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They’re not you, but they’re using your credit card. They’ve also dipped into your bank account.
Identity theft can be a devastating experience. Victims may spend months or even years sorting through the disaster left in the wake of an identity thief. Educating yourself about this crime and how to protect yourself will help you avoid its damaging effects.
First, understand how identity thieves typically get their hands on someone else’s secure information. The most common methods include stealing physical documents (wallet, checkbook, credit card, bills or statements), stealing hardware (thumb drives, laptops, tablets), obtaining information via phone calls (scammers posing as legitimate professionals), and obtaining information online (email scams, hacking).
Take steps to protect your personal information from each of these methods. Keep all documents secure and never give out personal information to unverified sources. Appropriate security software can also help prevent online breaches.
Even with the proper precautions in place, you may suffer from a determined identity thief. In this case, it is important to have proper coverage. Many credit cards provide some liability relief, and homeowner’s or renter’s policies often include some limited protection for loss of cash or credit cards. However, this is not sufficient coverage if your identity is stolen.
To protect yourself from the financial loss, reputational consequences, and credit issues that can result from identity theft, look to insurance products that cover these costs. Policies vary, and can cover everything from minor assistance to major restoration services. Your coverage can provide a consumer fraud specialist or case manager, replacement of government-issued identifications, reimbursement of attorney’s fees, assistance with credit restoration, and assistance with hearings and charges related to fraud.
Extending beyond basic coverage, these restoration services can be life-changing. Consult with your insurance provider to learn what options are available for you.
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Perfect for busy back-to-school days. It’s easy to throw together, and it keeps well, so it can be made in advance for a quick dinner.Serves 41 large head broccoli, raw1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted1/2 cup cooked, crumbled bacon (optional)1 1/2 cups chopped celery1 1/2 cups halved green grapes1 bunch of spring onions, green and white parts sliced1 cup raisins3/4 cup mayonnaise3/4 cup yogurt1/4 cup sugar2 tablespoons vinegar
DirectionsBreak raw broccoli into florets and place in a large bowl. Add almonds, bacon, celery, grapes, spring onion, and raisins.
For the dressing, combine remaining ingredients and pour over broccoli mixture. Toss, and serve at room temperature.
Add rotisserie chicken, cubed ham, or canned garbanzo beans for a delicious twist!
The growing cultural interest in unearthing family histories could be good for your health. Your family’s medical history can help reveal what diseases you may be at risk for developing and help you plan a good lifestyle to prevent them.
Ailments including asthma, heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes and cancer can run in families. To determine whether these might be in your genes, research your family’s medical history. Read death certificates and medical records, if available. Pay attention to the ages of death and the causes of death. Notice whether more than one close family member has the same disease and whether family members develop diseases at a younger-than-usual age. Some combinations of diseases in the same family can also be dangerous: heart disease and diabetes, or breast and ovarian cancer.
Genes can also impact your mental health. Bipolar disease can run in families. Researchers are investigating whether depression can also be hereditary. If a close family member has or had Alzheimer’s, your risk increases. Research into the genetic links of dementia and Alzheimer’s is fairly new, but it’s important information to know.
Genetics can be a factor in non-life-threatening diseases as well. Glaucoma, for example, can run in families. If you have a family history of glaucoma, make sure you get your eyes tested regularly, including for glaucoma.
Your family history can help you determine what genetic tests you want to pursue and can help guide a strategic healthy lifestyle. You can’t change your genes, but you can control your diet and exercise.
Curious about your ancestry? Sorting out your family tree can require some tricky digging. Fortunately, resources are available to help you trace your roots. There are many online genealogy sites, although many of them charge for their services. Still, it is entirely possible to build a family tree by investing nothing more than time- and help is close at hand. Family tree software and online chat rooms can help you get started. The website My Heritage offers a family tree template at www.myheritage.com/family-tree.
Google offers a family tree template at www.ggldocfamilytree.com. You can click on YouTube for easy how-to explanations.
Once you’ve decided to dig into your roots, begin with what you know – your family. Ask questions to discover names, spellings, and birth places. Go through family albums. Visit graves and scour religious records. If a relative has done any research, use this as a starting point. Trace your ancestry lines as far back as you can, adding relevant details such as birthdays, marriages, and death dates. Here are a few tips as you work your way up the family tree.
Begin with a direct route, starting with yourself; then add your parents and grandparents, and add branches from there. A simple web search may help with details.
Search the census records. Since names and their spellings may have changed along the way, be diligent. Find your most recent ancestors on each census, and then work your way into the past.
Use documents and physical records such as naturalization papers and marriage and birth certificates. And remember, if you get stuck, you can always try a genealogy service.