Is Pokemon Go Putting You in Danger of Identity Theft?
Adam Levin, cyber security expert and author of his new book Swiped shared with me on the Prudent Money Radio Show the security risks hidden in our homes and on our phones. From Smart TVs, to coffee markers, and even apps on your phone – your personal identity is at risk now more than ever by hackers. He refers to Identity Theft as the “third certainty” in life.
There are some people who feel like there’s nothing they can do at all – it’s inevitable – or that they aren’t important enough to be a victim of identity theft. Then there are the ones that think it will never happen to them. The main goal of any cyber thief is to exploit anything and everything for their gain – it has nothing to do with your net worth or assets. Having your name, address, social security number, date of birth is where the money is at; it is precious information that is sought out in the black market.
Identity Theft Protection Plan:
There is a philosophy when it comes to creating a ‘portfolio’ that protects your identity and credit. Adam Levin says you need to (1) build it, (2) nurture it, (3) manage it, and (4) protect it. Meaning – you have to be proactive. “In the world we live in, you will have an issue with identity theft.”
Part of any identity theft protection plan is a good antivirus program. I asked Adam, “How do you know which protection to choose?” Adam focused the answer around – “what do you want to protect?”. He suggests that you use the most sophisticated malware you can get. Most importantly research it on Google and read reviews.
Is Pokémon Go a Security Threat?
Pokémon go is the most downloaded iPhone app ever created and is found on 5% of all Android devices. It also serves as a good example that you need to be careful. The developers inadvertently set it up to where you give them authorization to have full access to anything in your Google account. Since the discovery, they have corrected it. However, it does serve as a good reminder to be careful. All it would take is the databases of one of these App developers to get hacked and get all of your information.
Smart TVs That Can Spy on You
TVs, appliances, HVAC, Smart Mattresses, devices to turn off and on lights and other appliance in home (ex. Amazon Echo); every single one of these gather, store and send information to the manufacturer in order to produce more effective products. Also, since all of these devices are wired to be informational logs – they can be hacked just like everything else. If the NSA can be hacked, so can your coffee marker. Plus, could your Smart TV be spying on you? Adam Levin addresses that in my interview.
The 10 Commandments of Couple Communication With Money
Everyone has heard at one time or another that money is the leading cause of divorce. I would say it another way. The inability to communicate is the leading cause of divorce. We go about it all the wrong way. We let all of the many toxic emotions of money get in the way and limit our ability to effectively communicate. So, I wanted to devote some time on the basics of communication with your spouse when it comes to money. In over two decades of counseling people, these are the things I see trip people up the most.
(1) Leave your ego at the door (lose the need to be right)
I did not originally come with this saying. I heard it many years ago and it just stuck with me. Usually if we lead with our ego, we are going to storm into the room and tell our spouse how things are going to be. Do you really think that is going to go well? If you are going to discuss money issues, don’t make it about yourself or your ego. When we lead with our ego, it is about making ourselves right and other spouse wrong. Leave your ego at the door and lose the need to be right. Arguing is nothing more than a process of determining who is right and who is wrong.
(2) Seek first to understand then be understood
This is a principle from Stephen Covey’s Book the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Said another way, listen to understand and then talk. By listening first you accomplish three things. First, you are showing complete respect to your spouse. That puts the discussion in a much better place. Plus, it helps you leave your ego at the door. Second, you are communicating to your spouse that what he/she has to say is much more important than what you have to say. Finally, by listening oftentimes you get a much clearer understanding of what the compromise or solution needs to be.
(3) Learn to trust and give the benefit of the doubt
Trust can be a tough thing to give out especially if you have been burned. However, it is critical when communicating about money. When you don’t trust, you don’t give the benefit of the doubt. You automatically assume that they did the wrong thing or that it will be just a matter of time and you react accordingly. If you reinforce that message enough times, your spouse might just say, “why am I even trying?”.
(4) His goals, her goals, our goals
One of the biggest challenges of married life is combining your individual wants and desires and your spouse’s individual wants and desires. If you don’t have goals together, you both will be going to two separate directions. Work to find what works for the both of you. There is a lot more harmony when you are both going in the same direction driven by the same family values.
(5) Don’t lead separate financial lives
This is dangerous for a number of reasons. Plain and simple – it destroys trust. There is a reason that there is secrecy. By learning to handle financial problems and money together, you become better communicators and you grow the relationship.
(6) Men, watch the condescending tone and body language.
“Stop yelling at me!”, says the wife to the husband. “I am not yelling at you,” says the husband. Then the wife says, “You are using that tone again.” Men are so guilty of doing this. You accomplish two things with that tone. First you are talking down to your wife. No one likes to be treated that way. Second, you are acting as if you are beyond making mistakes. Of course the body language magnifies the sound of the tone.
(7) Resist reacting
This is powerful. The more you get in the habit of reacting or getting angry the less your spouse is going to want to talk to you. Create a safe place to communicate. If your spouse says something to you that would normally create a reaction, take a deep breath and place a pause between what you would normally say and allow your brain to think about something constructive to say. The good news is that you can get real good at this just by practicing. Replace the angry reaction with a simple OK, let me think that through, or tell me more and we can figure this out.
(8) Make a grand plan (powered by values)
Earlier we talked about setting goals as a couple. Although important, goals not powered by values and not initiated with a grand plan to achieve them can end up being wishes. If you have not done so, sit down with your spouse and create a values inventory. Decide what you value most as a couple. It is important to make sure that your goals and values are compatible. Then create a grand plan and a strategy to accomplish it. It allows you and your spouse to create a vision for the life you both want together.
(9) Make a Monthly Finance Date
OK, this is where you might click and go to another site. Yes, I am saying that I want you to intentionally talk to your spouse about money. Make a date once a month and talk about the family finances. Talk about how the cash flow and expenses went during the month. Talk about what expenses are coming up. Put a list together of things that you want to accomplish financially. Couples just do not talk enough when it comes to money.
(10) Unless you are perfect, Show Grace!
This could be the biggest commandment of all. Practice showing Grace to your spouse when they make mistakes…..well unless you are perfect and have never screwed up before. It is easy to get on the throne of judgment when your spouse does something wrong. Instead show Grace. The good news is that you are modeling for your spouse the way you want to be treated when you screw up. In all things show Grace!
Bob Brooks is host of the Prudent Money Radio show. Bob is also a financial advisor who helps people set and achieve financial goals. For more information or to set up a phone consultation, email Judy Parrish at firstname.lastname@example.org .
So Much for American Pride – the IRS and the Olympics
First, do Olympians get paid? I bet you didn’t know that they receive $25K for gold medals, $15K for silver and $10K for bronze. Forget that whole American pride thing. The IRS wants the taxes paid on their winnings! …and it doesn’t stop there. Kiplinger’s resident tax expert Sandra Block writes about other items you might never know is taxed.
Here were some interesting ones:
- Buried Treasure
- Stolen Property
- Proceeds from Fantasy Sports
To read about the remaining surprising items, go to the article – Olympic Victories and 8 Other Surprising Things That Are Taxable