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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

How Ghost Jobs Can Come to Haunt You

 By Catherine Powell

Image courtesy Alpha Stock Images

They say it's hard to find good help.  While this little ditty has stood the test of time, the opposite can also hold true, especially in the age of the Internet.  While it's currently reported that there are some 9.5 million jobs posted online, not all the postings are legitimate.  What I mean by that is some of the postings are what's referred to as "ghost jobs." No, I'm not talking about applying for a job as a ghost buster.  Ghost jobs are help wanted ads posted by companies who have no intention of filling the position.  Some of these positions have already been filled, while others aren't currently available or don't exist at all.  Apply for a ghost job and you won't hear boo from the employer, no matter how well qualified you happen to be.  Not only does this waste your time, in some cases it can come to haunt you.  Below are ten things you need to do to identify and avoid ghost jobs, as well as what can happen if you don't heed my warning.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Fake Insurance Follies

 By Catherine Powell

Image courtesy Pix4free.org

Whenever something sounds too good to be true it usually is.  That little ditty applies doubly when it comes to phony insurance offers.  Advertising being what it is today, you have to be wary of pie-in-the-sky deals that are designed to get you to click or call for more information.  Not only with these too good to be true deals disappear when you respond, if you aren't careful you could wind up divulging personal information to who knows who or you could wind up purchasing a policy that isn't worth the paper it's printed on.  To help you weed out the bogus offers that are all over the TV and Internet, I decided I'd clue you into some of the most flagrant insurance rip offs that are currently being used to dupe the public today.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

How Skimming, Shimming and Jugging Can Rob You Blind

 By Catherine Powell

Image courtesy Pxhere

I'm old enough to be able to remember a time when everyone had to go to the bank to make a deposit or withdraw money from their account.  Then came the 1980's, which introduced everyone to the Automated Teller Machine that made depositing a check or receiving cash a breeze.  Forty years later, ATMs can be found everywhere from shopping malls to parking lots.  All it takes is a debit card and a PIN to safely access your funds anywhere anytime of the day or night.  What could be more convenient?  The trouble is that this convenience can cost you big if you aren't careful.  The same technology that provides consumers with instant cash can turn an ATM into an opportunity to rob you blind.  If you don't want to find your hard earned money taken from you, you need to learn how thieves can turn any ATM into an instant payday.

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Hidden Cameras Can Turn Your Vacation into I-Spy

 By Catherine Powell

Picture frame camera courtesy Amazon

The whole concept of a vacation is to be able to let your hair down to release the pent up frustrations produced by laboring all year long to feed your family.  While that may entail flying to a foreign destination, taking a cruise, staying in a hotel, a B&B, or renting a camper to drive across the country, I'm here to tell you that all of the above can be wired with hidden video cameras designed to spy on you.  That's right, tiny spycams are routinely found in everything from hotel rooms and rental cabins to cruise ships and airline bathrooms.  What's worse is that they're so small that they're nearly impossible to find.  Some are motion-activated and can see in the dark. Spycams can be secreted in clock radios and bedside lamps.  They can be built into smoke alarms. picture frames, and toothbrush holders.  They can be concealed in air conditioning vents and mirrors.  In short, they can be hidden almost anywhere.  Once installed, these hi-tech peeping toms can be set to both record and live stream their payload for fun or profit.  That's right, your most intimate moments can be uploaded to streaming sites for public consumption.  If you don't want to become the latest online sensation, you need to learn how to spot and eliminate these hidden menaces. Below are six ways to find out if you're being spied on and what to do if you spot a spycam while you're on vacation.

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

What Kind of Auto Theft Isn't Covered by Insurance?

By Catherine Powell

Image courtesy Pixabay

Only once have I had to deal with the theft of my car.  That was way back in 1997, when I awoke one morning to discover my Jeep wasn't parked in my driveway where I left it the night before.  Two calls later; One to the police and the other to my insurance agent and the problem was soon solved.  No, I didn't get my Jeep back, although the cops eventually caught the culprit and recovered the vehicle.  By that time the insurance company had cut me a check and I purchased another car.  But it was sure nice to find out that I wasn't on hook for the balance I owed the lender.  I even walked away with enough to put a $1,000 down payment down on my new ride.  That isn't always the case for victims of auto identity theft.  This is a high-tech crime that involves forged documentation intended to get you to plunk your hard-earned cash down on a stolen vehicle.  So prevalent is this form of fraud that even some dealers have been duped.  If this should happen to you, not only will you be out the purchase price, but the cops will confiscate the vehicle, leaving you with no cash and no ride.  To keep you from falling into this money pit, I've come up with ten tips designed to help you recognize this 21st Century ripoff before you get taken to the cleaners.  

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Is Your Home Gone with the Wind?

 Catherine Powell

Image courtesy Pxhere

As I sit here writing this, the wind is howling outside my window.  The wind speed is predicted to gust as high as 70 MPH today.  Even though it's mid-winter here in Jacksonville, a passing storm front can make it seem like hurricane season any time of year.  When the windows are rattling and the shingles are threatening to blow off your roof, it doesn't matter whether it's winter, summer, spring, or fall.  The only thing that matters is that you're covered for the worst that Mother Nature can do to your property.  That's why I've decided to clue you in on what you need to know to successfully file a wind damage claim.

Monday, January 8, 2024

Could You be Replaced by a Robot?

 By Catherine Powell

Image courtesy Pxhere

I was scanning the news feeds yesterday when I saw something that caught my eye: The world's first robotic McDonald's restaurant.  One Ft Worth, Texas fast food eatery has done away with almost half its staff by eliminating the employees responsible for taking and delivering orders.  Instead of speaking to a person, all orders at the restaurant are placed by a touchscreen at the restaurant or via app.  While the food is still prepared by humans, all orders are delivered robotically.  This particular Mickey D's only offers takeout which also eliminates the employees who typically bus the tables.  (Check out the YouTube video below.)  While this particular fast food restaurant hasn't entirely done away with its staff, a quick web search discovered at least two that do in the US, which I'll detail below.  This got me to thinking about how many of us could wind up being replaced in the near future by robots.  The answer to that question could shock you.

How Ghost Jobs Can Come to Haunt You

 By Catherine Powell Image courtesy Alpha Stock Images They say it's hard to find good help.  While this little ditty has stood the test...