iPad, iPad, iPad, iPhone 4

That’s the news for the week.

Apple dominated the news in many ways — launching the iPad on Saturday causing many tech fans to salivate and hug random people in Best Buy and then completing the week with a presentation on the next generation of the iPhone operating system. How can you live without an Apple product?
In finance news, the stock market is threatening to break 11,000 but can’t seem to make the last burst. That’s okay because most of America is still looking for a job, figuring out what to do with their home or mortgage, or trying to settle their credit card debt. They don’t care about the stock market, they care more about stocking their pantry.
If you have any war stories, share them. I have a friend in Alabama who has been working as a realtor and reports that finding buyers and sellers isn’t hard – it’s getting a deal to close. Evidently the lenders are still clutching their dollars being overly selective in when they give some out. It might be a good time to open a bank.


Safety of WiFi and Credit Card Purchases

As a debt settlement professional, many questions regarding credit card use arise through the course the workday.

One in particular has come up often enough, and coupled with my own home wifi network setup, and inspired a little research on my part.

How safe is it to use a credit card for an online payment while connected to a Wi-Fi network?

The first thing to address is how secure is your Wi-Fi network in general? The ideal situation after you buy your wireless router is to plug it in and change all the factory settings. If a hacker really wanted to hunt for an opening, many of the factory settings will give them half of the equation so change them and add a password to your network.

If you are in a public place, such as a coffee shop, be safe. Make sure it is a secure, password enabled network.

Second, be smart about how and where you use your credit card information. When you are shopping or banking on the internet, you want to make sure you are visiting a secure site. Typically this is through an SSL certificate and is easily determined by https: in the address (instead of http:). Many browsers also have other icons that indicate a secure webpage (i.e. a padlock) to help you acknowledge a secure page versus an insecure page.

While it is convenient to store your credit card information on the websites on which you are shopping, you are effectively spreading it around to multiple servers on the internet. Depending on where you shop, you may never experience any problem with doing this. But, keep in mind, you are relying on those webhosts to keep your information safe.

As an alternative, you can keep your card in your wallet and type the numbers anytime you want to use it. This will limit your exposure though increase the time spent on checkout.

In summary, look for encryption on the network. If you can access the internet on a new network without entering a password (a free wifi hotspot), do not use your credit card. If you are connected securely to the internet, make sure the webpage is secure by looking for HTTPS.

Enjoy and don’t spend too much. 🙂

March Comes to a Close

This week saw a lot of interesting events in business starting with the health care industry. Congress and President Obama created a long awaited reform to the health care world in America and many arguments ensued. Aside from threats to representatives, Rush Limbaugh was ordered to Costa Rica where he claimed he would move if this passed. Rush? Your move…
Debt settlements continued as American consumers continue to face unemployment and and mounting debt. Creditors are quietly making deals with consumers to gather whatever money they can.
Speaking of debt settlement, I did find this article discussing the impact of an IRA during the settlement process: http://hubpages.com/hub/How-Coastal-Credit-Solutions-Works.
Tax preparers have been quietly toiling away entering numbers in fields and explaining the results to their clients. As people realize their taxes do not go away, many choose to pursue a form of tax debt settlement such as an offer in compromise. This can be a good alternative for people with higher debt and less time left to pay it off (ie. older Americans).
The big news to end the week: Steve Jobs having coffee with Eric Schmidt in Palo Alto, CA. The iPhone vs. Android sipping java. They probably weren’t talking about the idea of buying the Golden State Warriors.

Eliminating Credit Card Debt in Texas

Recently, Caroline Crocker from Wichita Falls found herself with nearly $40,000 of credit card debt and a job where she was making 25% less than in 2007. Unfortunately, she bought her 2 bedroom home in 2006 and is just barely making her mortgage payments. She was feeding her two children by using her credit card on groceries. In general, she was living very modestly as she was looking for a new job.

