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  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 5, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    How to get your lost pet back! 

    How to get your lost dog back!

    Hopefully, you had a safe and happy Independence Day. We especially hope your pets were safe yesterday as the 4th of July fireworks are one of the leading causes of missing pets. If your pet happened to vanish during t=yesterday’s festivities you have our deepest sympathies, however, we will do what we can to help you get your fur baby back into your home.

    If your pet is tagged with your home address and phone number or have been microchipped, you’re already ahead of the game. Contact your local animal control, animal shelters, and police departments. You may even want to contact those in neighboring towns or cities just in case your pet was able to get that far. Ask your neighbors if they’ve seen your pet and also ask your mail carrier as they tend to be familiar with some of the pets on their route.

    Posting fliers around town never hurts either. Just make sure the posting is not too cluttered but be sure to include the important details. You may want to also add a note on the flier asking people to check their backyards as well. Put the fliers in mailboxes, on telephone poles and ask local businesses if you can post the fliers in their windows.

    Even the digital world can be of assistance too in helping to find your lost pet. You can post notices on classifieds sites, neighborhood sites and apps like Nextdoor, and sites and apps specifically designed for missing pets. However, this can open you up to missing pet scams where people claim to have your pets. These scammers will try to get you to send them money to deliver your pet back to you. If you take the digital route, make sure the person claiming to have found your pet sends you a picture of your pet. These scammers will try to get you to send them money to deliver your pet back to you.

    Even though the 4th of July may be over since it’s become a four day weekend this year the fireworks may continue well into Sunday night. Keep your pets inside as much as you can to better protect them from the loud noises and hopefully, you’ll be able to keep them at home.

    Below are more resources to better help assist you.

    What to do if you lose your pet
    More Tips for Finding a Lost Pet
    Clever Ways to Find Lost Pets

     
  • Geebo 8:08 am on July 3, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Air Max 1 USA, , Colin Kaepernick, Flag, Nike   

    Nike pulls shoes over Kaepernick protest! 

    Nike pulls shoes over Kaepernick protest!

    Former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick is obviously no stranger to controversy. In 2016, Kaepernick famously started kneeling during the playing of the National anthem prior to NFL games. He did this in protest of police shootings against black victims while the police involved would receive little to no punishment. Many say this is what has kept him out of the NFL since his contract expired with the 49ers. Even though Kaepernick was no longer in the NFL, he remained a spokesman for Nike shoes sparking even more controversy in a 2018 advertising campaign. While many consumers protested that campaign, Nike’s sales shot up by 31%.

    So it should really come as no surprise that Kaepernick has courted controversy once again, and again it has to deal with Nike. The shoe manufacturer recently pulled its Air Max 1 USA from store shelves after a complaint from Kaepernick. The shoes are adorned with the original American flag of the 13 colonies with 13 stars. Kaepernick asked Nike to pull the shoes since he believes that the flag represents an era of slavery in America. Not only that but more recently the flag has been taken up by some white supremacist groups.

    In response to Nike’s recall of the product, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey (R) announced he was withdrawing some of Nike’s financial incentives in his state. Considering that Ducey represents the party of the free market this can be seen as somewhat hypocritical since the market has spoken mostly in favor of Nike’s actions with Kaepernick in the past. What’s more important to the state of Arizona, the jobs that a proposed Nike plant would bring to his state or a silly squabble over an outdated flag?

     
  • Geebo 8:06 am on July 2, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , University of Chicago Medical Center   

    Did a major hospital expose medical records to Google? 

    Did a major hospital expose medical records to Google?

    Last week, The University of Chicago Medical Center and Google had a class action lawsuit filed against them. The suit contends that when the Medical Center entered into a partnership with Google it allegedly exposed hundreds of thousands of medical records to the search giant. At the heart of the lawsuit is the allegation that the medical records provided to Google contained identifiable patient information which violates the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA as it’s better known.

