Identity theft help!
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Credit Freeze Questions
The Equifax data breach is the first time I’ve felt a sense of dread over hackers stealing personal information from a company. This isn’t just about credit card numbers, names, and maybe addresses being sold on the dark web. I’ve had my credit card (and even debit card) compromised before and it’s not a huge headache to handle. This Equifax breach though, that’s all the important personal information down to Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and possibly driver’s license numbers. It’s wrapping up everything an identity thief to make your life miserable.
What is a credit freeze?
When you apply for credit – whether that’s a credit card, auto loan, mortgage, or any other kind – the lender pulls your credit report in the process to determine if you are a reliable borrower. Think of a credit freeze as the ultimate way to shut down a lender being able to pull your credit report. When a lender tries to pull a frozen credit report, the lender receives a message indicating the report is frozen. You as the rightful owner of said credit report will have a pin number that will give you the ability to temporarily thaw or permanently unfreeze your report in order to give a lender access.
A credit freeze is one of the most proactive measures you can put in place to deal with the threat of identity theft. All the necessary information for an identity takeover could be floating around or already sold right now due to the data breach. That means people could be applying for mortgages, buying cars, getting cell phone plans, and opening credit cards in your name. When that debt goes to collections – the debtors are coming a knocking on your door.
You have to keep your guard up for a long time now. Identity theft isn’t just a short-term problem. That information isn’t going to be changing, so it could be months or years before you may have your identity compromised. Be vigilant for phishing scams via email, snail mail, or the phone. Don’t give anyone information about your insurance plans, more identifying information, or bank details. Keep an eye on all your existing accounts as well. Set up any alerts available to you for bank accounts and credit cards so you can be notified of a scam charge or transfer immediately. This hack could mean they’re coming for your existing accounts, not just making new ones in your name.
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How to Defend Your Freelance Career
August 31, 2016 — I turned off my laptop, picked up my bag and left the office of my stable, career-focused job for the last time. It had taken years of groundwork and months of deliberation for me to decide it was time to take the risk and invest in myself. However, the first two months of my freelance career were quite cushy. My former employer kept me on for part-time status, even though I got to work from home, to ease the transition of me leaving. This also meant I had part of a paycheck guaranteed and still had health benefits. As of November 1, I’m 100% on my own.
Being your own boss
Entrepreneurship, a.k.a. quitting our perfectly stable traditional jobs with a steady paycheck and benefits to be our own boss, is rampant in the millennial generation. There’s even a new word for us: millennipreneurs. Those who aren’t full-time freelancers are tormented by Snapchat stories and Instagram feeds full of friends taking yoga classes midday, hopping on planes for trips whenever they please, curled up on the couch for a midday siesta and extolling the virtues of being a “digital nomad.”
It’s only been two months since I decided to be my own boss and,boy, do my social media feeds make it seem as if my life is suddenly all jet-setting and power lunches. I’ve been to Seattle, Los Angeles, San Diego, Abilene, TX, Waitsfield, VT, and Rochester, NY (twice), in the last eight weeks. Mostly, these were already planned excursions for weddings and a conference – but the sudden blitz in travel coupled with the seemingly glamorous photos on my Instagram and Snapchat left my friends and family wondering: “No, but really – what do you do?”
Finally, the best way to earn respect and explain what you do is to be transparent about freelance life. Yes, being a digital nomad is a delight, but what about when you quite literally have tens-of-thousands of dollars owed to you but bills are due today so you have to clear out your emergency savings fund to make ends meet while pending payments come in? Or how about the time you sunk hours into project, turned it in and the client completely ghosted you (and your bank account)? Or the sheer nightmare of trying to get and pay for health insurance. Or maybe it’s your realization that you just don’t enjoy having to be your own boss and want to opt-back into the traditional workforce.
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