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Craving for Obscurity and Ways of Making It a Reality on the Internet Platform

Although being present in the world of internet has become a necessity nowadays, craving for obscurity is something that almost all of us have experienced at some point. But with the advent of major websites collecting and selling data, this desire of ours may be left unfulfilled. What’s worse is that everything that we search for – our medical history, the movies we like, the movies we dislike, the songs we listen to, the books we read, the news we like reading and even the people we follow or talk with over various platforms – every little intricate detail about our personality is up for grabs on the internet. A scary scenario, right? Well, although we may be deep into this vicious pit of risking our privacy, there are some ways to make this situation better if you are indeed looking to go off the face of the internet. Here are some ways to remove yourself from people search sites: Delete All Accounts That You Have Created On Any Website The first thing that you need to do in order to be completely unsearchable is to get rid of all your social media and web service accounts. Think about every social media website or any general website where you have an account. Do not focus only on the big fishes – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram all of these are the popular ones which will surely come to your mind at first. Deleting them is important, but you also need to focus on every other website you have ever signed up for. Here are some steps that may help you – Most websites that have sign-up facility also send emails, so check your emails for the names of these websites. Make a list. Try to remember the ones that do not make the list. Thoroughly go through your history. After making a complete list, visit these websites one by one. To get your freedom from these accounts, go to the account settings page of these websites and search for the option to deactivate or delete your account. If you have any difficulty… Read More

Operation Choke Point: Obama Administration Accused of Last-Ditch Effort by Payday Loans Providers

Payday loans providers blame the Obama administration for attempting to utilize Operation Choke Point to shut down their industry. This has caused a situation of urgency where businesses are not being able to perform their basic functions, such as paying their employees and have also lost numerous banking relationships. A group of short-term lenders requested for emergency relief from a federal judge in the District of Columbia from the government program. CEO of Community Financial Services Association of America (CFSA), Dennis Shaul, said that immediate relief is more pressing than ever. CFSA represents about 9,000 brick-and-mortar short-term lenders. Dennis firmly believes that without an injunction against Operation Choke Point, some members of the CFSA will be compelled to slim down or completely shut down their operations. In 2012, the Justice Department designed Operation Choke Point to attack telemarketing, internet, mail and other widespread market fraud by restricting scamsters’ access to the system of banking. The Justice Department teamed up with the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to crack down on scams by making use of the federal regulators to put pressure on banks to not provide services to businesses that are fraudulent. However, critics of the program are of the opinion that it was utilized to pressurize on legal industries that the Obama administration did not like, such as payday lenders and firearms sellers. One of Obama’s former official of the Justice Department said in April that the program had unconscious, but collateral consequence on the US consumers and banks. Operation Choke Point: A Shadow Campaign A spokesman for Advance America, Jamie Fulmer, said that this program is a shadow campaign. To eliminate short-term lending, regulators are using backdoor tactics. In a 2014 lawsuit filed against the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. for their roles in the program the CFSA and Advance America are co-plaintiffs. Twenty-one banks have already sent their termination notifications to the company since 2013 said Christian Rudolph, Advance America’s chief financial officer. When requesting… Read More

Thrifty Tips to Help you Save Money when Buying Clothes for the Family

It seems that the financial problems the country has faced over the past decade have actually got people thinking about saving money again. Sure, there are some people who are spending like crazy now that the economy is somewhat recovering. However, there are still people out there who have their own reasons to look for ways to save a little bit of money on the things that they purchase. Clothing can be incredibly expensive, so it is no wonder that people are looking for tips and tricks to help them save money when buying threads for the family. Here are some of our top, proven effective tips to save money on clothing purchases: Check out Yard Sales and Garage Sales There are some fantastic clothing purchase that can be made at neighborhood garage sales and yard sales. Some people outgrow clothing or simply decide to sell it for pennies on the dollar when they have their yearly yard sales. If you think that only worn, dirty or out of style selections are available, you may want to rethink your stance on garage sale clothing options. People will regularly put items up for sale that have never even been worn. Yard sale experts will tell you that time and time again they find fantastic, name brand apparel items with the tags still on them at standard yard sales. People often get clothes that don’t fit as gifts or simply don’t like the style of clothing that they have received, and they put it up for dirt cheap at yard sales. The author has personally seen Levi jeans that would normally sell for $50 at various yard sales being sold for a dollar to five dollars a pair. You can’t beat those kinds of deals. Check out the Clearance Section The big stores all have clearance sections that allow frugal clothes shoppers to find some real bargains. And those same stores will routinely put these items through two rounds of discounting before they just get rid of them. The key is to get to know the timing of these cycles at your… Read More

