This page updated on May 17, 2018
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BROKEN WEBSITE LINKS
If you find any broken links, please let me know so that I may fix them. Thank you!
Have your credit locked or frozen with the Big 3 credit reporting agencies? There's one more you need to take care of, the NCTUE
May 18, 2018
U.S Government's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Hacked
April 12, 2018
Note: This seemingly critical story received scant coverage by the media and other, reliable sources have told me that is may not be true - I am currently waiting for a follow-up to my inquiry and will update this entry when I know more. ~Webmaster, May 17, 2018.
February 24, 2018
Arecent e-mail from Kim Komando warns parents of a new way teens and young adults are using coded emojis to send sexual messages to each other and avoid scrutiny from adults.
CBD OIL SCAM
January 10, 2018
Old scam methodology, new product.
CBD oil is a popular new cannabis/hemp-derivative health product that is sweeping the country, but federal and state laws and opinions on the laws and its legality vary widely. Not to be outdone, the scammers are trying to capitalize on CBD's popularity. Most recently, several outfits are advertising on the Internet through social media, targeted e-mails and advertising pop-ups offering free samples and all you have to do is provide a credit card number to cover the shipping and handling, usually S5.95 - $9.95. And you may or may not receive the sample. Hidden in the small print of the trial offer's Terms & Conditions statement is the recipient's consent to automated/regular shipments and subsequent charges to the credit card unless the recipient calls to cancel future shipments. The problem arises when it is nearly impossible to reach someone at the toll-free customer support number to cancel shipments and again, you may or may not receive product. If this has happened to you, contact your credit card issuer immediately, have them cancel that card number and issue you a new card.
I've been getting a lot of questions about this product/subject, so for those wondering if CBD oil is legal where you live, below are few resources. There are many differences and nuances as to the source of the oil, marijuana plant versus industrial hemp plant, etc., etc., and their respective legalities in various jurisdictions. Disclaimer: If you have any questions as to its legality, contact your state's Attorney General's office. If you plan on ordering it through the mail, also check with the USPS - you do not want to engage in the interstate shipment of a banned product - very serious legal consequences to that. And, of course, before consuming any type of nutritional supplement, etc., for a health condition, be sure to consult your physician and pharmacist.
NEW SHINGLES VACCINE, SHINGRIX, APPROVED BY FDA ON 10-20-2017!!!
December 14, 2017
CREDIT REPORTING AGENCY EQUIFAX DATA BREACH MAY AFFECT 145 MILLION AMERICANS
September 7, 2017 (updated 5-17-2018)
Go to https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com and click on the Potential Impact button to see if you may have been affected.
TOP SECRET SECURITY CLEARANCE INFO LEAKED
September 2, 2017
700 MILLION E-MAIL LOGINS LEAKED ONLINE
August 30, 2017
NEW MEDICARE ID CARDS ROLLING OUT NATIONWIDE IN APRIL, 2018 - BEWARE OF SCAMMERS!
July 21, 2017 (updated 2-17-2018)
Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Official webpage for new card rollout information and updates (you can also sign up for e-mail updates here)
Your old card will be still be good for 2 more years. Beware of scams trying to get your personal information. You do NOT have to pay for this new card. It is very important for everyone, irrespective of age, to establish their online account at Social Security's website at: http://www.ssa.gov (then click on the "my Social Security" link) before someone else (scammer) does it for you. Also, the address reflected here is where your new Medicare card will be sent, so it is very important you confirm that it is correct, along with other details of your Social Security profile.
MILLIONS OF VERIZON CUSTOMERS' ACCOUNT PINs LEAKED
July 12, 2017
KIM KOMANDO: YOU MUST DELETE YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION FROM THIS SCARY WEBSITE NOW!
