Asset Planning, Inc Blog

The latest from the team.

Equifax Breach... Were You Affected?

A settlement has been announced in the 2017 Equifax breach. Equifax has agreed to pay up to $700 million in compensation to the victims of this breach. If you were affected, there are three different settlement options. The 1st option is to sign up for free credit monitoring service. If you already have credit monitoring service, you can choose to be paid $125 for the value of the credit monitoring. Option 2 is to be reimbursed for any of the time you spent trying to clear up any issues that happened to your credit because of the breach. The 3rd option is to be reimbursed for any damages you incurred as a result of the breach. For the latter two options you will need to submit additional documentation to support your claim. It is really easy to check to see if you were affected by the breach and submit your claim. It took each of us in the office about 3 minutes to complete the whole process. Simply click on this link and follow the steps provided.

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Emergency Preparedness Kit

Considering the recent earthquakes we just had, we thought it was a good idea to send out a reminder about either updating or creating your home emergency kit. We know that this can be a time-consuming project and a lot of people put it off or don't don one altogether but this is something that can be a true lifesaver.

I found some really good checklists you can use as your starting pints. These checklists are not a one size fits all, so you should customize them for your family's specific needs. One of the checklists suggest updating your emergency kit each time we fall back or spring forward, I love this idea! Makes it really easy to remember.

Here are the checklists:

EEChecklist-Kits.pdf

stockpilingchecklist.pdf

The most common items that people forget to include in their kits are toilet paper and a bucket for peronal hygiene needs. Definitely two things you don't want to do without!

I was also able to find some premade kits on Amazon. I don't think that any of these kits will have everything that you need but it is an easy way to add necessary items to your kit without much work on your part.

Emergency Zone 4 Person Family Prep 72 Hour Survival Kit/Go-Bag

Rescue Guard First Aid Kit Hurricane Disaster or Earthquake Emergency Survival Bug Out Bag Supplies for Families

Mountain House Just In Case 14-Day Emergency Food Supply

Augason Farms 30-Day Emergency Food Storage Supply 29 lb 4.37 oz 8.5 Gallon Pail

 

 

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More Scam Alerts and Security Tips

We've come across a few more scams that we thought you should be aware of...

The first one is a scam where an unknown number will call you and only ring once or twice and not leave a message. Your first instinct is to call them back to see who it is. It turns out that it is a 900 number you are calling back and you get charged for the call. The phone companies are not reversing the charges for these calls so be weary on calling back unusual numbers. My thought is if it's important whoever is calling you will leave a message.

Next, a client alerted us to a company that is offering free cell phones to seniors with low income. They ask for all your personal information such as social security numbers, drivers license numbers, etc. There are some legit companies out there that do offer these programs but there are also scammers out there trying to steal identities. Before giving out your personal information be sure to do your research on the company or person who you're dealing with. You don't want your information getting in the wrong hands.

Lastly, stay vigilant with people calling or emailing you and asking for your personal information. Legitimate companies will never call or email you to get passwords or social security numbers. One way to tell in an email is by looking at the grammar. More times than not on a scam email the grammar will be wrong. Also, NEVER click on a link sent to you in an email from someone you don't recognize. If you are in doubt about whether a request for information is legitimate or not, always call the company back on a number that you have looked up yourself, so you know that you're actually calling the right place.

If you have any scams that you would like to tell us about, so we can alert our clients, please email me at melani@assetplanninginc.com

We hope you all have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend!

Melani

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Spam Calls

In an earlier blog post, we told you about an app called NomoRobo that blocks unwanted robotic and spam phone calls. I've been paying a monthly fee of $1.99 and it has been totally worth it. I just learned however, that cell phone carriers offer this service for free. For AT&T subscriber's, you can download an app called AT&T Call Protect. Verizon's app is called Verizon Call Filter and for T-Mobile customers there is no app. You just need to turn on the Scam ID and Scam Block Service.

Even though I feel like paying for NomoRobo has saved me from getting all of those annoying unwanted calls, I'm definitely going to try the service from my provider. Why pay for something if you can get it for free? Hopefully this helps some of you who didn't know about these blocking tools from getting unwanted phone calls.

Have a great weekend!

Melani

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54 Hits

Wishing you a Happy Easter and Happy Passover!

Easter and Passover 2019.

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105 Hits

FSA Eligible Items on Amazon

There is now a whole section of Flexible Spending Account eligible items available on Amazon. In case you don't know what an FSA is, it is an account that you put pre-tax money into that you use to pay out-of-pocket health care costs with. The limit per person each year is $2,650 and most plans require that you use up that amount each year. Even though there is a limit of $2,650 a year you are not required to contribute that much. You can estimate what you think you spend per year and only contribute that amount. People use their FSA accounts to pay for copays, deductibles and prescriptions but there is a lot of over the counter products that meet the eligibility requirements ranging from blood pressure testers all the way to sunscreen and lotion.

Most of the time FSA owners will pay for these out of pocket expenses and then submit a claim form to be reimbursed but there is another option. You can now request a debit card for your FSA and pay directly for these expenses using that card. If you would like to order from Amazon, you would enter your FSA credit card information and select that card as your form of payment. When I was looking on Amazon I simply searched for FSA eligible items and was amazed at all of the products that were available and that I would be able to use for my family on a daily basis. This is a great way to use up the funds in your FSA account.

If you do not have a Flexible Spending Account, it may be something to look into. Not all employers offer them, but it doesn't hurt to ask your human resources department. Remember whatever you do contribute will reduce your taxable income because the contributions are made pre-tax. It's really a great way to pay for your out-of-pocket health care costs.

When googling FSA eligible products, I noticed that there were a lot of other stores that offer them as well. I just love the convenience and delivery options of Amazon, especially if you're a Prime member.

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Internet Security

Padlock

When browsing the internet and logging into certain sites, it's become almost habit to look for the little green padlock to make sure that you are entering a secure website. well, unfortunately a lot of phishing sites have started using the green padlock as well to try to fool the average user. These phishing sites try to copy a legitimate site, pose as an online retailer or other trusted site. Their goal is for you to trust them and enter your personal information, so it can be sold on the dark web and used for identity theft. It's important to always remember to look for the https:// displayed in front of the web address. The padlock by itself means nothing.

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Earthquake App for L.A. County

Check out the new earthquake app called ShakeAlertLA. This new app gives you an alert 20 seconds before an earthquake hits in L.A. County.

The app doesn't predict earthquakes, but it does know when an earthquake happens and when it's on its way to you and every second counts!

The app is available to Apple and Android users.

Here are a couple images of what the alerts look like.

ShakeAlertLA

 

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112 Hits

Happy Holidays!

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Christmas 2018 Blog Photo

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Jury Scam in Orange County

Apparently there is a new scam going around in Orange County. Imposters are calling and claiming that they are from the Orange County Superior Court. They are claiming that you will be facing prosecution for missing jury duty and attempt to obtain your social security number. Read here for more details

The bottom line is, never ever under any circumstances give out any of your personal information such as social security number, birth date etc. to anyone who is calling you that you do not recognize. No reputable company is going to call you out of the blue to ask you for this information. Scammers will stop at nothing to get this valuable information from you so be vigilent in protecting it.

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