    According to reports, The University of Chicago Medical Center entered into this partnership with Google in order to assist with Google’s artificial intelligence researchers. The researchers are looking for a way to help doctors better diagnose patients with the help of AI. The medical records provided to Google were said to be stripped of all identifiable information which is permitted under HIPAA. However, the lawsuit claims that the dates of service the patients were seen at the medical center were contained within the medical records. The law firm that has filed the suit states that Google could easily identify a patient with just the dates they were seen because of their knowledge of their users’ search histories.

    So is this a legitimate concern or is this a frivolous lawsuit filed by a paranoid patient? While theoretically, it could be possible for Google to determine a patient’s identity through the records received and their own resources it doesn’t make sense for them to do so. Google has an incalculable number of users and many of them don’t even sign into Google when using the service for search. It also makes no financial sense as Google would not only be open to lawsuits like this but the wrath of the government as well. HIPAA violators tend to be fined very heavily and right now, the government and Google aren’t exactly on the best of terms. So until there is better evidence that Google acted maliciously, it appears that your medical records are currently safe.

     
  • Geebo 8:01 am on July 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , influencers, , ,   

    This Snapchat scam can cost you thousands! 

    This social media scam targets the young!

    When you hear the term ‘influencer’ thrown around today you’re almost certain to roll your eyes. While the term may make the person claiming to be an influencer sound vapid, it can be pretty lucrative if you’re successful at it. Depending on how many followers you have on your social media platform of choice, you could have advertisers lining up at your virtual doorstep hoping that you’ll promote their product or service. Many of these influencers have been able to turn their social media presence into a successful full-time job. However, for those just starting out, there are those who will look to take advantage of you.

    Once again, the Better Business Bureau is reporting a scam targeting young would-be influencers. The scam is said to be specifically targeting users of the photo-sharing app Snapchat. The scammer will offer a Snapchat user an advertising opportunity but will ask the user to pay for this opportunity by sending the scammers gift cards. If that wasn’t a big enough scam the scammers will then ask for the user’s login information before changing the login information essentially locking the user out of their own account. Then posing as the user, they’ll invite the user’s friends and followers to the same phony advertising offer perpetuating the cycle.

    As you’ve probably figured out by now, any time someone asks you to pay for something in gift cards, it is most definitely a scam. However, the younger social media users among us may not yet be aware of the gift card scam. If you buy any type of gift card and give the card’s ID number to a third-party, they can quickly empty that card and disappear without a trace. If you see one of your friend’s or followers on social media offering one of these bogus opportunities, their account may have already been taken over by con artists.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 28, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , r/The_Donald,   

    Is Reddit’s quarantine of r/The_Donald censorship? 

    Is Reddit's quarantine of r/The_Donald censorship?

    For those of you who may not know, Reddit is a website that calls itself ‘the front page of the internet.’ It’s essentially a repository of message boards that discuss just about every subject imaginable broken down into what they call subreddits. For example, if you were to be a pro-wrestling fan then the subreddit called SquaredCircle is said to be the premier place to discuss sports entertainment with other fans on the internet. However, as with most internet communities, with the good comes the bad.

    Reddit is also home to the largest group of supporters of President Trump. Their subreddit is known as ‘The_Donald’ and is said to be the largest subreddit on the site. This past Wednesday The_Donald was quarantined by Reddit. This means it was effectively suspended by the site. How long it will remain offline is unclear. The reason it was reportedly taken offline was that a number of the group’s members threatened violence against police.

    Some users had apparently encouraged violence against law enforcement, angry that officials in Oregon were trying to bring back GOP state senators who fled the state to avoid voting on a climate-change bill.

    This is not the first time that Reddit has had to quarantine or outright ban some of their more tasteless or controversial subreddits.

    Since President Trump was elected there has been a theory among conservatives that social media outlets have been actively censoring conservative speech and ideas. Is this another instance of conservatives allegedly being silenced? To put it bluntly, no. First off, Reddit is a privately owned company and is free to choose what language it considers objectionable. Secondly, Reddit is not a branch of the government so your First Amendment Rights are not being violated. You are free to go to any other website that may tolerate such kind of speech. Lastly, even under the First Amendment, threats are not a form of protected speech. You may have heard the phrase ‘yelling fire in a crowded theater’. It’s a lot like that.

