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Food for Thought..

(An Open Letter to the Banks)

Dear Sirs,
In view of what seems to be happening internationally with banks at the moment, I was wondering if you could advise me correctly:  If one of my checks is returned marked "insufficient funds," how do I know whether that refers to me or to you?

ACCESS Guard My Credit File News
Evaluating Privacy Software - Privacy Eraser
In The News

November 30, 2022 - It has been quite some time since we've evaluated any privacy software. So we're going to start looking at the currently available options for Windows users. We're starting with a program called Privacy Eraser.

Scammers Are Targeting Veterans Benefits
Fraud Alerts

November 27, 2022 - The FTC is warning veterans and their families that scammers are actively targeting veterans. Specifically, they are offering to help veterans file for their benefits and charging fees for doing so. This trend has recently picked up because of the recent passage of the PACT act, a law which expanded veterans benefits for those who were exposed to toxic substances emanating from burn pits.

Consumer Debt Rising Just Like in 2008
Personal Finances

November 26, 2022 - It appears that history is repeating itself. Credit markets started to have difficulty in the summer of 2007. Over the next few months consumers ran up a huge amount of debt. They didn't do this because they wanted to. They did it to make ends meet when their incomes were dropping and their jobs going away. By the end of 2008, financial markets were in chaos. Ultimately, the housing market collapsed, taking banks and brokerage houses with it. Now, 14 years later, we're seeing the same kind of behavior we saw back then. And the outcome of this is likely to be very similar.

Massachusetts Illegally Installed Tracking Software on Cell Phones During COVID Lockdowns
In The News

November 22, 2022 - The State of Massachusetts, in partnership with Google, was installing contact tracing software on Android cell phones during the COVID pandemic. The installations were done without the phone users' permission and without their knowledge. That's what's alleged in a law suit against Google and the state's Department of Public Health (DPH) that was filed in federal court earlier this month.

Consumers Aren't Purchasing the Way They Used To
In The News

November 18, 2022 - If you think that consumers haven't changed their purchasing habits over the past few months, think again. All you have to do is look at traffic at the Port of Los Angeles; the nation's busiest shipping port. During the COVID lockdowns, there were long lines of trucks trying to get into and out of the port and there were ships stuck off the coast trying to get into it to unload. But all of that has changed. According to a statement by the head of the port, October was the slowest month since 2009; at the height of the Great Recession.

The Layoffs that Washington Wants to Ignore
Federal Issues

November 10, 2022 - Last week, when asked about the economy, Joe Biden said that it's "strong as he@!." But the data don't support that assertion. Even with todays CPI report, inflation is still running at near 8% and wages are failing to keep up. Credit card debt is rising nationally because people are using their credit cards just to make ends meet. And then there are the layoffs that have been occurring, and which Washington insiders and the mainstream media seem to be ignoring. How long can that go on?

Is a National Digital ID on the Horizon for Americans?
Federal Issues

October 30, 2022 - Anyone who is more than 25 years old probably remembers something about the debate over the Real ID Act. As it was originally envisioned, it would have established a national ID that would have been mandatory and implemented through driver's licenses. There was a lot of pushback from Americans. When implemented, the law got watered down a bit and some states allow people to get driver's licenses which are not Real ID compliant today. But those licenses won't allow you to board a plane or enter a federal office building. If you have a noncompliant license, you'll need a passport for that. Now Congress is looking at implementing a digital national ID. And the pushback on that idea needs to be a lot more fierce.

Social Credit Scores Are Being Used in the United States to Manipulate Voters
In The News

October 29, 2022 - You may have read about social credit scores. They are currently being used by the Chinese Communist Party to monitor the activities of Chinese citizens. If you have a bad score, you may be excluded from things like banking or traveling; even within the borders of China. But if you are a good little communist, you're free to live your life as you see fit. While the US government hasn't implemented such a system here (that we know of, anyway), the same can't be said for actors in the private-sector. And if you live in the United States, there are three things to know about these scores. The first thing is that you have one. The second thing is that it was assembled without your permission by violating your privacy. And the third thing is that it is being used to manipulate you.

IRS Announces Increased Contribution Limits for 401K Plans Due to Inflation
Federal Issues

October 24, 2022 - Every year, the IRS announces new contribution limits for 401k savings plans for 2023. These are plans that are employer-sponsored and which employees can choose to contribute to for their retirement. In most cases they involve some sort of matching contribution from the employer. The annual increase is based on the rate of inflation. And this year, the high rate of inflation has forced the IRS to increase contribution amount by a record number.

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12/07/2022 08:46:13