Protect Yourself Against, and Mitigate Damages From, Identity Theft

We’ve all heard of it. But we all think that we’re invincible to it. Identity Theft!

What is it? It refers to the preparatory stage of acquiring and collecting someone else’s personal information for criminal purposes.

Identity theft techniques can range from unsophisticated, such as dumpster diving and mail theft, to more elaborate schemes.

If your identity is stolen, do you have a plan in place to mitigate the damages? If not, you should at least bookmark this, just in case you need it in the future.

Identity thieves are looking for the following information:
• full name
• date of birth
• Social Insurance Numbers
• full address
• mother’s maiden name
• username and password for online services
• driver’s license number
• personal identification numbers (PIN)
• credit card information (numbers, expiry dates and the last three digits printed on the signature panel)
• bank account numbers
• signature
• passport number

There are things that you can do to protect yourself from identity theft, and there are steps that you can take to minimize the damage and help bring the thief to justice.

Here are 5 things that you can do right now to protect yourself:
1. Do not sign the back of your credit cards. Instead, put ‘PHOTO ID REQUIRED.’
2. When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the ‘For’ line. Instead, just put the last four numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of the number, and anyone who might be handling your cheque as it passes through all the cheque processing channels won’t have access to it.
3. Put your work phone # on your checks instead of your home phone. If you have a PO Box, use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a PO Box, use your work address. Never have your SIN printed on your checks. (DUH!) You can add it if it is necessary. But if you have It printed, anyone can get it.
4. Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine. Do both sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel. Keep the photocopy in a safe place.
5. When you travel abroad, carry a photocopy of your passport. We’ve all heard horror stories about fraud that’s committed on us in stealing a Name, address, Social Insurance number, credit cards, etc…

If your identity does get stolen, what kind of things can you expect to have happen?

Here are just some of what they can do:
1. Access your bank accounts
2. Open new bank accounts
3. Transfer bank balances
4. Apply for loans, credit cards
5. Make purchases
6. Buy cell phone packages
7. Credit line approved by retail stores
8. Access your driving record, and change your information online

If you are a victim, here’s some critical information to act on immediately:
1. Cancel your credit cards immediately. But the key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know whom to call. Keep those where you can find them. This is why we photocopy them (see above). Call your local bank/financial institution as well.
2. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where your credit cards, etc., were stolen. This proves to credit providers you were diligent, and this is a first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one).
But here’s what is perhaps most important of all:
3. Call the nationwide credit reporting companies immediately. Ask them to put a fraud alert on your name and credit report. The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen, and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit.

Here are the numbers for two national credit bureaus:
1.) Equifax: 1-800-465-7166
2.) TransUnion Canada: 1-877-525-3823
3. Order free copies of your credit report from each of the nationwide credit reporting companies.

Have you even been a victim of identify theft? Tell us your story and maybe others can learn from what you did, or didn’t do.

Future of an IT Career

Based on who you ask, a career in IT is both bright and risky. The information technology industry is going through dramatic changes because of the consumer technology, social media, recession and cloud computing, just to name a few. These changes in the corporate world and IT industry are impacting the availability of IT jobs, required skills and salaries. Read on to find out more about it.

If you ask IT professionals, especially those who consider their profession in the IT industry as a dead end will say that the IT departments are facing a non-stop cycle of downsizing. Others things that are adding to the concerns of professionals are offshoring, and the use of the high-tech labors in the form of H-1B visa holders. This is the reason some people think that the pursuing a career in the IT sector is somewhat risky.

Aside from this, the existing professionals in the industry are also fed up with the fact that they are not appreciated for the time and effort they invest in order to get their routine work done. They have been finding it hard to maintain a balance between work and life, not to mention the fact that they are not getting the salary increments they expect.

Other the other side, some professionals are optimistic and they say things in favor of the IT industry. They agree that the industry professionals have a lot of problems to face, such as globalization, offshoring, technological changes and so on. But they still believe that it is the best time to be an IT professional. They are of the opinion that jobs in this industry and the jobs in the near future will be so lucrative that the job holders will be considered well-rounded employees. And they will be better prepared to handle other business tasks. This is because technology is making its way into all types of businesses, and there will be need for IT pros in every business.

Why pursue a career in IT

Although the problem of layoffs and outsourcing is there, the IT sectors still have some jobs that are more stable. Some employers are of the opinion that this trend is leaving towards long tenures. Moreover, large companies want their IT pros to work for them for long term because the knowledge of the IT architecture that the employees have will be hard to replace.

