclude the claim and all those “no’s” turned into “yes’s” by the time I was done. This just further showed me the mindset of the insurance industry in the midst of a claim.

One way insurers save money is the use of aftermarket “AM” parts and when you get into an accident most insurers will use these parts in the repair without telling you because in most states all they need to do is write it in the repair estimate and you as a customer need to find it in the stack of paper, read it and ask questions. There is an organization called that is financed by the insurance industry to certify Taiwan parts to install on your vehicle even though your vehicle never came with Taiwan parts. at the end of this article is a link to the parts manufacturers that insurers use as replacement parts on your vehicle, as you can see their mostly all Taiwan manufacturers. Some insurers have a policy option to only use OEM parts but never tell anyone about the option and use it as an excuse to use AM parts in the repair telling the consumer that they could have purchased the option even though they were never even offered it. In my opinion the consumer should be verbally offered by law an option to use OEM parts at the time of policy inception, it should be the consumers choice 100% of the time what goes on their car.

Here is a list of things that will happen during a repair process.

1. Have your car towed if it is not drivable, your insurance company will pay for the tow to a storage yard and then to the collision shop of your choice. You shouldn’t have to pay anything out of your pocket for these tows as the collision repair shop pays for the tows when the car arrives at the shop and gets reimbursed from the insurance company. Although a small group of insurers may require you to pay for the tow and they will reimburse you for the costs.

2. Pick a shop to do the repairs. Remember it is your legal right to choose who will work on your vehicle. An Insurance company cannot force you or badger you into going to one of their direct repair shops for repairs. Insurers save millions of dollars processing claims at these claims clearing houses so they will do or say everything they can to get you to go there. (See Direct repair below).

3. File a claim with your insurance company. When filing a claim you have to make sure you have the “At the accident scene” information as the claim rep will ask for this information. If you think you may not want to file a claim because the damage may be less than your deductible or your at fault accident may raise your rates higher than the cost of the repair, you need to do the math at this point. There are certain times that an insurer can raise your rates and /or cancel your policy. You need to know that when you have broad collision coverage your deductible will be waived if you’re less than 50% at fault and also all deductibles pertain if you have standard collision. The claim rep will ask where it happened what happened and what time and date.

This is what is called a “proof of loss statement” and you have sixty days to file a proof of loss statement with your insurance company or they can deny your claim. The claim rep will require you to make a choice at this time as to where you want to have your car repaired if you don’t already have it at a repair shop (it is your legal choice to go where you want to). Claim reps sometimes try to persuade you to go to their DRP shops by stating that they can’t guarantee any work done by any other shop except their DRP shop, The reason why is that there is a law that states if they’re going to send customers to their DRP shops to save money that they have to warrant the work of that DRP shop. Insurers tried in the past to slam cars together at DRP shops as cheap as possible and didn’t want to take any responsibility for the shoddy repairs; the government stepped in and forced them to be responsible by law. The purpose of a DRP hasn’t changed; it’s all about saving money in the eyes of an insurer. The fact is that all shops with a State license and liability insurance fully cover the quality of the repairs performed by that repair shop. Another ploy is that insurers may say you may be responsible for costs over and above the insurance estimate if you go to a non preferred shop, not true you will only be responsible for any cost that you may be responsible for if you went to their DRP shop such as deductibles and no more,pick a quality shop and just make sure in writing that they have to agree to the insurance company agreed upon quote.

4. Collision Repair Process, after you have selected a shop you can call the tow company to release the vehicle and have the vehicle towed to the repair shop. The shop will cover all the tows and storage and add it to the claim. At this point you can get your rental car if you have the coverage. Getting rental coverage is a good idea if you don’t have another car to use in case of an accident. Your insurance company will insure any vehicle you borrow for full coverage with a $500.00 deductible when you’re having your car repaired even if you do not have full coverage on your personal vehicle. So if you have a friend with a car and you want to borrow it, it’s insured for full coverage as long as your car is in for repair and being repaired. They will also insure any rental cars you rent for the same period.

Direct repair/Preferred shop is a collision shop who has a contract with an insurance company and the contract lists what labor rates will be charged what parts will be used(aftermarket Chinese parts or used), what procedures will be used, what percentage of discount on parts and materials. DRP is nothing but cut rate claims processing centers. The DRP shop usually has two price structures, one for the insurance company and one for the general public.

