Thursday, December 06, 2007

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

New Credit Card Scam
In view of the holiday season, I thought this was worthy of re-posting.
The Holiday Season is just a little bit down the road and the bad guys are already trying to get free stuff by using your credit. This one is pretty slick since they provide YOU with all the information, except the one piece they want. Note, the callers do not ask for your card number; they already have it. This information is worth reading. By understanding how the VISA & MasterCard Telephone Credit Card Scam works, you'll be better prepared to protect yourself.
The scam works like this: Person calling says, 'This is (name), and I'm calling from the Security and Fraud Department at VISA. My badge number is 12460. Your card has been flagged for an unusual purchase pattern, and I'm calling to verify. This would be on your VISA card which was issued by (name of bank). Did you purchase an Anti-Telemarketing Device for $497.99 from a Marketing company based in Arizona ?' When you say 'No', the caller continues with, 'Then we will be issuing a credit to your account. This is a company we have been watching and the charges range from $297 to $497, just under the $500 purchase pattern that flags most cards. Before your next statement, the credit will be sent to (gives you your address), is that correct? 'You say 'yes'. The caller continues - 'I will be starting a Fraud investigation. If you have any questions, you should call the 1- 800 number listed on the back of your card (1-800-VISA) and ask for Security.You will need to refer to this Control Number. The caller then gives you a 6 digit number. 'Do you need me to read it again?'
Here's the IMPORTANT part on how the scam works. The caller then says, 'I need to verify you are in possession of your card.' He'll ask you to 'turn your card over and look for some numbers.' There are 7 numbers; the first 4 are part of your card number, the next 3 are the security Numbers' that verify you are he possessor of the card. These are the numbers you sometimes use to make Internet purchases to prove you have the card. The caller will ask you to read the 3 numbers to him. After you tell the caller the 3 numbers, he'll say, 'That is correct, I just needed to verify that the card has not been lost or stolen, and that you still have you rcard. Do you have any other questions?' After you say, 'No,' the caller then thanks you and states, 'Don' t hesitate to call back if you do', and hangs up.
You actually say very little, and they never ask for or tell you the card number. But after we were called on Wednesday, we called back within 20 minutes to ask a question. Are we glad we did! The REAL VISA security Department told us it was scam an in the last 15 minutes a new purchase of $497.99 was charged to our card.
Long story - short - we made a real fraud report and closed the VISA account. VISA is reissuing us a new number. What the scammers want is the 3-digit PIN number on the back of the card. Don't give it to them. Instead, tell them you'll call VISA or Master card directly for verification of their conversation. The real VISA told us that they will never ask for anything on the card as they already know the information since they issued the card! If you give the scammers your 3 Digit PIN Number, you think you're receiving a credit. However, by the time you get your statement you 'll see charges for purchases you didn't make, and by then it's almost too late and/or more difficult to actually file a fraud report.
What makes this more remarkable is that on Thursday, I got a call from a 'Jason Richardson of Master Card' with a word-for-word repeat of the VISA scam. This time I didn't let him finish. I hung up! We filed a police report, as instructed by VISA. The police said they are taking several of these reports daily! They also urged us to tell everybody we know that this scam is happening.
Please pass this on to all your family and friends. By informing each other, we protect each other.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Kindle

I rarely do this, but I think this is a cool idea. If you are into "gadgets" as I am, this is one you might want to look into.


What is it?


The Amazon Kindle is a revolutionary portable reader that wirelessly downloads books, newspapers, magazines and blogs to a crisp, high-resolution electronic paper display that looks and reads like real paper, even in bright sunlight.

Kindle customers, no matter where they are in the U.S., can wirelessly shop the Kindle Store and download new content — all without a PC or a WiFi hot spot. Amazon pays for Kindle’s wireless connectivity so there are no monthly wireless bills and no service commitments for customers. The Kindle Store contains over 90,000 books that can be purchased and delivered wirelessly to Kindle, each in less than a minute. Customers can choose from hundreds of top newspapers, magazines and blogs and have their subscriptions auto-delivered wirelessly. All New York Times Best Sellers and New Releases are $9.99, unless marked otherwise.


At 10.3 ounces, Kindle is lighter and thinner than a paperback book, carries two hundred books, and includes built-in access to The New Oxford American Dictionary and wireless access to the Earth’s biggest encyclopedia,
Wikipedia.org.


The above is the "official" description. Here's my take: Most of the paperback books I buy are less than 10.3 ounces, and I usually pay less than $9.99 for my reading material. But, the Kindle will hold 200 books, is convenient to carry and will download from anywhere. For me, the downside is that the screen is in a greyscale and at $399 it's a bit on the pricey side.

Kindle includes a dictionary, a search function to find an article you may have read a few days ago, a QWERTY keyboard that works for both right and left-handers, adjustable text size, and a long-life battery. You can download the beginning of a book to read to decide if it's something you'd like to read. Amazon has over 90,000 books, newspapers, magazines, and blogs currently available, and 100 of 112 current NY Times bestsellers. And adding more all the time.

I can see the portable reader as being indispensible to commuters, students, vacationers, and anyone who loves to read. This might the be Christmas/Hanukka give of the season. There is a link on the right hand side of this page to the Kindle. Go look. See what you think.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Mike Huckabee

As my other long-time reader knows, I am a proponent of the Fair Tax and, as it turns out, so is Governor Huckabee. I invite you to follow the two links to see more about him, his platform and the truth about his term in office - the good and the bad - in reference to taxes.

Mike Huckabee for President website

and

NY Times
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Sunday, December 02, 2007

The 4 Stages of Life

1) You believe in Santa Claus

2) You don't believe in Santa Claus

3) You are Santa Claus

4) You look like Santa Claus