Risky Places to Swipe your Debit Card

Would you give a thief direct access to your checking account? No? You may be doing that, by regularly using your debit card. Debit cards may look identical to credit cards, but there's one key difference. With credit cards, users who spot fraudulent charges on their bill can simply decline the charges, and not pay the bill. On the other hand, debit cards draw money directly from your checking account, rather than from an intermediary, such as a credit card company. Because of that, even clear-cut cases of fraud, where victims are protected from liability by consumer protection laws, can cause significant hardship, says Frank Abagnale, a secure-document consultant in Washington, D.C. He cites the example of the The TJX Companies Inc.'s T.J. Maxx data breach, that exposed the payment information of thousands of customers, in 2007. The incident resulted in $150 million in fraud losses, much pulled directly from customers' bank accounts. While credit card users got their accounts straightened out, and new cards in the mail within a few days, the case created major problems for debit card holders, who waited an average of two to three months to get reimbursed, Abagnale says. While debit card fraud is always a possibility, being careful where you use it can help keep your checking account balance out of the hands of criminals.

Skimming ATMs. The idea outdoor ATMs are among the most dangerous places to use a debit card seems a little bit absurd. Some ATMs present a perfect opportunity for thieves to skim users' debit cards, says Chris McGoey, a security consultant based in Los Angeles. Skimming is the practice of capturing a bank customer's card information by running it through a machine that reads the card's magnetic strip. Those machines are often placed over the real card slots at ATMs and other card terminals. "Any transaction you do outdoors, at an open ATM, is going to be higher risk exposure," McGoey says. "If the public has access to it, someone has the ability to add skimming devices to it, position cameras on it, and position themselves in a way where they could surveil it." He says you're better off using an ATM inside a retail outlet, or other high-trafficked, well-lit place. Julie McNelley, senior analyst for Aite Group LLC, a Boston-based financial services research firm, says even the card terminals card users must swipe to get into ATM vestibules, are used as a skimming site by criminals. You can spot ATM skimmers by checking for ATM components that look beat-up or askew, she says. Stealing PINs at gas stations. Gas stations are another danger zone for debit card use. "You go to a gas station, stick your debit card in there, and you swipe it through a machine," Abagnale says. "I'm sitting across the street with a laptop and an antenna. "I put a skimmer in there, and I'm picking up all the information. "Before you even get home, I've debited your account."

5 Easy Steps to Simple Diets

Some of us find it quite difficult to hew to some certain diet and sequentially lose their fight against excess body weight. People try almost every simple diet that they discover expecting that one of them would eventually bring the results, but "simple weight loss wonder" never happens. Predictably, these people seem to skip own errors and don’t understand what actually gets in the ways of losing weight while dieting. Our brain shows an amazing ability to ignore the facts it does not want to face, so it’s easy to realize why some of us eat everything and then can claim they haven’t ate nothing but salad during the week. No doubt we can solve such kind of issues and if you are not willing to become one of those persons, then you should stick to these guides. The purpose is to make you eat a consciously, to avoid giving in to compulsions and temptations. The easiest thing to do is to get a notebook and a pen, to write down everything you eat, every little thing. Then at the evening take a look over the list and you’ll be astonished, what and how many you actually eat every day. While eating and drinking are acts that could be bypassed by rational thinking, try to make them more conscious. That means every time you reach out for a drink or snack, stop! Ask yourself: "Why am I doing this?"

Put that drink away if you’re not thirsty. Put that tasty snack back if you’re not hungry. Another important point of simple diets is never hunger yourself. It’s the biggest diet mistake. You’re not some kind of movie Supermen who has enough superpowers to starve him to death. You’ll break down before your realize to you need to eat. Absolute diet also forces your body to go into power saving, it literally limits your energy levels and depending from the existing fat. Your body doesn’t differ between diet and hunger. You body will react as if it’s in threat. That’s why you have to eat three meals every day with addition of fruit and vegetables snacks. That’s the best and the most diet. Don’t even attempt to rid off your favourite meals entirely, you will just damage your own anxiety to your diet plan. Another most important thing about simple diets is temperance, not refusal. Are you crazy about chocolate? Have a pair of chocolate bars every, for example, Wednesday. Every Wednesday buy yourself your favorite chocolate bar and savour your special treat. That’s will stop you feeling guilty for eating your favourite treat. Remember, it’s just a diet, not living in monastery. Unlike Adam and Eve you can have your forbidden food (fruit) sweet or drink every seven days or so and feel verry happy dieting.