How to Avoid Wasting your Money so you can Save More Every Month

If a home or building is not staying warm in the winter or cool in the summer, there are tests that can be done to figure out the source of the problem. There are many things that could be to blame. It could be old windows that need replacing, doors that are letting a draft in or a lack of insulation in the attic. And there are dozens of other sources that can prevent a home from maintaining a comfortable temperature. It just take a bit of work to search around and find out where the sources of energy loss are occurring. The same thing applies to your bank account. There are lots of little expenses that can eat away at your bank account balance. If you don’t do a check from time to time, and apply a fix for the problem areas, those little money drains will continue to add up to a major financial loss for your household. The idea is to save as much money as you can. To do so, you’ll have to get your financial records out and go over all of your expenses. You’ll ultimately find some expenses you can reduce or eliminate. This takes time, but is worth doing when you have a few hours to spare. In the meantime, though, we have some very common expenses that you may want to think about reducing or getting rid of in order to save more money each month. Cable/Satellite TV When is the last time you looked at your cable bill? Have you noticed how expensive this type of service has become? The cable and satellite providers love to tack on all sorts of charges, and their prices are always going up. It is not uncommon at all for a household to pay out up to $100 a month on basic cable and equipment costs each month. It’s time to cut the cord. Ditch traditional cable and start using streaming TV services, like Netflix, Crackle or Sling TV. For about 10 percent of the cost of the average cable bill, you can enjoy tons… Read More

Is it a Good Idea to Take Financial Advice from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau?

By now, just about everyone has heard of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB.) This bureau has been given the task to help protect United States consumers from illegal financial dealings and other misdoings. However, the CFPB has been on a bit of a roll lately. With a nearly limitless budget and the backing of the Obama administration, it seems that this agency is out to spread its influence as much as it can. Case in point – the CFPB recently put together a tool that they plan on using to help measure the financial standing of Americans. They say that they will then be able to better assist Americans with their finances. According to the head of the CFPB, Richard Cordray, “A key part of our mission is providing resources that aid and empower people to lead stable and healthy financial lives. Our financial well-being tool will give financial educators an important means by which to evaluate and support consumers’ financial health.” Earlier this month, the CFPB put out a report that defines their idea of financial well-being. This report draws on information that was obtained via consumer interviews, in-house research and consulting sessions with financial educators.  According to the report financial well-being is, “a state of being wherein a person can fully meet current and ongoing financial obligations, can feel secure in their financial future, and is able to make choices that allow them to enjoy life.” The CFPB’s tool includes a list of 10 questions that can be used by financial educators when they are working with clients. According to the CFPB, the way that people answer these questions indicates how well off they are financially. The CFPB has created a scale that includes four essential elements that comprise financial well-being. Here are the four elements that are used in the scale: Present day financial security – This is the element that is focused on whether or not people feel like they are in control of their daily and monthly finances. Future financial security – This element is based upon how consumers feel about their ability to… Read More

Massachusetts Attorney General Sues Debt Collection Firm over Customer Abuse Issues

The Attorney General in Massachusetts recently sued one of the most prominent debt collection law firms in the state, along with two of the firm’s owners. The suit alleges that the firm filed repeat lawsuits against customers for unpaid debts or, in some cases, debts that were completely inaccurate. The Attorney General states that the debt collection company was acting in direct violation of the consumer protection laws of the State of Massachusetts with regards to the pursuing of debts and utilizing judicial proceedings. The complaint, which was filed in the Suffolk Superior Court was officially filed against Lustig, Glaser and Wilson, P.C. and the owners of the firm, Ronald Lustig and Kenneth Wilson. The suit alleges that as far back as 2011, the Lustig Firm filed in excess of 100,000 debt collection lawsuits in the state. Most of these suits seem to have been filed based on unsubstantiated debts and inaccurate data that were owned by national debt buying companies. A good deal of these lawsuits were filed against people who only had social security or other types of income to rely on; forms of income that are legally exempt from any types of payments ordered by the courts. Because of all of this unlawful litigation, since the year 2011, the law firm has obtained judgements against residents of Massachusetts that total up to more than $125 million, while pursuing consumers about the judgments that were handed down. Attorney General Healey said, “We allege that this firm and its owners took advantage of thousands of Massachusetts consumers by demanding money they had no right to collect and on the basis of debts they could not prove. The company used the judicial system to intimidate and harass people, and we are working hard to make sure that this kind of conduct ends and that the company and its owners are held accountable.” To keep their practice going, the Lustig Firm is alleged to have relied on basic computer spreadsheets that were given to them by national debt buying companies. These spreadsheets allowed the firm to process thousands of accounts for… Read More