    So maybe if the r/The_Donald’s members could have better behaved they wouldn’t have had these problems.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 27, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Is student loan debt consolidation a scam? 

    Is student loan debt consolidation a scam?

    Student loan debt has been a hot topic in public conscience for a number of years now. It doesn’t only affect the recently graduated but those who have been out of school for years as well. Many college graduates go for most of their lives just trying to pay the interest off from these loans. It’s bad enough that these graduates face mountains of debt due to predatory practices performed by the lenders but now an army of scammers are looking to capitalize on their hardship.

    You may hear these commercials on the radio, see the fliers in the mail, or see the signs along roadways promising student debt relief or consolidation. A number of these so-called services promise to get you a better interest rate or lower your payments. All you have to do is pay a nominal fee to get the ball rolling. But instead of getting a better rate, these con artists just take your fee and disappear leaving you with more debt than when you started.

    The Better Business Bureau recommends that if you’re having trouble paying back your loans that you should contact your lender directly to try to negotiate a lower payment. Also, you should never pay up front for any debt service until they give you results first. Never give a debt consolidation service power of attorney as they can use this to take over your loan and make your payments even greater. While there is no quick and easy solution to alleviating the ever-mounting student loan debt problem, keeping these tips in mind will prevent you from it becoming an even bigger problem for you.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 26, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: alternative medicine, cancer, dementia, , ,   

    Hospitals suing patients over bills and more! 

    Hospitals suing patients over bills and more!

    Today we’re bringing you some healthcare news that could not only affect your wallet but your overall well being too.

    First up is a story from NPR about a number of non-profit hospitals that are taking their patients to court for unpaid bills. In the legal sense, these hospitals do have the right to pursue unpaid medical expenses, however, the majority of people being sued are those who are already struggling to cover expenses as it is. These are the same people who usually only seek medical help if it’s absolutely necessary or life-threatening due to the financial strain of just a routine doctor visit. This practice is said to betray the spirit of many of the early hospitals in our country. Many of those hospitals were opened by churches to provide medical treatment to anyone who needed it regardless of social status. Now, some of these hospitals are just adding to the suffering of many low-income families.

    The Washington Post brings us a report about the misleading health information that can be found on many social media outlets. The article specifically talks about many of the supposed all-natural remedies that claim to cure cancer. One woman who had posted videos on her ‘cures’ later succumbed to cancer, yet her family left the videos up believing in the power of snake oil over medicine. You’ll find this on just about all social networks with claims that everything from baking soda to essential oils, to small doses of bleach, can cure cancer. They can’t. There is no cure for cancer and it can only go into remission with treatment from medical professionals. There are diets that can help fight cancer but they can’t stop cancer alone. If you want good medical advice, turn to your doctor and not social media.

    Lastly is probably the most worrying story for today. The New York Times tells us about a study that claims the use of several well-known medications could lead to dementia in older patients. The most notable of these medications are diphenhydramine, better known as Benadryl, and the antidepressant Paxil. It needs to be mentioned that the study doesn’t claim that these medications and others like them will definitely lead to dementia, however, if you’re 55 or over and take one of the medications mentioned in the study regularly, you may want to consult with your doctor about potential risks and other treatments.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 25, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: collusion, , , , ,   

    Are drug companies colluding to raise prices? 

    Are drug companies colluding to raise prices?

    Previously, we’ve discussed a lawsuit against the country’s generic drug makers by 44 state Attorney’s General. The AGs claim that the pharmaceutical companies in question are colluding to keep the prices of generic drugs at the same inflated rate. Normally, when a patent expires on a brand name drug, it allows other drug manufacturers to make the exact same drug for cheaper. However, the lawsuit states that at least 20 companies are conspiring to keep generic drug prices from being competitive.

    Yesterday, the full details of the federal lawsuit were made public and included a number of codewords that the pharmaceutical companies used in discussions between each other. For example, ‘fluff pricing’ would refer to one of the companies charging a much more exorbitant price for a particular drug to maintain an illusion of competition. Whereas ‘playing nice in the sandbox’ allegedly referred to the companies not making trouble for each other. The lawsuit even alleges that the companies have tried to cover their tracks by instituting a no email policy and that they only communicate by phone.

