How to protect yourself against credit card hacks

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As per a Consumer Reports Survey carried out in 2012, 22.5% out of five thousand consumers who have received notice of a security breach have found out that they were victims of identity fraud. There are certain actions that you might take to protect yourself in case you find out that your account has been subject to a data breach.


Get a Replacement Card

If you have been informed that you are involved in a data breach, immediately demand that the company get you a new card or you would close down the account. The company should be able to meet your demand.

Daily Check Your Account Online

Finding suspicious activities and disputing them promptly is the best way to be able to solve any issue. Check your account everyday when your new card arrives for a least one month.

Freeze your credit

If you find out that you are the victim of a data breach, you can call the three main credit bureaus and request to freeze your credit report. This would ensure that nobody would have access to your report without your prior consent. In extreme cases of real breaches, you could also freeze your accounts.

Order your credit reports

As per the law, you are eligible to one free credit report each year. If you are a victim of fraud, you would probably to eligible for more regular free reports. Even if you have not been a victim yet, you might be cautious by getting reports every quarter year.

Investment tips for beginners

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finance3Investing can be an intimidating process for beginners. The following tips could be helpful to ease up the process.

  1. Choosing the right investment partner

The most crucial choice when it comes to investment revolves around which brokerage company to solicit. This is an important decision as it will impact on the amount paid in fees, the type of investments that you would be proposed and the expected returns on investment that you would get. A good long-term solution is to choose a discount broker. Choosing one that would not charge high fees and charge low commissions would be ideal. Brokers that offer mutual funds or ETFs (exchange-traded funds) without charging for a commission are perfect for beginners.

  1. Start with basic funds

Mutual funds and ETFs are great for beginners. The advantage of these funds is that they would split your investment across several stocks. This creates a buffer for risks associated with the downfall of any given individual stock. Mutual funds and ETFs are ideal if you want to learn about investment. Some target-date mutual funds offer the advantage of automatic computation of the risk level associated with your investment as you approach the goal you had set (such as your retirement, for instance).

  1. Opt for safer stocks

Safer stocks can come in the form of consumer staple products such as food, clothing and medical supplies. These stocks tend to be less volatile as even when the economy is tough, people would still be looking for buy those products. These stocks have a good long-term prospects but require patience to yield their return.

How to Fight a Dispute Over Materials

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If you know anything about construction, it’s that problems arise.

Imagine you are working on a skyscraper project and you are the structural steel expert.

A shipment of steel was supposed to arrive from Pittsburgh. Emphasis on “supposed to arrive,” because it didn’t. Turns out, the order didn’t go through, and this is the fault of the steel supplier. They are denying any fault.

Time is running out and you are facing deadlines regarding the original project. What is the best action to take?

If you attempt construction claim preparation on your own, are you prepared to sink the man hours needed to complete the claim adequately? Or maybe it’s better to wait for the next shipment of steel to arrive?

The best answer for the structural steel expert in distress is this: resolve the problem! Everything else is details, and it’s management’s goal to help resolve the problem and put everyone back to work.

Now, preparing a claim might be necessary, and it might be the best step. If anything a claim is a solid way to document that something happened that was not the structural steel expert’s fault. So, claim preparation might be a wise step. But if all this distracts you as a builder from the process of completing your other projects on time, you must also be wary of the penalties of going past a deadline.

If fines are more expensive than a lawsuit, go with the lawsuit. If the lawsuit is more expensive than taking some late fees, take some more time to work with the company that made the mistake.

Bio: Lyle Charles Consulting specializes in commercial and residential construction, and Lyle Charles is a structure steel expert and certified expert witness.


How to Solve Financial Shortfalls

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If you notice a financial shortfall after calculating your expected expenses, you might have to find solutions in order to eliminate it. Several possibilities might be presented to you and you might have to adapt your solutions as per your situation. The guide below might help you come up with ideas to raise some extra funds.

financial freedom

Reconsider your expenditures

You might wish to go through your expenditure again and to try to eliminate anything that feels unnecessary. However, there are certain expenses that you must not drop. For instance, you might feel tempted to drop your insurance coverage, but dropping them now might be turn out to be problematic in the future. And this decision might turn out to be detrimental in the future.

Review bills and find out how to save

Take a moment to review each of your bills and think about ways to reduce your expenses. You may gather around with your family to decide how you may save on groceries, clothes and other items. You might have to change some of your consumer habits.

