When you think of identity theft, you most likely think in terms of your credit card information being hacked or stolen, and the thief then using your card to make purchases in your name.
But identity theft can be much, much worse than that.
Many years ago, people didn't apply for social security numbers until they were about to begin a career or get a high-school job. Times have changed, and now almost everyone gets a SSN shortly after they are born.
For 15 or more years, most children's social security numbers lie dormant and unused.
And that is what makes those identification numbers so attractive to identity thieves.
For 15 or more years, an identity thief can use a child's SSN as his or her own, running up unpaid credit balances, creating a trail of being arrested, even leaving an incorrect medical history. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that over 3.5 million children's identities have been stolen and misused, and the number is growing exponentially.
What can you do to minimize the chances identity theft doesn't happen to your child? Check at least once a year with the Social Security Administration to make sure your child's SSN isn't being used. Check also with credit bureaus on a regular basis. Be especially concerned if your child begins receiving offers in the mail such as pre-approved credit cards or other financial offers. Use an identity theft protection service that monitors your child's identification as well as your own.
LegalShield's IDShield identity theft protection program offers identity theft protection for adults and children. The plan includes identity theft protection for up to eight dependent children under the age of 18 per covered couple at no additional cost.
IDShield offers these benefits and more:
To learn more about protecting your and your children's identity from identity thieves, click here to go to our LegalShield IDShield's pages, where you can read more about it, see videos explaining it, and sign up for IDShield today.
I read an article this morning by Alex Honeysett, who had recently been to a digital marketing and business-building conference in Dallas. She talks about five powerful marketing quotations she picked up there. The event was primarily for entrepreneurs, but the lessons from these quotes are applicable to all of us who market ourselves and/or our products, online or offline.
1. "Remember the heart beating behind the screen." -- Nathalie Lussier, digital strategist
It's so easy to climb up on our soapboxes (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) and issue a proclamation, a statement "for the masses."
You see it all the time, people -- especially marketers -- often seem to forget that they are trying to reach a person, maybe not every person, but certainly not a homogenous group called "customers." There may be dozens or thousands of people reading your words, but each of them is doing it one at a time. Try in your writing to reach one person, again and again. To build your community, try to connect with each person, not the demographic group.
I find it helpful to imagine one person on my lists that I know personally, and write as if I am writing to that one person. (What? You don't have any of your "real world" friends-in-the-flesh on your feeds?!) Write as if you're writing to that one person, and then follow up with that person to find out if he or she thought your post or tweet or whatever was on-target and effective. Yes, friends can get away with being highly critical. You don't have to take their advice, of course, but hearing an honest response to your work will go a long way in helping you become better at what you're doing.
2. “People don't pay to get to heaven. They pay to get out of hell.” -- Liz Dialto, founder of Wild Soul Movement
There are carrots, and there are sticks. Don't just talk about the benefits of your product or service. Talk directly to your reader about the ramifications of not having your product or service. Avoiding those ramifications are the true benefits of what you're offering.
Back in the silver age of comic books, there were drawings in the backpage advertisements selling a book about bodybuilding. These ads didn't promote getting bigger or stronger for its own sake, for health reasons. It was all about becoming tough enough so that the bully on the beach would no longer throw sand in your face and take your girl. Fear of embarrassment or of loss, of being seen as weak or uncultured or as unable to keep up with the Joneses, is a powerful motivator.
Take time in your presentation to let your customer know what they will be avoiding by buying and using your product or service.
3. “Be a co-creator with your tribe.” -- Nathalie Lussier, digital strategist
Social media lets us be "social." Advertising and marketing is no longer a one-way street. Listen to what your customers and would-be customers say. Respond. Interact. Build a friendship and a community.
4. “It’s not going to be fun. It's going to suck. Do it anyway.” -- Sarah Jenks, founder of Live More
Enjoying your work, doing what you love, is important. But that doesn't mean everything that may be required of you is going to be fun. There are a zillion things an entrepreneur or a small business owner has to do to get their business going, or to keep it going, that aren't glamorous or exciting. Handling technical issues, interviewing prospective employees, tweeting and facebooking on a regular schedule, etc... not everyone finds doing these things an exciting part of their job. But do them anywhere, or get someone else to do them for you. To steal one of the most effective marketing slogans ever: Just do it.
Which leads us to the fifth marketing quote to always keep in mind:
5. “First things first. Second things not at all.” -- Peter Drucker, management consultant and author
It's hard to be more concise than Mr. Drucker was, but I'll try: "Prioritize." If it needs to be done, do it. If it doesn't need to be done, don't do it.
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