Helping the Majority of Americans who are Dealing with Financial Hard Times

A recent study conducted by the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) has revealed the ugly truth about just how much people all around the United States are suffering from financial woes. It might be easy to think that the only people having hard financial times are the homeless, or even the extremely poor. The truth that this study revealed, however, is that a whopping 57 percent of American adults are dealing with very real financial difficulties. The study was performed in order to get a current “health check” on the financial state of affairs for people in America. The hope is that by understanding the current situation, steps can be taken to help improve financial outcomes for households in the U.S. Different demographic groups face various financial challenges, but the end goal that everyone needs to get behind is finding a way to help everyone improve their financial outcomes, if possible. In response to the recent study, Aliza Gutman, the director of the CFSI and leader of the study, had some interesting insights to share in a recent interview. Gutman is in a unique position of being able to interpret the data that was used in the study and making it easy to understand for anyone interested in this topic. When asked about the significance of the study, and how it differs from previous, related studies Gutman said, “The Consumer Financial Health Study consists of a nationwide survey and consumer segmentation. We surveyed over 7,000 adults from across the United States and across the income spectrum, asking about financial behaviors, attitudes, preferences and product use. Consumers with annual incomes under $50,000 were over-sampled to provide a robust set of data on consumers in the lower half of the income distribution. However, since we aimed to understand the financial health of the entire country, we weighted the data back to the total U.S. population to report findings that are nationally representative.” There are seven consumer segments that were identified by the study. These seven segments were put into one of three categories: healthy, coping and vulnerable. The healthy segments seem… Read More

Are Millennials Making Prepaid Cards More Popular?

It has been well documented that Millennials say they do not care for credit cards. New numbers shed a bit more light on this subject: 65 percent of Millennials do not have a credit card 36 percent have never even had one It seems that prepaid cards are the most popular form of financial products for Millennials. A study revealed recently that 33 percent of young people either currently use or have prepaid debit cards. Just a few years ago, the trend was that only very specific groups, like teenagers and senior citizens, used prepaid cards. It looks like Millennials are bucking the system and are beginning to adopt prepaid cards as their preferred method of managing their money. What is to blame for the rise in popularity of prepaid cards, while credit cards seem to be on the decline? Here are a few things that may be contributing to this phase: Millennials grew up in an era when no one really used cash that much. They were used to seeing their parents use cards instead of checks or cash, so it makes sense that they would want a card-based form of payment to use for their purchases. Prepaid cards also allow people to stay in control of their money a bit more than credit cards allow for. You can set limits with prepaid cards, while it is very easy to get in serious debt with a traditional credit card. In fact, many Millennials watched their parents dig into serious pits of debt, so they would like to avoid making the same mistakes. Prepaid cards can also be integrated with mobile phone apps. The Millennials live and die by their smart phones. Mobile financial apps give prepaid card users the ability to check balances, track spending and even make money transfers, all in real time. So, how can financial providers begin to play catch up with so many young people showing a clear preference for new forms of financial services? For starters, the banks need to worry less about migrating people to full checking account customers and provide integrated services,… Read More

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Announced New Mortgage Rules

In 2010 the government established the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It is this agency’s job to make sure that the consumer is protected as far as financial matters go. They have recently released a new list of mortgage rules that banks must now follow. According to the New York Times, this is to start next January. With these new rules the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau wants to enforce qualified mortgages. This is meant to ensure the borrower can actually afford the loan. It will also protect the lending institution should the borrower default on the loan. The new regulations say that the borrower must have an income and asset combination that is sufficient to pay back the loan. The goal with this is to make sure that before someone gets a loan that they are able to pay for it. If they are not able to pay back the loan, then the borrower will end up in over their head with debt, and no way to pay back the loan. This can really ruin the borrower’s credit score. Another rule is regulating how much the monthly payment can be. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is limiting the monthly payment to be no more than forty-three percent of the borrower pre-tax income. This will help the consumer not have such a high payment every month that they cannot afford the other necessities that they need to purchase, or pay other bills that need paid. Upfront fees are to be limited now. No longer can banks charge fee after fee after fee. Now they are limited on what they can charge for fees so that the consumer is not overwhelmed with paying for fees when getting a loan. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is also eliminating interest-only payments. These types of payments can leave borrowers in much more debt. When the borrower is only paying on the interest, not the loan itself, they are not paying off the loan at all. Instead all the money goes to the interest, which will just come back as more interest that needs paid. It is… Read More