Her story is not unlike many Americans’ and she needed a way to get right side up again. She contacted a debt settlement company that guided her through the process – over the course of 18 months – and they helped her negotiate the debt down to a settlement amount of $13,000. She successfully eliminated her credit card debt and is happy to use debit cards for her groceries and essentials.

Whether you live in Texas or any other state in the Union, it is highly recommended that you do your homework on any debt settlement company. Coastal Credit Solutions is accredited by the Better Business Bureau and has built their business around credit counseling first, settlement and bankruptcy second.

March Business Madness

Basketball tournament halts US businesses. Millions of workers wager their cash and spend hours filling out The Bracket in hopes of winning a few bucks. They then follow teams on secret televisions and through websites as they forget completely what they really should be doing for a living.
Toyota continues to give me topics to write about. They claim the runaway Prius was a hoax and now they have announced a recall of exactly 2 Tundra pickups. Yes, only 2 vehicles are part of this recall due to improper welds. If you have a pile of recalled vehicles, you might as well get all of them out of the way.
Apple began taking orders for its iPad handheld device with an expected delivery date to be early to mid April. Millions rushed in to be the first on their blocks to get a receipt.
Copperworks announced that it has been featured on a DIY network television show, House Crashers.
Tax debt settlements are a popular topic these days as people are thinking about how they will write a check to the US Government. The stamps can be put on credit cards, but the payments are a little harder to come by.

March Biz Buzz

South by Southwest kicks off today and the buzz is all about location updates. I’m here, now, I’m over here, where are you, should I be there too? Any software that wants to keep track of where are species is hanging out is launching or displaying its product at this music/art party.

Toyota continues to have a love affair with the news. This week we saw one of their prized Priuses speed down the freeway with a police escort to help it stop. These guys just can’t get a brake 😉 Also, their documentation is being investigated for liability. One of their former in-house counsels says there is good evidence against them. No wonder he is a “former” employee.

The Azam Law Firm in Lake Mary, Florida announced they are one of the new-age law firms that is dumping the concept of hourly billing. Instead, they look at the big picture and present clients with a flat fee for the service. This can be a great thing for those of us that like to ask our service professionals an occasional question.

Bill Gates and all of his money made the news this week. This time, it’s because he’s no longer considered the world’s richest man. He’s just number 2. I guess everyone is feeling the effects of the economy. Somehow, though, I don’t see all of us throwing singles into a salad bowl as we would for George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life. I actually may be giving him some money this weekend as I consider an update to my MS Office software.

The Health Care bill is still stuck in Congress and our man Obama is doing his best to rally the troops and get it passed. He should turn on his twitter account more often and get the masses speaking up. It makes me sick, but I can’t afford the deductible.

Copperworks of Sonoma County celebrated their TV presence in the DIY Network’s “House Crashers” show. Their zinc countertop work was featured in a wine room as part of a home remodel in Northern California. Way to go guys, let’s have a drink on you. 😉

One last thing, if you have wondered how to use Twitter to make money, here is one way: http://ad.ly/refer/2076276623

Shaky Start to March Business

Another earthquake kicked off the week on Sunday and that proved to have an impact on the world. The copper mines in Chile were shut down for a period of time and that sends ripples of high prices throughout the world.
Debt settlement firms continued to increase activity by helping people reduce their debt. Coastal Credit Solutions is one of these types of companies that has earned respect for helping people honestly and fairly.
The technology world continues to be interesting with Google, Apple and Microsoft all fighting to win the smartphone and search wars. Steve Ballmer claims that Bing will overtake Google. I would definitely switch if Steve paid me a dollar for every search I do on Bing. Or, better yet, if he gave me a dollar’s worth of Adwords on Google. 🙂
Twice verified leads continue to perform well for businesses in the financial services industries. When a caller expresses interest and they are twice verified, then the price for that lead is worth much more because the close rate will be higher.
Not wanting to miss out on the news this week, Toyota announced major sales incentives for March. This is a great time to buy a Toyota (or a GM, Ford or Chrysler) so accelerate quickly over to your nearest dealer.