How are you today? I have not blogged in awhile and it feels nice I must admit. I have been enjoying the warmer weather here with some rain mixed in. My favorite time of year is spring and it is inching closer here. It seems like fall lasts forever as well as Winter, but why must autumn and spring go so quickly? Anyhow, I look forward to pumpkins, apple orchards, cooler nights, crisp mornings, leaves changing colors, etc. What do you waiting for?

Why Northern Nigeria Has Fewer Entrepreneurs - 3

Even though a generally increasing sense of liberalism is sweeping young people across the world, it is yet to take roots in Northern Nigeria. Young people in the North are likely to be more of themselves when away from home: they interact, dress and talk at their personal will, but are still reluctant to do this where they feel it might invite rebuke or criticism, such as at home or in their religious societies. A second factor is that of rewarding meritocracy. In situations where young people that have been bred to believe in the power of money and connections without ever appreciating of hard work and delayed gratification, young people that start businesses rely more on family influence and connections to get ahead, rather than on their ability to do a good job, and almost never on their passions. It is all about the money. Hence, they are more likely to be in businesses that require the securing of government contracts, thereby involving themselves in the circle of corruption and waste that is prevalent in this field.

The reason why I have written this treatise is because I have struggled to understand the laidbackness of young Northerners (meaning Northern-bred, not by blood) to the issues in our society; why we rarely or never see them taking on social causes or even starting businesses whose success is not tied down to government. This is just but one reason. Others might include separation of classes, leading to the masses believing that power and wealth is to whom God gives it to, and the elites holding unto the power for generations, without using it for any social gains. One of the greatest maxims I have believed in life is: Talent is Everywhere. Opportunity is Not. Northern Nigeria is no exception to that rule. We need to explore ways in which the individualism of young men and women is discovered and they are able to add value to the society by doing what they love doing, also leaving them fulfilled. Admittedly, I do not have all the answers. This is something that should be done more at the family level, by creating the right kind of environment for these kids. However, I believe putting this out here will motivate my readers to be able to take action in their own little way.

Why Northern Nigeria Has Fewer Entrepreneurs - 2

I have defined entrepreneurship as more than just starting and running a commercial venture. For me, it means having an idea and working to implement it. That idea may be a poem, a music project, a social cause or a business idea. As long as it involves creating a new idea, not copying, and implementing the idea to bring it to reality, voila, you have an entrepreneur. An analysis of most of the new enterprises founded by young Nigerians will reveal them to be from this economic and personality class. They might come from the class of comfortable to wealthy families, yet they will describe themselves as just ordinary people working on their creative projects. To them, the money just affords them a higher platform. Matter of fact, most of their projects are not funded directly from family wealth, but from their own pockets.

Now, making a comparison between the number of creative projects in Southern Nigeria against those in the North will reveal a wide gulf. This is despite the fact that the North also has a large enough number of middle-income families to support the start of creative projects by its young family members. The answer, in my opinion, goes to the lack of individualism by these young people. For starters, the North is by far more culturally conservative than the South and Middle Belt parts. This forces kids growing in these parts to conform to the societal expectations of them, enforced by the family. As the process of discovering one’s individuality comes with great resistance even within one’s self, a conducive family environment can be a great help. Kids are then encouraged to try and fail without fear, because in the end, it is a great learning aid. But in situations where that environment is lacking, kids conform and their inner creativity is stifled. In the end, these kids play safe and do the usual things expected of them: go to school, study a ‘good’ course and get a good job. Never take risks.

Why Northern Nigeria Has Fewer Entrepreneurs - 1

I read an article on Fast Company about The Rules of The Creative Class, and combined with a discussion I had had with a friend the day before about young people creating change in Nigeria, a series of thoughts was triggered in my mind. According to Fast Company, one of the rules of the creative class is individualism. They view themselves as distinct, different and unique. They do not try to conform wholly to the rules of their societies, neither are they deviants. They are confident in the knowledge of who they are. In other words, they know which rules are worth breaking. Secondly, the creative class believe in a meritocratic system. They are mostly from the truly wealthy class, and even though they want to make money, they are not driven solely by the lure of money. They are more driven by the vision of something great.

This simply means that creative people, from those working on film and music projects to social and business entrepreneurs, emerge from families that are at the least, mid-middle class; which though not rich, are comfortable, and therefore have their needs such as food, education, etc, taken care of. But beyond that, they emerge from families where they are given the environments to explore their inner selves, either by design or accident. That is what makes them truly individualistic. Even families that do not fall into the economic class of mid-middle class but provide that kind of environment, which in this case, is mostly by accident of negligence, encourages these kids to find themselves and be truly individualistic, though at the great risk of battling the ills of growing up without parental supervision and not being blown away by peer pressures and what-not.