The importance of architecture is on the rise, and companies know the value of highly tenured employees. These companies look for ways in order to attract talented people and want to keep them for a long term. And when they hire someone, they want to make the part of their company.

If you want to pursue IT career, you should be flexible enough to adopt changes. This is way to stay ahead of the completion and achieve your goals. Keep in mind that you won’t be jobless if you are hardworking and talented. No matter what career you choose, you will be successful.

Grow Your Facebook Fans Easily

Social media is so interesting because many of the popular channels come and go. However, there are also some social media channels that have been strong since their inception and they are even stronger than ever now. Facebook is one of those. It started out in a much more limited way than it is now and it is still extremely important to grow your Facebook fans for the benefit of your business and of your brand.

The challenges of Facebook
If you have a Facebook profile and you recognize your need to grow the number of fans that you have, that is challenging enough. On the other hand, if you have created a new page (for example, a new page for your brand), it can be even more challenging. In the past, it may have seemed easier to acquire new fans pretty easily and quickly. The reason that you might have had that perception is because it was easier.

Nowadays, on the other hand, it is much more difficult. The reason for that is, simply put, the volume of your competition. The fact is that if you want to grow your fans (it is safe to assume that you are looking for top-quality, relevant fans), it will take more effort and time on your part than it would have in the past. Of course, it goes without saying that you want to engage your Facebook fans as well. At this point, you may be asking yourself how you go about accomplishing that.

Identify your target audience first: The reality is that before you can do anything, you need to identify exactly who your target audience is and what they want and need. This needs to happen even before you start to use your Facebook profile to increase your number of fans. Of course, you don’t want or need everyone who is on Facebook to be one of the members of your target audience. It is very important that you understand that you must be able to solve the issues that your target audience members are experiencing. If you can’t do that, they are not truly your target audience members.

Use the most appropriate voice: Once you have figured out exactly who are your target audience members, the next thing that you have to do is to establish a connection with them. If you don’t start to interact with your target audience members, you will not be able to establish a relationship with them. As you are probably well aware, the relationship is at the heart of your ability to succeed. When it comes to your content, you need to write with your target audience members in mind. Your content needs to resonate with your target audience. That is how you establish an emotional/human connection.

Engage with your target audience members: When you are considering how to write your content, you also need to consider your environment. In other words, you need to think about how your content will affect people once it is housed in your particular Facebook page. You will notice that some of your content works more effectively than other content. If you have posted content and you see that very few (or no) people have read it, you understand that you should not be posting that type of content because it isn’t working for you. There are several different things that you can post and you will achieve positive results. Some of them are questions (thought-provoking), interesting photos, statements in which the target audience member needs to fill in the blank, and contests in which they would like to participate.

You need to stay with it for the long-term: Although you may not need to invest a large amount of money in your Facebook efforts, that doesn’t mean that you don’t need to invest anything. Your investment is in the form of time and effort. If you wish, you can also invest money (in the form of paid advertisements); however, it is not necessary and, in many cases, you will find that you have invested money and those advertisements don’t yield anything. How frustrating is that?

Stay focused and breathe: As you are growing your fans, you must always remember to stay grounded. If you have any chance of relating to your target audience, you will only accomplish that by connecting with them as one human to another. Your ultimate goal (as is the case for everyone) is to sell your product and/or service. However, you can’t be pushy about it. You need to develop the relationship with the other person, fortify it over time, build trust and credibility, and then, eventually, the other person will probably want to buy what you are selling.

Stay committed to your schedule: People love a schedule that they can count on. That means that if you commit to posting your content twice a week on certain days and at certain times, you need to stick with that. Human beings are creatures of habit and they rely on being able to read your content when they expect it to appear online. That isn’t so much to ask (from their perspective) and it will not require a great deal of effort on your part either.

Pay attention to the analytics: Analytics and metrics are extremely important for your business because they give you a clear indication of how you are doing and how you can improve upon what you are doing. You will want to pay attention to specific things and if those things are not working or don’t seem relevant, you will need to refocus your attention elsewhere.

Conclusion
Growing your Facebook fans is very important for your professional success. As is always the case with social media, you will need to make sure that you surround yourself with relevant, top-quality connections with whom you can share a mutually beneficial relationship. If you make the appropriate online connections and you connect with those people on a human level, you can successfully grow your fans without allowing it to hurt your budget too much. However, it is important to understand that it is not enough to simply create a Facebook page and then sit back and wait for people to become fans. You will need to work it. You will then start to see the positive results that you have caused to happen.

