How to Avoid Losing Computer Files, Your Laptop, and Your

How to Avoid Losing Computer Files, Your Laptop, and Your PDA or Filofax : RealSim... Page 1 of 2
How to Avoid Losing Computer Files, Your Laptop, and Your
PDA or Filofax
z At least twice a week, copy all the important documents on your
computer onto another medium, such as a CD ($9 and up for 10,
Staples, or a key chain — size USB flash drive ($20
to $400, depending on storage capacity, Staples). "I say it 50 times a
day," says Karen Simon of PT Tech Associates, in Santa Monica,
California. "I had a client who was working on a million-dollar sales
deal, and his hard drive took a dive. He had no backup." And, alas, no
z If you're not good about putting your backup CDs into their jewel
cases, keep a small basket or tray near the computer to act as an
interim holding bin. Line the basket with cloth to protect the CDs. Do
the same thing near your stereo for your music CDs.
z Another option for your music: "Throw out the jewel cases
immediately and get a big CD storage book," urges international DJ
Lady Bunny, who prefers the convenience of three-ring-style binders
Alexandra Rowley
to hold her many discs ($5.50 to $55, The
largest book can hold up to 264 CDs — with room for liner notes. Best of all? "It's too big to lose,"
says Bunny.
Don't Lose Your Laptop
z Simple, foolproof rule: When you're away from home, always keep your laptop in view — even if
you think it's in a secure room.
z If that's not possible, use a cable lock to secure your laptop to a table leg or a heavy chair ($30 to
$80, for store locations). "If someone just picks up your laptop and walks
down the hall with confidence, no one's going to look twice," says Broadway stage manager Patty
Lyon, whose untraditional work space — a theater — makes laptop locks a necessity. "It's the
equivalent of the Club for your car," she says.
z Use a coded return-service tag.
Don't Lose Your PDA
z Write your name and phone number in indelible ink on a heavy-duty label and stick it in a
conspicuous place on the item. For safety's sake, use your office phone number — you don't want to
disclose any more personal info to strangers than your Filofax or Palm already has.
z Clearly write that you're offering a reward for the item's return.
z If you use a pen-and-paper Filofax, photocopy its contents at least once a year. If you use a PDA,
make sure that you do regular backups onto your computer.
Written by Erik Jackson
June/July 2004,22304,693997,00.html
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Leave Me Alone!
How to Slow the Flow of Unwanted Communications
Many people today feel overwhelmed by the volume of sales offers they receive at home. You
may not be able to completely stop the flow of telephone, fax, mail, or email solicitations, but you
can reduce it. You can avoid getting on some marketing lists in the first place. And you can take
steps to get off many of the lists you are already on.
Staying Off Marketing Lists
Do not fill out consumer surveys or marketing surveys.
Do not fill out surveys attached to product “warranty registration cards.” You do not have to
complete and return the cards to enjoy your warranty rights. Just keep a copy of the sales
Do not fill out sweepstakes entry forms.
When you give money to a charity or other group, enclose a note asking them not to share,
sell or rent your name to any other organization. Do the same when you order from a
Exercise your opt-out rights wherever you can. Your financial institutions are required to
notify you of your right to stop them from sharing your personal financial information with
outside companies.2 Read the privacy policies of Web sites. They often give you an
opportunity to opt out of receiving email ads or having your information shared with other
Telemarketing Calls
Sign up for the national Do Not Call Registry. Most telemarketers should not call your
number once it has been on the registry for three months. If one does, you can file a
complaint at the Do Not Call Web site. You can register your home or mobile phone for free.
Your registration will be effective for five years. Register by phone at 1-888-382-1222. Or
register online at
Political and charitable organizations may still call you even if you’ve signed up for the Do
Not Call Registry. If you tell them not to call you again, they are required to honor your
request. If not, you can complain to the Federal Trade Commission at the Web site above.3
1625 North Market Blvd., Suite N324 Sacramento, CA 95834 866-785-9663
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Get an unlisted and unpublished phone number. Unlisted numbers usually get fewer
unwanted calls. Or call your telephone company’s business office and ask to have your name
removed from its street address directories. Companies typically charge a monthly fee for
these services.