Tips for Retirement When You Are Starting Your First Job

When you are starting out at your first job it is a really exciting and nerve racking all at the same time.  There are things that you must do though when you start your first job to help you prepare for retirement.  Here are some tips to help you out when you are starting your first job. The first thing you need to do is to find out if your employer sponsors a retirement account.  If they do you need to find out if they match any contributions that you make and if so how much.  If they do match a percentage of your contribution you really should at minimum contribute the maximum they will contribute this will help you to build up your retirement account for when you are ready for retirement. Another thing that you should do when you start your first job to prepare for retirement is to start investing.  The key to investing and getting the best return from this is to diversify your portfolio.  If you keep your portfolio diversified with the right investments then you can bring in a very nice return for you to have in retirement. Create a budget and stick to it.  This will help you to have money to put into savings each month.  This also helps you to see where you can cut back and have more money to put into your retirement savings account. When you leave your job for a new one do not cash out your retirement account.  Instead most experts agree that you should do is to roll it over.  If you are unsure of how to go about this talk to your boss and find out either who to contact or how to roll it over.  Make sure you understand to understand how to roll over the account before you actually do it that way you do not do it incorrectly. Think about what your goals are for your retirement savings.  This is an important thing to know, make sure that you take your time when setting your goals for your retirement savings.  Once… Read More

Create a Realistic Budget

Saving money is an important thing to everyone. One thing that will make it easier to save money is to have a budget. A budget must be realistic in order to work. It can be somewhat overwhelming to create a budget that is practical. It does not need to be overwhelming though; there are some things that you can do to help you to make creating a budget easier. Everyone’s budget will be different; there is no formula to make a budget that works for everyone. A budget is a personal thing that is meant to help you to save money and not overspend. There are default templates for budget, these are good and all, but do not assume that you can just use that. A default template for a budget is a good starting point, but you have to adapt it to make it work for you. You need to have realistic expectations for your budget. You need to make sure that you are putting an appropriate amount in each category you have. You need to make sure that you have accurate income projections as well as realistic spending amounts. You may want to try to save in a hurry and therefore put a small amount in any given category but if you actually need more than that amount you will not have a realistic budget and it will not work. One thing that cannot be overlooked is that you need to regularly review your budget. This is an important step in the budget making process. You should review your budget every month when you first create it. That way you can adjust anything that you need to. After you spent a few months without needing to adjust it you can wait a couple months to review it again. You must review your budget every so often so that you can adjust what you need to in order to get your budget where it needs to be. A budget will help you to track your spending patterns. This means that you can see where you spend money and where… Read More

Criminal Identity Theft Has Become a Growing Problem in the 21st Century

Identity thieves have been around for decades always trying to find new ways to take advantage of other people. This is not a new problem. However now they are not just taking people’s identities for money, they are committing crimes with someone else’s identity. Identity theft should scare everyone. If you identity gets stolen, it can take a rather long time to put your life back together. Many do not know this, but you have more to fear than someone stealing your identity for money. You should fear them stealing your identity to use it to commit a crime. This is even worse than having your identity stolen for money, as I am sure you can imagine. You must protect yourself so you can avoid this. More and more of what we do is online now. We put more of our information online now that at any other time in the history of the internet. We assume sites are secures, and we are told that they are, but some people spend their day trying to get that information, and if they succeed, you could be in trouble. It is not just websites that you need to worry about. It is the personal information that you keep on your computer as well. Criminal identity thieves use various tactics such, such as viruses, which can cause your computer and your identity to have some problems. What all this means is you need to make sure that you always have your computer protection software up-to-date. When a criminal identity thief gets ahold of your identity and commits a crime in your name you are on the hook for that crime. This means you have to pay for a lawyer to go to court and prove your identity was stolen and that you did not commit that crime. Depending on the number of crimes, you could end up have to go to court a lot which will cost you a lot in lawyer fees. Until it is all settled your reputation is going to be diminished. People will look at you differently because they… Read More