Consider your employment

To eliminate certain financial shortfalls, you might think about working extra hours or doing a part-time activity. If your children are teens, you might encourage them to find a job to be able to earn some extra pocket money.

Start Keeping a Log

The log would help you keep track of your expenditure and find out where the money goes. It might be some expensive lunch that you tend to forget about or a habit that has become part of your routine, such as smoking. It could be useful to note these down.

Anthony Fokker: Dutch Innovator, Industrialist and Aviation Enthusiast

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By Phineas Upham

Anthony Fokker was destined to be an accomplished auto mechanic. His father sent him to technical school to learn how to repair cars in 1910, but his interest in aircraft led him to transfer. He started schooling at an institute where he could study air maintenance instead.

That same year, he designed and built his first plane. It was called “The Spider,” and it was an open monoplane. It was short-lived however, as his business partner flew it into a tree and demolished it shortly after construction was completed.

Out of the ashes came a new design, which Fokker named “Spin.” It was with “Spin” that he acquired his license to become a pilot. He used his license for a bit of publicity in 1911, when he flew his plane around the Bavokerk Tower in Haarlem.

During World War I, Germany took over operation of Fokker’s company after he demonstrated how he could assemble a plane and take off within minutes. He became chief director and designer for the German Luftstreitkrafte, building over 700 military planes. One of those planes was the infamous tri-plane flown by the Red Baron.

Although, Fokker’s intentions were never with the military for long term. He successfully smuggled hundreds of designs out of Germany after the German surrender. This led him to the United States, where he manufactured the tri-motor aircraft engine that ruled the air during the 1920s. Fokker eventually sold his plans to General Motors, which the company used to create “General Aviation Corp” in 1931.

About the Author: Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media and Telecom group. You may contact Phin on his Phineas Upham website or LinkedIn page.

Tolhurst and the New Model Army

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By Samuel Phineas Upham

Jeremiah Tolhurst a man of some importance during the 1600s. He’d held seats in the British House of Commons, cut his teeth as a sailor, and made a name for himself a businessman. He also fought in the English Civil War for the New Model Army, a controversial policing unit during the Parliamentary Civil War.

Tolhurst was born in 1615, and his father died by the time he was eight years old. By then, the boy was on his way to apprenticing as a tailor.

In his thirties, England erupted into Civil War. The War boiled down to a conflict between loyalists to the crown, and those who served Parliament. Tolhurst chose Parliament and became a a fairly adept soldier, rising to lieutenant of foot, and then captain in 1644. He joined up with the so called “New Model Army,” a group of highly trained religious zealots, who were responsible for series of police actions during the English Civil War. Tolhurst, being an officer, was not likely to have held such radical viewpoints. Instead, he was made a major and placed in charge of motivated men. During his time there, he became distinguished and either met or gained favor from Oliver Cromwell. After his time serving, he relocated to the north and acquired interests in coal and salt. He used those interests to supply Cromwell throughout the Scottish campaign. The New Model Army would splinter after Cromwell’s death, causing tension that threatened to boil over into conflict. But the army was disbanded when Charles II was coroneted.

For his service, Tolhurst took a seat in Parliament. However, Cromwell’s death led to the restoration of the monarchy and he fled to Jamaica to spend his elder years. He died just two years after serving his last position in the government.

Samuel Phineas Uphamis an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Samual Phineas Upham website or Linkedin page.

Danone: How a European Brand Came to American Markets

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By Samuel Phineas Upham

Danone company, the makers of Dannon yogurt, is a Spanish company founded in 1919. It was created by Isaac Carasso, of Jewish descent, and it consisted of a very small factory for the production of yogurt. It was named after Carasso’s son Daniel, his nickname being “Danon.”

It was quite successful during its first ten years, relocating to France and building an additional factory there. The company was moved briefly to New York during the German occupation of France in World War II, something that likely saved Carasso’s life. This was to avoid prosecution for his German heritage. It was in the US that Daniel met Joe Metzger, and the two decided to change the brand name to “Dannon.” This made the brand sound more American, as opposed to the way Americans had previously called it “Dan One Yogurt.” The move helped cement the brand stateside, where it continues to thrive to this day.

The American side of the business was sold in 1959, after Daniel decided to return to France and Spain in order to manage some family business. He later repurchased the American business, but the company had already merged with Gervais, a leading producer of cheese in France.

