How to Become Wealthy

The popular belief among many people is that growing their wealth is a complicated process that requires technical knowledge that is out of their reach.  As a result, over 50% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck and 15% are consistently digging themselves further into debt.  The good news is that reversing this trend is much simpler than managing complicated financial products on Wallstreet.  According to the Free Money Finance blog, building wealth comes down to two simple equations:

Income – spending = surplus

Surplus x time = wealth

What the author is arguing is that many Americans simply spend more than what they make.  As a result, no surplus is ever gained and no wealth is accumulated over time.  However, carefully managing what you spend compared to what you make will give you a surplus that can start working for you.  With some smart and safe investing your savings can start earning you money over time.  It may not be immediately gratifying, but it can make a big difference over the long run.  Talk to your local credit union and let their advisers help you find a financial investment that works for you so that you too can become wealthy.



Beware of Gas Pump Credit Card Skimmers

Be on the look out for gas pump credit card skimmers.  Last month Oklahoma thieves gained $400,000 before they were caught.

The U.S. Attorney’s office in Muskogee, Okla. says two men indicted this month for skimming would rent a vehicle, check into a local hotel and place skimming devices on gas pumps at Murphy’s filling stations located in the parking lots of Wal-Mart retail stores. The fraud devices included a card skimmer and a fake PIN pad overlay designed to capture PINs from customers who paid at the pump with a debit card.  Read the whole article on Krebs on Security.

Here are some other articles about how to spot credit card skimmers.  Take a look at the pictures in these following articles and be informed:



Choosing and Protecting Your Online Passwords

When’s the last time you evaluated your passwords? Do you reuse the same password on multiple sites? Choosing a secure password is important. Arstechnica has some tips and tricks regarding password safety, as well as software recommendations to help you store your passwords securely.

Read the article: How Elite Security Ninjas Choose and Safeguard Their Passwords

Read the article: The secret to online safety: Lies, random characters, and a password manager



Help Protect Yourself from Phishing with Facebook Privacy Controls

When’s the last time you checked your privacy settings on Facebook? If it was more than a few months ago, you might want to check again: Facebook frequently updates how its settings work, so you may inadvertently be sharing information you’d rather keep private.

Consumer Reports has a great how to video that walks you through the Facebook Privacy Settings.  Please give it a watch and make sure your settings are how you want them.  While you are there, check out Consumer Reports free Guide to Internet security.




Top 10 Credit Score Myths

Financial news website Quizzle offers up the top 10 myths about credit scores.  Take a look and make sure you are informed on what actually affects your credit score and how you can manage it properly.  Some of them are common sense, or things you already know, but there might be a few surprises on there too.

Read the article at Quizzle.



The Best and Worst of PIN Numbers

Here’s an interesting article from back in September about PIN Numbers.  Using a database of exposed passwords as a proxy for PIN Numbers, the researcher does some statistical analysis on the most common and least common PIN Numbers.

Statistically, with 10,000 possible combinations, if passwords were uniformly randomly distributed, we would expect the top twenty passwords to account for just 0.2% of the total, not the 26.83% actually encountered in the database.

The article is filled with many interesting tidbits of number data:  The most popular PIN code of  1234  is more popular than the lowest 4,200 codes combined!

Read the article and find out what the most popular and least popular PIN Numbers are.  Note, that now that the least popular PINs have been published, bad guys will probably add these to their lists to just give them a try.

Remember to always pick good PIN Numbers for your ATM Cards.




Beware Unsolicited Phone Support Calls

While it might seem convenient that a stranger calling you on the phone claims to have discovered a problem with your computer, beware that this common phone scam is designed to trick you into paying for support you may or may not even need. If you didn’t initiate the support call in the first place, things are probably not as they seem. Even if the caller’s company name sounds familiar, it is a good idea to call them back using the vendor phone number from your own bills or records to initiate contact.

Read the Ars Tech Article



Update your Antivirus and Software to Protect Your PC

The complexity of computer viruses and malware is increasing every day. Modern exploits simultaneously target multiple vulnerabilities in various technology layers; operating system, web browser, browser add-ons, multimedia extensions and more. Common targets such as Adobe Flash and Oracle’s Java are ripe for exploitation for malicious intent. Stop ignoring those notices that a Java, Flash, Web Browser, Antivirus, or Windows Update is available, and update today. Updates frequently contain patches that close security holes that make your PC susceptible to attack. The most widespread modern computer viruses are spread by what appears to be people you trust, via email, and compromised websites; including friends accounts on popular social networks. Viruses leverage security flaws so effectively that often no user interaction is required. Antivirus software alerts are often the only way you’ll even have a clue your computer security has been compromised. Don’t be a victim, do your computer security a favor and perform your software updates today!



How Saving $2.75 a Day Can Change Your Life

Small changes can have a drastic effect.  US News Money has a neat article on how saving just $2.75 a day can have far-reaching changes on your future financial security.  Skip that fancy coffee today and read about how putting that money in the savings jar can make a big difference.

Read the article at US News.



Online Security Checklists

Not all computer security is about tin foil hats and anonymous browsing. Everyone who uses a computer has a horse in the security race. has put together 4 security checklists for Passwords, Browsers, Home Network and Public Wi-Fi running the spectrum from the bare minimum you need to do to remain secure all the way up to full tin foil hat mode.

Check out Lifehacker’s Checklists:



So You Think You’re The Victim Of Identity Theft… Now What?

“With so many purchases being made online these days — and with more people using credit cards to buy things at retail locations — it’s surprising we don’t hear about massive data breaches every day. But alas, ID theft is an all-too-frequent occurrence, so it couldn’t hurt to know in advance the steps to take to minimize the damage.

The folks at the Federal Trade Commission have created a comprehensive guide called Taking Back: What to do if your identity is stolen [here’s the PDF] that not only provides detailed information but also sample letters, forms and contact info for various private and federal agencies.”

Read the entire article from



Having a safe vacation with Social Media

It’s vacation season!  Hope you are having fun with your family out in the sun.  But remember to play it safe.  Lock up your house before you leave, and stop the mail and newspaper from being delivered and piling up.  Pretty standard, second nature things.  But also think about Social Media.  Posting that you are on vacation or out of town for an extended period of time on Facebook or Twitter broadcasts that your home is unattended.

Ars Technica has a story about a a couple in South Carolina who used Facebook vacation photos to determine when friends and acquaintances were out of town and took that opportunity to break in and rob the house.

Post your pictures and status updates after you get back.

Read the article at Ars Technica.