Watch out for do-not-call scams. They may try to steal personal information by posing as a
state do-not-call program.
For more information on reducing telemarketing calls, see Privacy Rights Clearinghouse Fact
Sheet 5 at, EPIC’s information at, and Junkbusters’ tips and sample letters at
Junk Mail
Call 888-5OPTOUT (888-567-8688) to stop most unsolicited pre-approved credit offers. Or
opt out online at This is good for five years, or you can make it
Sign up for the Direct Marketing Association’s Mail Preference Service. In three to four
months, you should receive less junk mail. This is a voluntary industry program. It will not
stop all junk mail. Sign up for free by writing to Mail Preference Service, Direct Marketing
Association, P.O. Box 643, Carmel, NY 10512. It’s good for five years. The service is also
available online at a cost of $5 at
For more information on stopping junk mail, see Privacy Rights Clearinghouse Fact Sheet 4
at or Junkbusters’ tips at
Junk Faxes
Federal law bans sending unsolicited advertisements to a fax machine without first getting the
consent of the receiver, unless the sender has an established business relationship with the
recipient. It also requires senders of fax advertisements to include a notice and contact
information informing the recipient of how to opt out of future such faxes.3
For more information on stopping junk faxes, see Junkbusters’ tips and sample letters at Also see the Federal Communications Commission's
information sheet at
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Junk E-mail (Spam)
Never respond to spam. Never buy anything advertised in spam. Protect your email address
as you would other personal information. Do not post your email address on your Web site.
Use a separate email address for newsgroups.
Sign up with the Direct Marketing Association’s e-Mail Preference Service at It’s free and it’s good for two years. This is a
voluntary industry program that will not stop all junk email.
Report spam to your Internet service provider (ISP). California law allows ISPs to sue those
who send spam from its network or to its subscribers in violation of its policy.4
Forward spam to the California Attorney General’s Office: [email protected] For more
information, see
For more tips on controlling spam, see Privacy Rights Clearinghouse Fact Sheet 20 (AntiSpam Resources) at or Junkbusters’ tips, including how to track down
spammers and sample letters, at
This fact sheet is for informational purposes and should not be construed as legal advice or as
policy of the State of California. If you want advice in a particular case, you should consult an
attorney or other expert. The fact sheet may be copied, if (1) the meaning of the copied text is not
changed or misrepresented, (2) credit is given to the California Office of Privacy Protection, and
(3) all copies are distributed free of charge.
California Civil Code Section 1793.1(a)(1) requires a warranty or product registration card to contain
a statement that failure to complete and return the card does not diminish a consumer’s warranty rights.
For text of the law, go to
For more information, see the Financial Privacy page on the Office of Privacy Protection Web site at
The federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (including the 2005 Junk Fax Prevention Act
amendments), 47 U.S. Code § 227.
California Business and Professions Code sections 17529 and following and 17538.45 regulate
“spam,” unsolicited commercial e-mail. Section 17529.5 concerns unsolicited commercial e-mails with
misleading or falsified headers or information, and includes penalties. It applies to e-mail sent to or
from a California e-mail address. It authorizes the recipient, an e-mail service provider, or the Attorney
General to bring an action for actual damages and liquidated damages of $1,000 per e-mail ad sent in
violation, up to $1 million per incident. It also authorizes attorney’s fees and costs to a prevailing
plaintiff. Section 17538.45 gives an e-mail service provider the right to sue those who send spam from
its network or to its subscribers. Service providers can get civil damages up to $25,000 per day plus
attorney fees. For the text of California and federal spam laws, see the Office of Privacy Protection’s
Privacy Laws Web page.
Use Nail Polish to Color-Code Keys :
Page 1 of 1
Use Nail Polish to Color-Code Keys
Original Purpose: Giving yourself a well-groomed look from tip to
Aha! Use: Color-coding keys. Lay keys flat and apply a thick coat of
a different shade to the top of each key.