January 13, 2017
KIM KOMANDO: ANDROID SECURITY ALERT - 900 MILLION DEVICES AT RISK
August 8, 2016
KREBS ON SECURITY: DATA BREACH AT ORACLE'S MICROS POINT-OF-SALE
August 8, 2016
Information is still coming out, but according to the article, the MICROS point-of-sale system is used at 330,000 cash registers in 180 different countries, giving this breach the potential to be one of the most serious of all time. Monitor your credit card accounts very closely and be sure to read my report on this subject on the Publications page under the Fraud and Scams section!
THINK YOU HAVE A STRONG PASSWORD? HACKERS CRACK 16-CHARACTER PASSWORDS IN LESS THAN AN HOUR! U.K. DAILY MAIL
May 28, 2013
Yes, this article is old, but reinforces the importance of using strong passwords and 2-step login features. Thanks to my MMA brother Zach for bringing this to my attention!
RUSSIAN HACKER IS TRADING E-MAIL CREDENTIALS FOR 272.3 MILLION ACCOUNTS
May 5, 2016
It is imperative that you change your passwords now if you have any e-mail accounts with Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail or Outlook (Microsoft Live). Also, I strongly suggest you enable any 2-step verification (authentication) log-in or security question options your e-mail provider may offer.
Reuters article & video
Fox New article
UK Independent article
See the bottom of the Helpful Info & Links page for more info about Identity Theft.
CRITICAL FAIR HOUSING GUIDELINE CHANGES FOR RENTALS
U.S. SUPREME COURT UNANIMOUSLY OVERTURNS MASSACHUSETTS' STUN GUN BAN
March 21, 2016
Full opinion from Supremecourt.gov
KREBS ON SECURITY: THE GREAT EMV FAKE-OUT: NO CHIP FOR YOU!
February 16, 2016
Explains why at some retailers you still have to swipe your card while at others you can now insert, or dip it, to take advantage of the new security features with the chip.
OCPD just launch their OffenderWatch® website. According to the website, it "is the nation's leading registered sex offender management notification tool with hundreds of leading agencies in dozens of states utilizing it."
More info about it here.
OffenderWatch® website - search for offenders in you area here.
Another good side for this is: Family Watchdog
EXPERIAN/T-MOBILE BREACH AFFECTS 15 MILLION CUSTOMERS
October 3, 2015
If you have any equipment financed through T-Mobile, I strongly suggest you read the following articles and consider taking the steps I outlined below to secure your accounts.
CNBC article here
Krebs on Security article here
U.S. GOVERNMENT'S OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT (OPM) ESTIMATES 5.6 MILLION HAD FINGERPRINTS STOLEN IN BREACH September 23, 2015
Recall that earlier in the summer this number was estimated to be around 1.1 million and was in addition to the personal information (including SSN's and addresses) of an estimated 21 million past and present government employees, certain contractors and members of the military. This also included information from SF-85 and SF-86 background investigation forms from individuals applying for security clearances.
Washington Post article
Navy Times article
Some steps you can take now to protect yourself:
U.S. DEPT OF JUSTICE'S BUREAU OF JUSTICE STATISTICS NEWLY RELEASED REPORT ON IDENTITY THEFT
Link to summary here.
Link full report here.
KREBS ON SECURITY: CHIP CARD ATM 'SHIMMER' FOUND IN MEXICO
By now, most of us have either heard about or actually have one of the new credit cards with the chip embedded in it. Ostensibly, this technology change was meant to help stem the flood of theft from credit card skimming and other methods of cloning credit cards. However, Krebs is warning that the new chip & pin technology may not be the panacea we expected. Read his article here. The takeaway from this article is that we STILL must continue to be vigilant in the places (and machines) where we use our cards and to whom we hand them.
More ATM "Insert Skimmer" Innovations, 9-3-2015
Tracking a Bluetooth Skimmer Gang in Mexico, Part 1, 9-15-2015
Tracking a Bluetooth Skimmer Gang in Mexico, Part 2, 9-15-2015
Who's Behind the Bluetooth Skimming in Mexico?, 9-15-2015
TAKATA AIR BAG RECALL INFO
For those of you confused and concerned about this, I think I have finally run across a government website (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) that says it has a full list of the years, makes and models affected, as well as link to check your vehicle's VIN against the recall list. If you can't read the VIN on your car, it should be listed on your proof of insurance card that your carrier provides you.