Danone is actually a group of companies, yogurt being just one aspect of the business. There is a thriving glass making side called “Boussois-Souchon-Neuvesel,” founded by the family of Antoine Riboud. Although the glassmaker began within that industry, it eventually became transformed into a food company through acquisitions and mergers. In 1973, it merged with Gervais Danone, officially putting glass into yogurt.

Samuel Phineas Uphamis an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Samual Phineas Upham website or Linkedin page.

The Impact of Money on the Self

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By Samuel Phineas Upham

Money has a strange effect on people. Those who launch companies that become successful, especially the young, may feel conflicted on what to do with their sudden accumulation of wealth. There may be guilt, that one person earns more than others. It’s also common to feel joyous and waste it all in a frenzy with no real sense of planning. The truly wealthy are those who exercise extreme discipline in managing their money and its impact on the self.

The Meaning Behind Money

Listen to some people and you’ll hear that money is the only thing fueling charity and museums. Others will tell you money is systemic of greed. Some will say money can help preserve nature, others say the accumulation of wealth is the directly related to the destruction of nature. That signals a deep divide in how some people perceive wealth. Those who argue that more should be given to the poor may not donate money or time themselves. This is not to say the rich are to be pitied, only that there is a disconnect between what we can do with the means we accumulate.

If wealth is the root of all evil, then wealth will remain unattainable and the world will always seem unfair and opposing. After all, only evil people get rich.

So it’s important for all of us to understand the impact that money has on the self. Be honest with your intentions on spending money and money will find a positive use.

Samuel Phineas Uphamis an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Samual Phineas Upham website or Linkedin page.

Top Reasons to Invest in Grand Cayman Real Estate

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The Cayman Islands collectively are one of the most beautiful spots on the planet. They offer the draw of sandy beaches with all of the conveniences that come with modern living. There are a few subtle differences, like buses that will pick you up in the same fashion as a cab, but the islands offer a sanctuary for working professionals and families.

Schools and Quality of Life

Cayman homes have a “best keep secret” that doesn’t involve the night life or beachfront vistas. Schools in Grand Cayman are top notch, able to rival anything stateside. Native residents are the only ones allowed to use the public Cayman Island school system, so those who come to the islands for residence enroll children in private schools. The class sizes are smaller, resources are better, and parents are generally more involved. Quality of life is also equivalent to what you might find in South Beach, Florida.

Grand Cayman has a large financial sector that fuels much of the growth tourism doesn’t handle. These professionals work hard, and they play hard. There is always something happening on Grand Cayman, from the Pirate’s Week Festival to the upcoming charity run against domestic abuse. The communities here are tightly knit, making for happier people and a safer place to raise a family.

Final Thoughts

Carribbean homes for sale also have the opportunity to make up their value as vacation homes. For Cayman Islands residents, income earned on island is tax free and it’s a popular tourist destination for those itching to avoid crowded beaches. There are no annual property taxes or capital gains tax on the sale of property. The only tax associated with the purchase of Cayman Islands real estate is a one-time stamp duty of 7.5% paid at the time of purchase.


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James Bovell, and the Dream Finders team, represent the largest real estate firm in the Cayman Islands. James Bovell specializes in the showing and selling of luxury property on one of the most beautiful island chains in the world.

How to Increase the Efficiency of a Construction Project

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Too often, the word efficiency is equated to speed. There is another definition relevant to construction. Efficiency also relates to the foot print a building will leave on its environment, so new construction projects must consider methods to make their projects more energy efficient. Construction consultants are knowledgeable in the materials and technology required to make a project compliant with today’s energy standards.


The design of your home or commercial project can take advantage of natural elements to improve the efficiency of the building as a whole. One method is to use the sun’s orientation to cool your office at strategic times of day. The natural lighting would also cut down on power bills for the building, which saves the owner money down the road.


Construction & turnaround services have to consider every aspect of the development of a project whe efficiency is at stake. Materials play an important role because they impact the environment before, during and after the project is complete. Windows should be double pane, which can remove up to 25% of energy loss. Insulation is another concern that can heavily influence a building’s energy consumption.

Consultants may also include plans for solar installations, or instructions to order energy efficient bulbs for ceiling lighting. Finding a good lighting plan that minimizes consumption is crucial, as most buildings leave their lights on all day long.


One of the last places to find savings is in the appliances you plan to use in the building. Upgrading the HVAC to a new unit, or using more energy efficient sinks and toilets will cut down on consumption.

Lyle Charles Consulting services are available now for construction mediation and claims preparation. Lyle Charles has more than forty years in the field of commercial construction projects.