Memorial Day Hacks and Hamburgers

Memorial Day Hacks and Hamburgers

Memorial Day is a special time of year to honor the men and women who have died while serving in the U. S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Visit History.com for more information.

Always the last Monday in May, this holiday also marks the unofficial beginning of summer fun … pool season, popsicles, and plenty of barbeques. Americans have traditionally observed Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings, and participating in parades. This year the weekend activities may still look a bit different if social distancing, but we will continue to reflect on the sacrifices our soldiers made for us while lighting up our grills. Speaking of, take a visit to Chowhound.com for some amazing tips for the most perfect hamburger ever (80/20 lean to fat ratio ground chuck always!) and clever grilling hacks. Did you know you can use a spare cooler as an insulated warmer to keep food hot and juicy right off the grill? One tip you won’t see there is a favorite of mine … folding a dollop of mayo into each burger patty for optimal juiciness before they even go on the grill. Try it. You’ll love it!

Unfortunately during this time of year crooks might pop up who feed on our gratitude. Watch out for Memorial Day scams where hackers use a patriotic or military approach when contacting service members for money. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) suggests to be on the lookout for five specific scams during this time of remembrance:

Fake military charities. Scammers will send out emails, phone calls, direct mailers and send texts using the same outreach practices as well-known legitimate nonprofits. Be wary of messages that contain words like “disabled,” “heroes,” and “warriors” and always double-check the exact name and spelling of the charity.

Fake rental properties. Scammers take out classified ads and will use photos from legitimate rental properties that promise military discounts or other incentives.

High-priced military loans. No legitimate lender will guarantee a loan as being instantly approved. Watch for ads that may also say no credit check is required. If this is the case, the loan will likely come with hidden fees as well as outrageously high interest rates.

Veteran benefit buyout plans. These plans offer an attractive cash payment in exchange for a disabled veteran’s future benefits or pension payments. The cash payment is typically only 30-40% of what the veteran is entitled to receive.

Misleading car sales. Some websites post ads that contain false discounts for those in the military. There is also an increase of ads that claim to be from soldiers who need to sell their autos quickly due to deployment.

Stay safe this weekend and please reach out to us if needed. Guard Well Identity Theft Solutions exists to provide you, your family and your employees from the damages of identity theft. We are available for you 24/7/365 at 888.966.GUARD (4827) and [email protected].

Photo courtesy Justin Casey via unsplash.com

 

Holiday Rental Scams are Not on Your Wish List

Holiday Rental Scams are Not on Your Wish List

There is expected to be over 115 million people traveling this holiday season. If you and your family are in the same boat (or plane or car or train), please be aware that holiday rental scams are abundant and there isn’t any hope that they are going away anytime soon.

If you are renting a vehicle and/or housing for the holidays, here are some important tips to keep in mind:

– A legitimate rental company will not ask you to prepay for a rental with a gift card or prepaid debit card. Research the rental company’s name along with terms such as ‘scam’ ‘reviews’ and ‘complaints.’

– Be aware that rental listings can be hijacked and fake. The contact information can be changed and the listing could be re-posted on many different sites and occasionally list properties that don’t actually exist. Search online for the actual rental location’s address along with the name of the property owner or rental company. If other ads come up for the same address, the listing has most likely been hijacked. If your request to check out the property first before agreeing to rent is met with the owner or rental company saying they are “not available” or “out of the country,” and they insist on you paying an application fee and deposit first, check around for a new place to spend the holidays.

– Do not consider paying by a payment app, such as Venmo or PayPal. Instead, pay by credit card which will give you the best protection and make it easier for you to get your money back if it is a scam.

For more information on how to keep your holidays happy and fraud-free, check out this blog.

Guard Well Identity Theft Solutions exists to provide you, your family, and your employees from the damages of identity theft. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our Member Services team immediately. We are always available for you 24/7/365 at 888.966.4827 (GUARD).

Source: AAA and Federal Trade Commission

Photo credit courtesy: Osman Rana via unsplash.com

 

 

Keeping Your Summer Vacation and Holidays Happy and Fraud-free

Keeping Your Summer Vacation and Holidays Happy and Fraud-free

Yes, it’s that wonderful time of year … enjoying the long summer days, going on vacation (FINALLY) and celebrating holidays like the 4th of July. Whatever your plans are, having time off of work, fun with friends and family, and hopefully a few days of laziness … are wonderful to look forward to. But, when we are caught up in the excitement of buying new flip-flops and sparklers, it’s important to remember that there are some other ‘things to do’ on the checklist to help keep your family and identities safe during this special time of year.

 

In addition to stopping the mail, finding that special neighbor with a green thumb to water your plants, and arranging for pet care for your fur babies, there are some pre-trip actions that you can take to help prevent identity theft from becoming a huge holiday memory. Just some small preventative measures, such as updating the operating system and antivirus software on your mobile devices, can go a long way toward fending off a few identity thieves. Below are some tips for what you can do before you leave home, as well as while you’re away and after your return.

 

Before you leave home:

– Password protect your devices and update operating systems

– Alert your bank(s) about your travel plans

– Visit your post office and put your mail on a vacation hold

– Keep the number of credit cards you travel with to a minimum and have copies of your driver’s license, medical id cards, passports and travel confirmation numbers at home in a safe place

– Turn off auto-connect Wifi and Bluetooth connections

– Consider adjusting your social media account settings so posts aren’t tagged with GPS data

 

While out of town:

– Avoid using public Wifi and even your hotel’s if at all possible

– Do not use public computers

– Keep your travel documents in a hotel safe

– Log out of websites on your smartphone and any websites if you bring a laptop or other device with you on your trip

 

Upon your return home:

– Consider changing passwords for your major accounts

– Thoroughly go through your account statements for any irregularities

– Check your credit report to make sure no new accounts were opened in your name while you were away

 

If you suspect identity theft or fraud, please contact us immediately at 888.966.GUARD (4827) or email [email protected]. Day or night, we’ve got your back and will always be open for you.

 

Photo by Raphaël Biscaldi on Unsplash