With October fast approaching I thought I would re-visit a few past projects.
This post brought to you by LifeLock Facebook. All opinions are 100% mine.
This post does not have to do with crafts, cooking, or sewing, but it is a subject that I feel is very important to discuss.
Early this year one of our credit card companies called us inquiring about a large purchase at Best Buy in Michigan and the request for a new card to be sent to a new address. What? Derrick promptly told them that he did NOT make any purchases at Best Buy recently and that we lived in Ohio and not Michigan. That sick feeling, knowing you're privacy has been violated, came upon us. We worked things out with them and hoped that it was an isolated incident.
Derrick had signed up for Lifelock last year after hearing about it on the radio. He thought it might be beneficial with all of the scams that people are dealing with. Lifelock is an identity protection company that notifies you of fraud and when companies run credit checks on you.
Since the Best Buy purchases were on an existing credit card, nothing was flagged from Lifelock, but we knew it was only a matter of time since someone had hacked our information. The criminals were smart. They used credit cards that were open, but ones that we hadn't used in at least a year. No credit checks were needed so nothing was flagged. So we didn't notice things racking up as fast. When we looked into that card we noticed that there were a number of charges on that account in the past couple of days.
Fast forward 5 days...
Lifelock called and emailed us letting us know that our credit report had been run for a new account. Immediately after that notification, two more came through for two more accounts! It was getting out of hand. Derrick called them back and told them that those were NOT from us.
That was it. Lifelock took over and contacted the credit card companies and canceled the accounts. They worked things out with the financial companies and within a month or so the issues were resolved and our credit report was clean.,
If they hadn't notified us of the credit checks, we wouldn't have known about the new accounts until we were receiving bills for them. The customer service was fabulous. They started to get to know Derrick very well.
We had at least 10 new credit cards/accounts opened. Shopping sprees at Lowe's, American Eagle, Best Buy, etc. Then they'd ditch the card and open a new one, creating a whole new mess for us. We'd then alert Lifelock after they let us know that our credit had yet been run again, and they'd take it from there.
We had checking accounts opened under Derrick's name. They had his social, mother's maiden name, our home address an our account passwords. It made me sick. We had returned checks coming to our house with Derrick's "signature" signing them. It was not his signature. Again, I felt sick.
He filed a police report and filed every case away.
We went through this for months. $20,000 in fraud against Derrick's name. At this time we were also applying for a home loan. Perfect timing right? So our credit needed to stay CLEAN!
I don't know what we would have done without Lifelock. They covered us up to $1,000,000 in damage against our name. If they couldn't work it out with the financial companies, they'd pay it off. To date, not a dime has been spent to pay it off. They've resolved EACH and EVERY issue against Derrick's name.
Our credit report is clean. We have our home loan.
Is it the end? Nope. Now that his info is viral, it will never be over. We closed credit cards that we haven't used in a year and only have a couple now. We monitor those very well and Lifelock does the rest as far as new accounts.
When Lifelock approached me about discussing their services with my readers, I jumped at the opportunity. We've lived it, we are customers. Our children are signed up with them as well. Criminals use minor's social security numbers and it goes un-noticed until the child reaches 16 and goes to apply for a job. We didn't want that happen so Lifelock is monitoring all activity under our children's names.
We signed up for the whole package and let me tell you, the peace of mind that gives us is a wonderful thing.
Here are a few statistics:
Households earning $100k+/year have the highest identity fraud rate at 7.4%.
The average cost of having your identity stolen :$1,513. 11.6 million adults were victims of identity fraud in 2011 and a total of $18 billion was lost.
Social Media/Smart Phone Fraud: 6.6% of victims own smart phones. 6.8% are social media users who click on applications. 8.2% are social media users who have "checked in" using their smart phone GPS.
10.1% are LinkedIn users.
One thing that you can do right away is ask your self How hack friendly is your password? If you only have 6 characters in your password with no symbol, it only takes a hacker .000224 seconds to hack it. WOW. If you have 10 characters and 1 symbol, it takes 20 days for a professional break in. After this happened, we vamped up our passwords so much so that it took me forever to memorize them.
Become a fan of LifeLock on Facebook for more tips.
This post brought to you by Walmart. All opinions are 100% mine.
One of the fondest memories I have from working with the youth at our church was a canned food drive that we did a few years ago. We split up the girls/boys and spread through the neighborhood, asking folks if they could possibly spare a can or two to donate to the local food pantry. After 45 minutes, we had a truckload of food from our generous neighbors to bring, over 200 items, and some pretty full hearts. It never ceases to amaze me how a community can come together to do good for others. And this was on such a small scale. My thoughts go to the KATRINA victims who needed so much, and the out pouring of love and service that were administered to them through the Red Cross and groups like The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints with their yellow "Helping Hands" shirts. In a world as corrupt as this, it brings hope to see such love towards others.
In support of Hunger Action Month this September, Walmart will work with suppliers, customers, and associates nationwide to donate up to 53 million meals to Feeding America and give $2.5 million for hunger relief.
50 million Americans won't know where their next meal will come from at some point this year. That is 1 in 6. I had no idea. Through October 12, customers can generate donations for Feeding America by purchasing select products from participating food suppliers.
I buy a lot of cereals that are made by General Mills. So when I go to Walmart and find the "Fighting Hunger Together" signs or going to the "give meals" section of http://www.walmart.com/hunger I can take one product and turn it into 7 meals.
