Click inside for the weekly business rail, with BBB advice on gym memberships, a tip on how to avoid identity theft and more. Or check out these links:
Tip of the Week
A disproportionately high percentage of identity fraud victims live in affluent suburbs and high-density metro areas, have an advanced degree and a spouse, and are interested in politics, leisure activities such as tennis and the arts, according to data compiled by Experian.
"While identity fraud can happen to virtually anyone, anywhere, Experian's analysis of data from our Fraud Information Services group and Experian Marketing Services makes it clear that affluent suburbanites top the list as the most at-risk consumers," says Jon Jones, a senior vice president at Experian Decision Analytics which helps consumers and business detect and prevent identity fraud.
Here are several steps consumers can take to protect themselves from identity fraud:
- Do everything you can to protect your Social Security number. Never carry your Social Security card in your wallet. Never use your Social Security number and card as a substitute for other forms of identification like your driver's license or insurance number. Be particular about what businesses you share your number with; ask why they need it, if it's optional to provide or required to provide, and what might happen if you choose not to share it.
- Shred bills, receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance forms, physician and bank statements, and any other document that has identifying information on it before you throw it away. Identity thieves pick through trash and recycling bins to find personal information.
- Use complex passwords for online accounts and verify the source of any request for personal or account information before you share this information over the Internet - or by phone or even mail. Businesses with which you already have an existing account should not ask you to provide account or personally identifying information.
Joining a gym is the same as making any major purchase - you need to make an informed decision and consider some important factors before you sign on the dotted line. The BBB recommends asking the gym the following questions before signing up for a membership:
- What are the terms of any introductory offers? Gyms often use special introductory offers to lure in new members. Just make sure you understand the terms and what the price will be once the introductory period is over.
- Will my membership renew automatically? Many times people who joined a gym and didn't realize that their contract would renew automatically and that they would have to take specific steps to cancel their contract.
- How can I get out of my contract? Getting out of a gym contract isn't always as easy as getting into one, so make sure you understand what steps you would need to take to cancel your membership.
- What happens if I move? Gyms have any number of policies when it comes to how moving will affect your membership. It might depend on how far away you're moving and if they have other locations nearby.
- What happens if you go out of business? Ask the gym to explain what will happen to your money if they suddenly go out of business.
For more advice from BBB on how to be a savvy consumer, visit www.bbb.org.
According to LinkedIn, here are the most overused résumé phrases:
1. Extensive experience
6. Proven track record
7. Team player
9. Problem solver
Number to Know
97: Percent of shareholders of South African company Massmart who approved a Wal-Mart takeover. Currently there are no Wal-Marts in Africa.
According to www.appleinsider.com, the next-generation iPhones and iPads will have higher resolution than previous models.
GateHouse News Service