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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

How to Keep Facebook from Turning Into Facecrook

By Catherine Powell

Image courtesy Alpha Stock Images

Facebook is by far the world's most popular social network with more than 3 billion active users.  Unfortunately, it's also reportedly one of the most prolific hunting grounds for scammers, with more than 62% of users encountering fraudulent offers of one kind of another on a weekly basis.  If you want to network with your friends on Facebook without being ripped off, hacked, or having your heart broken, you need to be aware of the tactics used by con artists to get you to do things that will get you burned.  With that in mind, here are the top-10 scams currently being seen on Facebook.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

It Came From Outer Space

By Catherine Powell

Image courtesy Pixabay

While most insurance claims are run of the mill, some of them are over the top.  In fact, some insurance claims and policies are literally out of this world.  Before you start thinking that I've been watching too many reruns on the Syfy Channel, allow me to point out that there are many reasons why some people have chosen to be concerned with things that come from outer space.  There have also been quite a few news reports on folks who have had their property damaged by debris that originated in outer space.  To keep all my loyal readers in the loop, I decided to point out some of the incidents that have occurred, as well as some policies that have been offered to help those who are concerned with otherworldly visitors who may not have their best interest at heart.

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

10 Ways to Hack a Smart-Home

 By Catherine Powell

Image courtesy Pexels

Technology is a two-edged sword. What we consider a convenience on one hand can just as easily be turned against us the next.  Take smart-home techology.  Some people use the Internet of Things to do everything from keeping an eye on their property while they're away, to locking and unlocking the front door when they get home.  Many also use IoT to tell them when it's time to do the laundry, turn on and off lights, or buy milk.  While these space age conveniences can make life simpler, the bad news is that it can also simplify high tech thieves lives when it comes to robbing homeowners blind.  Below are ten ways a smart-home can get hacked.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Will E-bike Insurance Ruin Your Ride?

By Catherine Powell

Image courtesy Pixabay

E-bikes are all the rage.  You see them whizzing down the street or past you on the sidewalk nearly every day.  For some, the allure of electric 2-wheel locomotion is a more environmentally friendly way to commute than a gas guzzling car.  For others, it's an entree to a side gig as a courier or delivery driver.  Any way you look at it, the cost of owning and operating an e-bike is far less than any conveyance that relies on an internal combustion engine.   As an added incentive, e-bike owners don't have to register or insure their rides, as do motorcycle or gas-powered scooter owners.  Well, all that is fixing to change in the Garden State if New Jersey legislators have their way.  A new bill, if enacted, will require all owners of e-bikes to both register and insure these vehicles with the state.  While proposed as a safety measure, this legislation has some e-bike owners up in arms, particularly those whose incomes are based on e-bikes or others who simply can't afford to own and operate a gas-powered motor vehicle.

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Can AI Curb Insurance Fraud?

By Catherine Powell

Image courtesy of pix4free.org

While everyone complains about the high cost of insurance, what most people don't realize is that one of the things that causes rates to rise is insurance fraud.  Far from being a victimless crime, insurance fraud costs every policyholder.  That's because fraudsters bilk the insurance companies for hundreds of billions of dollars per year. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) recently reported staggering losses due to fraud last year that included $74.7 billion in life insurance fraud, $45 billion in property fraud, $36.3 billion in health insurance fraud, and $34 billion in workers comp fraud.  These losses in turn get passed along to each and every policyholder.  While the insurance industry spends a lot of time and money trying to combat fraud, the losses continue to mount each year.  Recent advances in artificial intelligence have brought some new tools to bear in the fight against insurance fraud that not only helps identify fraudulent claims, it can also curtail fraudulent activity.

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Can Healthcare Hacks Put Your Medical Coverage on the Critical List?

By Catherine Powell

Image courtesy Pixabay

It's hard enough to get an appointment with a doctor these days.  But that's nothing compared to the gridlock that hackers create when they breach the security of healthcare providers.  Recent cyberattacks have done everything from derailing patient drug access, to shutting down doctor's offices, hospitals and emergency rooms.  Before you wind up being denied medical care the next time you go to the doctor's office, there are a few things you need to know about the state of the healthcare system in this country.  

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Can a Reverse Mortgage Back You Into a Corner?

By Catherine Powell

Image courtesy pixfree.org

If you're a baby boomer you've no doubt heard about reverse mortgages.  These loans are routinely touted by celebrities such as Tom Selleck, Robert Wagner, and Henry Winkler.  The pitches being made by all of them explain how senior citizens with equity in their homes can cash in without having to pay monthly fees as they would if they got a home equity loan.  This can free up needed funds that can be used to help pay for living expenses, cover medical costs, or home improvements.  There's no need to repay a reverse mortgage until you move out or pass away, they say.  Better still, assets from a reverse mortgage won't interfere with your social security benefits or bump you into a higher tax bracket because funds received in this way aren't taxable.  For people living on a fixed income with limited means and possibly poor credit, the lure of easy money sounds almost too good to be true.  While for some, tapping into a reverse mortgage can be a blessing, you need to do your homework before you sign on the dotted line.  Below are ten things you need to consider before you consider a reverse mortgage.

How to Keep Facebook from Turning Into Facecrook

By Catherine Powell Image courtesy Alpha Stock Images Facebook is by far the world's most popular social network with more than 3 billio...