Picking a Quality Repair Shop: Any shop that has been in business for a good amount of time, which has a clean record with the State Bureau of Automotive Regulations and has liability insurance would probably be a good choice. As far as DRP insurance preferred shops go, they put the insurance company first and the customer second because after you’re gone they still have to deal with the insurance company over and over again on other claims. You will be none the wiser when you leave as they will tell you the least as possible concerning your claim. Most DRP shops have to process twice the amount of work for the same profit as a non DRP shop. DRP puts the insurance company in control of the whole repair process, a quality repair facility will put all parties on the same level with Knowledge, education and experience.

Aftermarket parts link:

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3 Common Investing Mistakes That You Need To Watch Out For

Investing your hard earned money can be a daunting task. Obviously you want to get as much interest as possible and have your money work as hard as possible for you. Unfortunately all investments are open to the one thing that we all have to deal with and that is risk. Investing in many ways is about managing risk. While high returns are possible, it usually comes with high risk. While very safe and secure investment are available it usually comes with a low return on investment.

So often novice investors get seduced by high return and even the promise of a “fail-safe” investment opportunity. The truth is that investing requires a lot of research and a level of learning. You simply cannot afford to invest “blindly” in this day and age. With that in mind, here are 3 common investing mistakes you need to watch out for.

1. Handing your money over to a fund manager or broker.
How easy is that. You simply take all your investment capital and hand it over to a professional broker or fund manager who invests it for you. After all, they are the professionals, right? Well, although getting advice is important and dealing with skilled brokers and fund managers is important, you and only you will be responsible for your investments. No one will care for your money like you do. Never take your eye off the ball.

2. Not diversifying your investments.
This is quite a common mistake – especially if you have success with one particular investment or investment type. Any good book on investing will encourage you to diversify your investments simply because it spreads out your risk. Putting all your efforts into one stock or one type of investment means that when things come crashing down you can lose everything. If you diversify then you can weather almost any financial storm.

3. Jumping onto “hot trends” and tip-offs
How many times have you heard of people who claims that their brother-in-law knows a broker that told him that stock XX will double in value over the next week. Or at least something similar to that. The truth is that these so-called hot tips never work out. Don’t trust them. Don’t let yourself be guided by fools. Unless you get advice like that from a legit and respected trader or investor, don’t do it. Investing is all about making good and calculate decisions and investing your money on some tip is just plain foolish.

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Back Tax Help – Why Use a Tax Professional

When faced with huge fines and fees on taxes owed, you really should seek back tax help and begin to fight the IRS with resolution solutions right for you. Make it a New Year’s resolution or do it out of sheer discipline but not responding to the IRS only creates more problems. Yes owing back taxes is stressful and can really negatively affect your life. The main thing is the fear of not knowing what may or will happen to you once the IRS has total control over the situation and your assets. As intimidating and scary as the IRS is, you do have rights as a tax payer to seek help and representation and you should not let your rights be trampled or violated. By obtaining back taxes help from a reputable professional, you can be assured you won’t be taken advantage.

The IRS does not care that you could not pay and will enforce the payment of your tax debt with tax liens and then tax levies. The IRS can levy your wages (take money out of your paycheck), levy your bank account (seize your bank account), and seize your home. It is important to understand that you should not underestimate the IRS especially if you have not paid for years.

There are good reasons why you haven’t paid back your taxes, but explaining it to the IRS is not as easy – a reason why a back tax expert is best. A good professional can file, settle, and resolve your IRS problems. The IRS will use their dominance over you to make the best possible outcome for them, not you so therefore it is best to have a professional on your side. Remember, the IRS with unresolved taxes will eventually fee and fine you to death and then make you pay it sooner than you want to. You need your money more than they and you have rights protecting you. Get professional tax help and let the knowledge of the professionals be your guide through the red tape.

Getting back tax help is easy and professionals will make your situation better than you thought it could be. Not only will you be able to settle for less, you may be able to get rid of all those fees and fines that have been assessed and avoid any future ones in the future. You can guarantee however that you will not get the best outcome with the IRS if you go it alone. They know they have you over a barrel and will shake you for every penny.

First, when seeking IRS tax help from a tax expert (tax attorney, former IRS agent, CPA), make sure they are knowledgeable, and provide services to help you file, settle, and resolve your IRS back taxes. Some companies may provide some of these services, but it is best to work with one that does them all in order to streamline the process. Second, an IRS pro will usually bring you a better outcome or settlement then if you went it alone. Third, communication with the IRS is much easier through a professional because they do this for a living. Take advantage of the knowledge tax professional’s have to beat the IRS at their own game. You don’t deserve to be unduly harassed and intimidated and your back tax expert will keep that from happening while scoring the best possible financial outcome for you, not the government. Millions of American taxpayers are in the same boat as you and they are fighting too. Getting IRS tax help can be the best thing for you.

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