    Artificially inflated drug prices can also affect the facilities that carry them and the insurance carriers that try to help pay for them. However, in the end, it’s inevitably the patient who has to shoulder the brunt of the cost. If the allegations in the lawsuit are true then the people in true need of these medications become nothing more than hostages paying an ever-increasing ransom to crooked companies.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bank scam, , , smishing, , Wells Fargo   

    Text message scams are on the rise! 

    Text message scams are on the rise!

    We’ve talked about email and phone call scams before but we’re pretty sure we’ve never discussed scams that specifically target you through text messages. Well, we’re going to correct that today.

    The Better Business Bureau recently reported on an employment scam that uses text messaging to try to swindle their victims out of their money or personal information. If you’re currently looking for a new job you could potentially be at risk for this scam. If you post your resume online you could be contacted by text from someone claiming to be a reputable company looking to hire you. They’ll then either ask you to pay for supplies or try to get your banking information for direct deposit. If they say you’re hired without even having you come in for an interview, it’s more than likely a scam.

    In Knoxville, Tennessee, a woman suffering from a cancer recurrence was recently scammed for hundreds of dollars in what’s referred to as ‘smishing’. That’s short for SMS phishing. She received a text message from one of her phone contacts telling about a grant she qualifies for that would provide $50,000 for her cancer treatment. The hook was that she would have to pay $500 first. After she mailed a $500 money order out of state she received another text asking for more money. This time the scammers were asking for $5,000. Luckily, her bank made her aware that this was a scam before she lost the $5,000. Text messages can be spoofed to make it look like they’re from someone you know. If a friend or associate texts you about a too good to be true offer, call them to make sure they sent the text.

    And lastly, the Utah Division of Consumer Protection is warning about a similar smishing scam that involves the Wells Fargo Bank. The text message says that there is an urgent discrepancy in your bank account that requires your immediate attention. You’ll then be instructed to click on a link or call a phone number to correct the discrepancy. You’ll then be asked for your ATM card number, PIN, expiration date, 3-digit security code, Social Security number, billing zip code, and your last known checking account balance. If you ever receive one of these text messages from any bank do not call the number or click on the link in the text. Instead, call your bank’s verified customer service number which you can usually find on their website.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 21, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: e-scooters, electric vehicles, , , Regulus, , Tesla Model 3,   

    Teslas hacked and more electric vehicle news! 

    Teslas hacked and more electric vehicle news!

    If you’re in the market for a Tesla Model 3 and want to take advantage of its Enhanced Autopilot feature, you may want to think again. A team of cybersecurity researchers known as Regulus claims that they have been able to hack into a Tesla Model 3 and essentially take remote control of the car while on autopilot. Regulus performed this experiment in a closed location and were successfully able to cause the car to malfunction with parts that can be bought off the shelf. While it’s doubtful that these attacks will become widespread immediately, it does show that autonomous vehicles may not be ready for primetime just yet as many of its proponents claim.

    The State of New York is getting ready to pass legislation that would make electric scooters and bicycles available for rent in their state. However, it will be up to the individual municipalities to determine where the scooters can be ridden and left out for rent. What remains to be seen is how they will be embraced by residents of the Empire State. In many communities such as Seattle and Austin, Texas, many residents have found them to be a public nuisance have taken to throwing the scooters in lakes and rivers. While New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is supporting the new legislation, it will be interesting to see if scooters in the Five Boroughs end up in the Hudson River.

    Lastly, if you own an electric or hybrid vehicle and live in the state of Utah, you may be paying more out of pocket. While only 2% of vehicles in Utah are electric or a hybrid, the state is looking to make up for the loss in revenue when it comes to the highway tax that the state makes off of gasoline sales. Under a voluntary program starting in January, the state would want to charge electric and hybrid drivers 1.5 cents for every mile driven. While a tax like this seems inevitable with many drivers moving on to electric vehicles it will be interesting to see how states enforce such a tax once electric vehicles become more commonplace.

     
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