Reward: Keys of distinction.
Ellen Silverman
Written by Melinda Page and Elizabeth Wells
May 2006
For a subscription to Real Simple magazine please call 1-800-881-1172 or go to
© 2006 Time Inc. All rights reserved,22304,1180545,00.html
Page 1 of 4
How to Order Your Free Credit Reports
One of the best ways to protect yourself from identity theft is to monitor your credit history. Now
you can do that for free. Thanks to a new federal law, consumers can get one free credit report a
year from each of the three national credit bureaus. Those bureaus are Equifax, Experian and
TransUnion.1 You can also get your reports for free from “specialty” credit bureaus. These
companies prepare reports on your employment, insurance claims, rental and other histories.
Checking your credit reports at least once a year is a good way to discover identity theft. And the
sooner identity theft is discovered, the easier it is to clear up. You can also identify errors in your
credit reports that could be raising your cost of credit.
Nationwide Consumer Reporting Agencies
The three nationwide consumer credit reporting agencies, also called credit bureaus, are Equifax,
Experian and TransUnion. They compile credit histories on consumers. Your credit history
contains information from financial institutions, utilities, landlords, insurers and others. The
credit bureaus provide information on you to potential credit granters, insurers, landlords, and
employers. You have the right to get a free copy of your credit history in several situations: 1) If a
company denies you credit or makes another adverse decision based on your credit history;
2) If you’re unemployed; 3) If you’re on welfare; and 4) If your report is inaccurate because of
fraud. And you also have the right to a free copy of your report from each of the credit bureaus
every year.
How to Order Your Free Annual Reports from Equifax, Experian and
You can order your free annual credit reports through a toll-free phone number, a Web site or by
mailing the Order Form at the end of this Information Sheet.
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P. O. Box 105281 Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
You have the option of requesting all three reports at once or staggering them. You could create a
no-cost version of a credit-monitoring service. Just order a free report from one credit bureau,
then four months later from another, and four months after that from the third bureau. That
approach won’t give you a complete picture at any one time. Not all creditors provide information
1625 North Market Blvd., Suite N324 Sacramento, CA 95834 866-785-9663
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to all the bureaus. Monitoring services from the credit bureaus cost from about $40 to over $100
per year.
How to Review Your Credit Reports
To check your reports for errors or possible signs of identity theft, look especially at three areas.
1. Look in the Personal Information or Personal Data section. Look for addresses where you’ve never lived. Make sure your name and any variations of it, your Social Security number and your employers are correct. 2. Look in the Accounts sections. Look for any accounts you didn’t open. Look for balances on your legitimate accounts that are higher than you expect. 3. Look for Inquiries or Requests for Your Credit History that you didn’t make. There are two types of inquiries. “Regular” or “hard” inquiries are the ones that result when you apply for credit or when an account is transferred to a collection agency. This is the kind
of inquiry you should check as possible identity theft or error. The other type, “promotional” or “soft” inquiries, would not be an indication of problems. This type includes pre-approved credit offers, checks for employment purposes, account monitoring by your existing creditors and your own requests for your report.
You can view sample credit reports, with the different sections explained, on the Web sites of the
three credit bureaus:,,
How to Correct Errors in Your Credit Report
If you see anything you believe is incorrect, contact the credit bureau immediately. You can call
the telephone number on the report to speak with someone at the credit bureau. If you find
evidence of identity theft, the next steps to take include contacting any creditors involved to close
fraudulent accounts and filing a police report. See Consumer Information Sheet 3, “Identity
Theft Victim Checklist,” on our Identity Theft Web page for more information on what to do.
Specialty Consumer Reporting Agencies
Specialty consumer reporting agencies prepare reports on consumers’ histories for specific
purposes. The reports cover employment, insurance claims, residential rentals, check writing, and
medical records. Think about ordering a specialty report if you are ready to buy homeowners or
automobile insurance, open a checking account, apply for private health or life insurance, or rent
a home or apartment.
