Since 1997, I've focused on assisting professional practices (doctors, dentists, veterinarians, chiropractors, et al.) financially organize their practices to make better business decisions and protect their revenue as a Certified Fraud Examiner.
I’ve written 36 books (Getting The Most Out of QuickBooks In Your Practice series), spoken nationally, consulted & investigated privately. From the beginning, I recognized the value in communicating with the masses.
Now, I have a new book, Matters Of The Heart: A Journey In Caring For Aging Loved Ones. It's based on my 16 year caregiving journey with my parents and step-grandmom.
This blog will be a culmination of other writings - some related to professional practice business, some related to caregiving and some just related to life. Check back often so you don’t miss what may be relevant to your own life!
Monday, October 30, 2017
Tuesday, October 3, 2017
Monday, September 18, 2017
TransUnion's True Identity program is free and allows you to lock your credit instantly. It was very easy to sign in and instantly lock. Take advantage of this offer.
Experian is offering a free service that allows you to see if any of your personal information has been compromised on the dark web. However, until their recent website update, it appeared they only offered a monthly monitoring service, that included freezing your credit. I searched their website for over an hour for other options but only came up with the monthly service. I was very disappointed in them. Now, with their website update, the average user can locate the information but they are still the only one that charges for the service, if the state allows them to do so. The fee varies by state but Texas was $10.83 to freeze my credit.
[Update: See links below to freeze your credit - thank you Malwarebytes!]
Yes, I know there is a fourth very small credit bureau, Innovis. It was founded in 1970 but has never grown to the capacity of the other three major bureaus. For instance, Innovis receives some information from lenders but not all of them report their information to Innovis, nor seek their information. However...
- Equifax: (800) 685-1111 or https://www.freeze.equifax.com/
- Experian: (888) 397-3742 or https://www.experian.com/ncaconline/freeze
- TransUnion: (888) 909-8872 or https://freeze.transunion.com/
- Note: their phone prompts move quickly, so have your newly thought-up PIN and credit card information readily available.
- Innovis: (800) 540-2505 or https://www.innovis.com/securityFreeze
Monitor your credit card transactions. That is a great habit I teach to business owners anyway. Download those credit card transactions to an accounting software. Now, it is even more vitally important that you do so.
I use QuickBooks to download my business credit card transactions and Quicken to download my personal credit cards. I recommend downloading them weekly to stay on top of the transactions.
Lifelock has several plans. The premier plan is $29.95 a month. I have the standard $9.95 a month membership. They will monitor the black market for any personal information, as well as give an opportunity to review what personal information is available online within a few keystrokes. Remember, if you own a business that you use your own personal social security number to gain credit or loan approval, you could be affected. Choosing a service like Lifelock could help protect your personal information.
- Assume your personal information has been compromised and there will be attempts to obtain credit based on your personal information that would greatly damage your credit. [sometimes people need a worse case scenario....]
- Lock your credit if you will not be in search of credit or a loan in the near future. You can always unlock your credit in case of an emergency. At the least, place a Fraud Alert on your credit.
- Monitor all your credit card transactions to ensure their validity. I keep receipts until I see the transaction on the download in my accounting software. That makes it easier to validate those small $$ amount transactions at out of the norm places. Understand too, other vulnerabilities exist due to this breach, such as tax returns, insurance, benefits, etc. Long term monitoring is required - do not become complacent.
- Do a privacy monitoring check either through Lifelock, who makes that an easy task, or by searching your name. Fill out and opt out when you find yourself listed online. This will need to be done monthly, so if you do it manually, bookmark the website addresses.
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Seriously? The thieves were able to steal over $900 of products from 4 different stores and mine was just one card. I think the front end is not paying attention to the back end financially.