Boost Your Business Website Traffic SEO Hacks

We all want websites that are search-engine friendly. But sometimes when you are busy it’s easy to publish a new blog post and be off to the next thing on your to do list.

Over time, this can really hurt your SEO efforts. That’s why I’ve put together this short hit list of things you can do to boost your WordPress SEO.

Schedule these tasks in your calendar to make your blog traffic soar!

1) Post New Stuff Regularly

Google has a bias towards fresh content. Part of Google’s algorithm looks at how new the content is and gives preference to more recent results. So publishing original content on a regular basis is important.

Also size matters when it comes to content. Generally longer content ranks higher than shorter content. So strive to make your post at least 500 words.

2) Create a Keywords List

If SEO is a priority, then you’ll want to develop a keyword list. This is basically a list of keywords and phrases that describes your products and services. These keywords should include words from search terms that are more likely to be used to find your offerings online.

Google has some incredible tools to make keyword research easy including Google Search, Google Suggest, Google Instant and Google Wonder Wheel.

Hint: if you want a really targeted keyword list, hire an SEO expert!

3) Install an SEO Plugin

This will allow you to set keyword-rich custom titles and Meta descriptions for your posts for search engines.

A couple of popular SEO plug-ins to consider are All in One SEO Pack and WordPress SEO by Yoast.

Again, this is something your web designer or an SEO professional can easily install for you.

4) Hand Submit to Search Engines

What good is a site if no one can find it? That’s why getting listed in Google and the other popular search engines and directories is one of the most effective ways of getting free targeted traffic to your website.

You have probably seen lots of automated submission services where you pay a small fee for them to submit your site to hundreds of search engines. These services not only won’t help – they can actually hurt you.

Almost all of these free directories never send an actual visitor to your website and getting links from them can hurt your ability to rank in the real search engines like Google and Bing.

The best practice is to manually submit your site to search engines yourself. WordPress makes this easy once you set up an account in Google, Bing and Yandex Webmaster Tools.

If unsure, just ask your webmaster or SEO Specialist to set up these accounts.

5) Add Tags to your Posts

WordPress, straight out of the box, comes ready to embrace search engines. The tags features is one of those SEO friendly features you should take advantage of.

Be sure to add relevant keyword-rich tags to every post you publish.

6) Leave Comments on Other Blogs

Start linking more to other people’s posts on their blogs and encourage them to link back to you.

One search engine factor that Google considers is backlinking. A website that has more backlinks is considered more of an authority site and gets higher rankings.

7) Block Spam Comments

When people leave comments on your blog, it counts as content to Google. So if you have a website about DIY crafts and someone leaves 5 comments about “cheap enhancement pills’ that ruins your keyword relevancy and hurts your rankings.

So blocking spam comments from posting to your blog will improve your SEO – as well as make your real blog readers happy.

8) Internal Linking

One easy way to get more traffic is to add internal links to your blog posts.

For example if you have an article on Overcoming Your Resistance to Blog Writing, then at the bottom of that article you can post links to “Other Related Articles You May Enjoy”: 4 Content Marketing Trends for Business Owners in 2017 and other related articles. WordPress SEO by Yoast does this automatically for you as you can see at the bottom of this post.

9) Use Image Alt Tags

For each image you use in your post, ensure you add the Alt tag to help them rank better in image searches. This is another excellent place to put relevant keywords.

Google has an image search function that works in pretty much the exact same way as the webpage search with keywords and relevance. So adding Alt tags helps Google find and include your images when someone does an image search.

10) Tweak Blog Post Titles

If you quickly wrote titles to your blog posts before, take time to review them first before publishing.

Your blog post titles are vitally important to your SEO rankings so compare the keywords used to your keyword list and make your blog titles more keyword rich.

11) Add Social Media Sharing Buttons

When Google sees a blog article is getting a lot of posts and shares on social media, it boosts the ranking of that blog post.

So making it easy for readers to share your posts helps others Tweet and share your great content!

12) Update Your Theme

Not all WordPress themes are SEO Friendly and the free WordPress themes may be hurting your search engine rankings because of this.

Having a premium WordPress theme ensures your content will be indexed by the search engines, since the developers have taken special time to optimize every aspect in terms of both security and SEO.

It’s smart to make sure your theme programming isn’t bloated with inefficient code that slows down page load times. We find this a lot with purchased themes and that’s why we only provide custom designed and built WordPress themes for our clients.