Social Media – It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Steals Your Identity

Millions of people are reconnecting with old school friends and keeping up with current friends on various social media networks such as Facebook and MySpace. It’s a fun and easy way to upload pictures for your friends and followers to see, or send a quick update on what you’re doing right at this moment. It all seems harmless until you realize that almost 10 million Americans were victims of identity fraud in 2008, which is over a 20 percent increase since 2007. With over 250 million personal data records breached since 2005, millions of people have been exposed to the ill effects that being a victim of identity theft can quickly have–all because personal information got into the wrong hands.
This is the bad news.

The good news is that there are ways you can still enjoy being a social media maven AND protect your privacy to avoid becoming an identity theft victim.

The Best Ways to Secure Your Identity from Stealers

There are several privacy options available to help protect your information from getting into the wrong hands. You should always avoid sharing personal contact information. Parents always warn us, “Don’t write down what you don’t want others to read.” This includes an address, birth date, social security number, etc.

· Categorize your friends. You can create groups to categorize your friends. This allows you to share certain updates with certain groups rather than anyone and everyone that lands on your page or is one of your “friends.”

· Be unsearchable. There are privacy settings such as “Friends Only” or “Network and Friends Only” that makes it possible for only your friends to view your page.

· De-Google. Social media sites are very search engine friendly, which means your information is ranked by the search engines. Uncheck the option to be indexed by the search engines in your privacy settings as added security.

· Don’t forget your albums. Even if you set your photos to be private, your albums may still be open to the public. So, don’t forget to set the privacy option on your albums too.

· Keep relationships private. There are two options here. You can control who sees basic information such as your relationship status or remove the newsfeed on items like this to avoid it being blasted out to your friends. Some sites allow you to share who you’re in a relationship with, which can put you and your partner at an even greater risk to identity theft.

· Visit wisely. These sites have thousands of applications users can use and visit. When you use these applications, it automatically updates your status on your page. Harmless: “Tim is playing Word Challenge.” Harmful: “Tim is having sex,” which occurs when you visit a certain section of Facebook that will go unnamed here.

· Privatize contact information. Private contact information should only be visible to people you trust. Organizing your contact lists to control whom sees this information adds further protection.

· Control friends’ actions. To avoid embarrassing, defaming, or personal information from being listed on your page, visit the profile page of the site and choose who can post on your page, or avoid allowing updates to show publicly at all.

· Make friends private. Exposing your friends can expose you too. Make your friendships private to have better control over who can access your personal information, which can help to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft.

· Don’t show your age. Thieves can track you with your birth date and year of birth. Keep your date public so your friends can express their best wishes but don’t post your year of birth.

Social media is fun and exciting. It allows you to reconnect with old friends and make new ones. It can also make you vulnerable to identity thieves, which takes all of the fun and games out of your social media networking. Practice safe social media by implementing these ten tips and continue to enjoy the benefits of this online phenomenon.

About:
Identity Finder, LLC was founded in 2001 by innovative security experts. The company has quickly grown to become a leader in identity theft prevention by helping millions of consumers, small businesses, and enterprises in over fifty countries.

Identity Finder searches and secures personal information. Using the company’s proprietary AnyFind technology, Identity Finder intelligently locates social security numbers, credit card numbers, passwords, and other sensitive data inside documents, spreadsheets, e-mails, web browsers, and other system areas. Beyond identification, our technology helps securely shred or encrypt information. Install Identity Finder today to stay steps ahead of the criminals.

Fun Math Games: How Can You Have Fun With a Math App?

Fun math games seems like like a contradiction in terms. If you are anything like me, then the thought of spending leisure time doing sums is not necessarily appealing. But that is where an iPhone or iPad math app can make the difference. A cool math game has the ability to help you forget that you are actually doing arithmetic, and instead keep you entertained and addictingly glued to the screen.

Aimed at both adults and children who have basic counting skills, fun math games are educational. However, the adults and kids alike will become engrossed in the competitive nature of these games, posting scores to Openfeint or Games Centre to see if they can beat their best score, and will quickly forget that they are using their brain in a way that their math teacher would happily approve of.