NHTSA Takata Air Bag Recall List
NHTSA Recall Look-Up by VIN
Sign Up for NHTSA Recall Notifications by e-mail here
WARNING!! Small business owners take note:
Effective July 1st, 2015, the IRS may start fining business owners who help employees pay for health care costs.
National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) article
Fox Business News Video
RUSSIAN GANG AMASSES OVER 1 BILLION INTERNET PASSWORDS
August 5, 2014
New York Times Article
Because of this massive breach and others that occur almost daily, we must all remain vigilant with our online accounts and activities. Here is a very short list of easy steps you can take now to help thwart cyber threats:
Quick Steps You Can Take to Help Thwart Cyber Fraud and Steps You Can Take to Help You Recover If You've Been the Victim of Identity Theft
LAWSUIT RULING PROMPTS IMPORTANT CHANGES TO MEDICARE RULES
Due to a ruling in a recent lawsuit, there have been some critical changes made to certain rules covering treatment for anyone who has received (and still needs), is currently receiving or may need physical, occupational or speech therapy. If this applies to you, it is very important that your read up on these changes. Click on the links below to read the articles:
A Quiet 'Sea Change' In Medicare by Susan Jaffe, New York Times, March 25, 2014
Medicare Expands Rehab Coverage by Sally Abrahms, AARP, January 23, 2014
NEW!!! Updated 06-01-2014
Self Help Packet for Expedited Skilled Nursing Facility Appeals Including "Improvement Standard" Denials
(Also includes a brief summary of Medicare coverge for skilled nursing facility care and the "improvement myth" plus specific law citations.)
OKLAHOMA'S CRIMINAL RECORD EXPUNGEMENT LAW
Significant changes are coming to this law on November 1, 2014 which include changes to and record removal of certain charges and convictions from publicly-accessible Internet databases, courthouse records and databases used by employers for background checks.
Attorney Michael Risley's website does an excellent job explaining these changes. Click here for more information.
Did you know that most homeowners and renters insurance policies do NOT cover damage caused by earthquakes? In a recent (May 2014) discussion with my insurance agent, I discovered that due to the increasing frequency of earthquakes in Oklahoma, it may not be long before insurance companies stop writing these policies altogether and coverage is difficult enough to obtain right now as it is. Depending upon the company, coverage may be available in the form of a separate policy or a rider to your primary policy and fees vary greatly, so, shop around. I would encourage anyone who is concerned about this to contact your insurance agent immediately. UPDATE (1-11-2016): It has been brought to my attention that some insurance companies may be denying claims by saying that the earthquakes are caused by man-made fracking and therefore, not true "natural disasters." If this is true, and since the cause of the recent geologic activity in Oklahoma is still a point of much debate, it is very important that if you do have earthquake coverage, you check with your insurance agent to ensure that they do not make this exclusion in your policy.
Oklahoma Insurance Dept. article and guides
Earthquake Tracker (pick a desired location, worldwide)
MAY 2013 TORNADOES
Many thanks to everyone who contacted me to see if I made it through the recent bad weather. Thankfully, I made it without any injury or damage, but countless others were not as fortunate. There are numerous local and national charitable organizations that will be working for many months to help affected residents. If you wish to donate, here are a few:
American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund donations via cell phone text messaging
United Way of Central Oklahoma
International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC)
Oklahoma Baptist General Convention Oklahoma Disaster Relief Fund
When making charitable donations, we have to be careful not to fall victims to scammers and many charities have similar-sounding names, so, before donating, be sure to check out the organization(s) first with one of these charity review websites:
GiveWell Charity Reviews
Better Business Bureau Charity Reviews
The information, reports, forms, etc., on this website are all free and without any obligation whatsoever; I won't even ask for your e-mail. I provide all this as a service to my clients and the public. However, if you would like to make a small donation to support the website and keep all the good information coming, it would be most appreciated!