Also, participate in the Golden Spark promotion for a chance to win $50,000 for your community!
Get involved in the fight and go to http://www.walmart.com/hunger to get started! If you have a personal story of how experienced hunger or helped someone who has, I would love to hear about it. Leave a comment!
This post brought to you by Bulbs. Dig, Drop, Done.. All opinions are 100% mine.
It's fall! And a great time to plant bulbs for springtime! And not just outside either. Bulbs can grow indoors as well. They are so beautiful and bright and I'd love to try my hand at growing some soon. So I checked out Curbside Chaos and found a few fun things to share.
I've been on the site a few time and always love the helpful ideas and tips that they offer! Especially the fun family activities and projects with step by step instructions.
They recently had a $5,000 yard makeover giveaway on there and the results were amazing! Very inspiring to us since we are being challenged right now with finishing the landscaping (ok, not even finishing it, but starting from scratch from NOTHING and creating a backyard). Check out the video here.
I think if I won a giveaway like that I'd love to use it towards a nice walkway, sod, planter boxes, flowers (bulbs especially), and trees for starters. My boys want a koi pond and would probably encourage us to put one of those in as well ;)
I also checked out the Garden Guru while I was there. This is a great little tool to help you know what bulbs to plant in your neck of the woods. Climate, seasons, etc. Bulbs aren't just for gardeners, they are easy to plant and keep coming back! Oh I can't wait to move into our home and get started!
I'm dying to plant bulbs and wanted to know when the perfect time to do so would be. So I picked the area of the country that I am living in (California), chose what month I want my bulbs to bloom in (March), and they gave me some suggestions.
Here is one:
And shared the following tips:
Tips: In areas with mild winters, plant later and chill your bulbs up to 8 weeks prior to planting. Plant in a sunny or partially shaded area. Space your bulbs 2-4 inches apart.
I then decided to visit www.digdropdone.com to learn more and watch some entertaining videos about planting bulbs. I related the most with Marcy who had great tips on storing bulbs in the refrigerator and planting them in pots on the window sill in the fall.
I related the most with Marcy (NOT because she thinks she’s super Mom, but for her advice on gardening without a lot of time)who had great tips on storing bulbs in the refrigerator and planting them in pots on the window sill in the fall.
I would love to grow bulbs indoors! I also related to her busy life, being a mother, and finding ways to simplify gardening. Bulbs do that! Plant once, enjoy for years.
So be sure to visit www.digdropdone.com to learn more!
My son's birthday is a week from Christmas. So when we get his countdown as to how many days until his birthday, it is easy to add another 7 days to figure out how far away Christmas is...and folks, it is just around the corner! So exciting! I love the decorating, the sweet spirit of giving, the family time, the food, the smells, the Savior, and the time off with the kids. But along with the wonderful things about the Christmas season can come a bit of stress. And I hate that. It is not what the season is about!
In a way to ease the stress of last minute planning, I enjoy picking out special gifts for me children well before the month of December rolls around. Not the ones from Santa. They pick those when they write their letters, but the gifts from Derrick and I. Things that we've noted that they would enjoy or need as we spend time with our children throughout the year.
One thing that we've been contemplating is a .....drum roll please....trampoline.
I swore I'd never own one of those monsters, but 3 out of 4 of our kids are at perfect ages for one and our new backyard will have a perfect nook just the right size for one. Another bonus is that since we live in California, they can use it for most of the year without cold, snowy days.
Kmart is already prepping for the season of giving and to coincide with this time they are launching Kmart's Big Layaway Giveaway! Meaning there is one layaway giveaway per store per week every week from 9/9/12 through 11/17/12 . So if I choose, I could put a trampoline or other holiday gifts on free layaway and also earn other prizes.
Kmart's free layaway program is much more user-friendly and accessible to some of their competitors as you can see below:
I like that it is year around, no service fee, you can shop in one state and pick it up in another, as well as no minimum purchase price. So as the big season of giving nears, if you find yourself in need of a store with a great layaway program give Kmart a second thought!
This post brought to you by Scotts Miracle-Gro. All opinions are 100% mine.
Fall is quickly approaching and while many people feel that it is the end of the growing season, I disagree! There are so many wonderful ways to Find beauty in the Fall with vegetables to still grow as well as flowers! When we lived in Ohio, I planted mums in our flower beds. I looked forward to seeing them bloom each fall in the warm colors of orange, magenta, and ivory. I'd add a few pumpking dispersed throughout my beds and it transformed them instantly to a welcoming site for the coming season.
Our landscaping is a bit different in our new place than it was in our last home, but I'd still like to incorporate the mums into my Fall gardening. This time instead of planting them in the ground, I think I'd like to plant them in pumpkins! I've seen many images for this on pinterest and it seems very straightforward and fun!
I found the following two photos on Pinterest and plan to use them as my inspiration. I have links back to pinterest and the actual websites below.
This one is also beautiful. The flower selection and colors are stunning!
This would be a perfect project for the pumpkins that are inexpensive and looked over because of their abnormalities!
Here is how I would do it:
Cut off the top 1/3 of the pumpkin and scoop out the insides. I would also spray it with something like bleach mixed with water to keep the mold down.
I'd place my mums (or other fall foliage) pot and all inside of the pumpkin.
And use Miracle-Gro Liquafeed that feeds plants through leaves and roots and makes feeding them as easy as watering!
Inexpensive and so full of fall color!
To connect and talk with other gardeners be sure to check out the Miracle-Gro Facebook page!