A math app can be cunningly disguised as a fun game for young children. Once they become engrossed with the characters or story, the addition, subtraction, spatial awareness or problem solving puzzles become entertaining and engaging and can keep a youngster amused for quite some time and on a recurring basis.

Fun math games aimed at adults include the old faithful games such as Sudoku, the new classic game Tetris, and even the immensely popular Angry Birds which uses a player’s knowledge of angles and velocity, although without you really thinking about it and dreading playing a math game! The addicting quality of any of these games takes over and the player is fully engaged and determined to win. That is the sign of a great game.

Why use an app instead of paper and pencil? Well, I would not argue that paper and pencil make a very entertaining option if that is all you have. But the options with apps are huge and becoming greater every day. Most game apps are free or very inexpensive. Graphics are entertaining and lively for children, and engaging for adults. Different play modes are available allowing you to choose the type of game you feel like playing today, and you have the option of scores being compared with others all over the world. Now why would you choose paper and pencil?

If, like me, you think math is not appealing, then I would suggest you try a math app for iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. It might just surprise you how much you enjoy it, and your brain might like the workout from fun math games!

Selecting the Best Contractor For Your Home Improvement Project

Maintaining or renovating a home can be a very daunting task for most people. However, after all the hard work and investment in time and resources you have allocated for a home improvement project, the satisfaction of seeing a superbly crafted home that you can call your own can be priceless indeed. Such is the importance of choosing the best and most qualified contractor who is knowledgeable and capable enough to turn your vision into a remarkable work of art.When choosing a contractor for repairs or renovations for your home improvement project, it is vital that you first acquire all the important information about a particular contractor before ever committing in getting their services. You need to make sure that they are capable of performing all the inclusive work, including customized builds and improvements that you would want your home to have. To get all these pertinent information, you should ask your contractors a strategic set of questions designed to extract all the data that you will need. To help you start in this direction, you should ask the following set of questions:* Does the contractor have the appropriate knowledge and experience with the type of home improvement project that you have in mind?According to recent information from the industry, approximately 80 percent of contractors and builders are knowledgeable and are adequately trained in the latest construction and building techniques. However, even though they may have the training with these new techniques and the certifications to show for it (ex: techniques in energy-saving green building technologies, etc), their actual experience may have just been picked up or even achieved as they work on new projects. On some cases, the home renovation projects may involve a historic home with irreplaceable artifacts or sections. A contractor may not have the expertise in dealing with such a home nor could they match the craftsmanship involved with these historic masterpieces.* Is there an existing relationship between your contractor and architect/designer and have they worked together on a project before?For your home improvement project, you may take on the services of some of the best architects and interior designers in the whole of Massachusetts. To complement the expertise of these professionals, it is but proper to also get the services of the best contractors for the project. In such cases, it would be best to choose a contractor whom your architect or designer knows. They may be aware of the track record of these contractors and may be comfortable working with some that they can identify. With such arrangements, you can be assured of a timely completion of your project and in the manner that you envisioned it to be.* When you inquire something about the project, does the contractor communicate well with you?It is a normal thing for homeowners to ask something about a home remodeling project from their contractors. However, if all you get is a hasty answer without much details and it would appear that they want you off their faces, then be careful of such contractors. A good contractor should be receptive of the needs of their clients and should be ready to discuss every detail of the project should you ask for it.* Is the contractor experienced in working with your kind of home?A commercial construction is different from a home construction in terms of details and even on building and safety codes. The contractor should be adept in the type of home that you have, otherwise they might turn your priced possession into their laboratory for trial-and-error building methods.* How fast can the contractor start and how soon can they complete the job?Finding the best contractor is one thing, but having them start on your home as per schedule is another. You might be at the end of a long list of clients and would have to sit it out for months on end. You should weigh the urgency of having the work done as soon as possible or getting the services of the best contractor that you can get.* Is there a guarantee for their work after completion?A competent contractor will give you the assurance of an excellent renovation or repair work and will provide you with a guarantee on the work done. They should be confident enough of the quality of their work and give their clients the assurance that they need.Conducting a one-of-a-kind home improvement project for your Massachusetts home entails the best services from the best professionals available for the job. Taking a few extra moments in checking out your contractors before hiring them can spell the difference between a disastrous undertakings or a magnificent work of art you can call your home.