Property Insurance Claim Reports: Insurance companies often check reports of this kind when
you apply for homeowner’s or automobile insurance. One of these reports is the CLUE report
(Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange).2 CLUE reports contain information on property
loss claims against homeowner’s insurance and automobile insurance policies. A CLUE report
contains personal information, such as your name, birth date, and Social Security number. It also
Page 3 of 4
contains a record of any auto or homeowner property loss claims you submitted to an insurance
company. It includes the type of loss, date of the loss, and amount paid by the insurance
company. It lists inquiries, or companies that have checked your claim history.
Another property loss report is called A-PLUS (Automated Property Loss Underwriting System).
The A-PLUS database is compiled by a smaller company and is less commonly used than the
CLUE database. You may order a CLUE report and an A-PLUS for free once every 12 months.
Tenant History Reports: Landlords sometimes check your tenant history as well as your credit
history. You may order a free copy of your tenant history report once every 12 months.
Employment History Reports: Employers sometimes check your employment history when you
apply for a job. Your current employer may also check your history. You must give your consent
for a current or prospective employer to check your history. State and federal law entitle you to a
free copy of your report if any employer requests your permission for a background check.
You can also get one free copy ever 12 months. Consider ordering an Employment History
Report if you’ve been frequently turned down when applying for jobs.
Medical Insurance Reports: Insurance companies often check with the Medical Information
Bureau (MIB) when you apply for health or life insurance as an individual (not as part of a group
plan). Insurance companies give the MIB information on their customers’ medical conditions that
the companies consider significant. A report from the MIB contains codes for specific medical
conditions and lifestyle choices. Examples include conditions like asthma and diabetes and
activities such as smoking or high-risk sports like skydiving.
A report from the MIB includes the nature of any information MIB has on you, the names of
companies that reported information on you to the MIB, and the names of the companies that
received a copy of your MIB record in the previous 12 months.
You may not be in the MIB database. If you did not apply for individual health or life insurance,
the MIB will probably have no records on you. You may order a report from the MIB for free
once every 12 months.
How to Order Your Free Annual Reports from Specialty Consumer
Reporting Agencies
All of these reports are ordered through automated telephone systems. The system will ask you
for personal information, including your Social Security number, to identify your file. In some
cases, you will be sent an order form to fill out and mail in.
CLUE Personal Property and/or Auto Report
Call ChoiceTrust: 866-312-8076
A-PLUS Loss-History Report
Call A-PLUS Consumer Report Request Line: 800-627-3487
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• WorkPlace Solutions Inc. Employment History Report
Call ChoiceTrust at 866-312-8075
• Resident Data Inc. Tenant History Report
Call ChoiceTrust at 877-448-5732
• Medical Insurance Report
Call the MIB: 866-692-6901
The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act requires each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies to
give you a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months.
CLUE, WorkPlace Solutions Inc., and Resident Data Inc. reports are issued by ChoicePoint, a Georgia
company that compiles and sells personal information. A-PLUS reports are issued by a different company,
Insurance Services Office, which also maintains a property loss database.
This fact sheet is for informational purposes and should not be construed as legal advice or as
policy of the State of California. If you want advice on a particular case, you should consult an
attorney or other expert. The fact sheet may be copied, if (1) the meaning of the copied text is not
changed or misrepresented, (2) credit is given to the California Office of Privacy Protection, and
(3) all copies are distributed free of charge.
Annual Credit Report Request Form
You have the right to get a free copy of your credit file disclosure, commonly called a credit report, once every 12 months, from each of
the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies - Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
For instant access to your free credit report, visit
For more information on obtaining your free credit report, visit or call 877-322-8228.
Use this form if you prefer to write to request your credit report from any, or all, of the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies. The
following information is required to process your request. Omission of any information may delay your request.
Once complete, fold (do not staple or tape), place into a #10 envelope, affix required postage and mail to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service P.O. Box 105281 Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.
Please use a Black or Blue Pen and write your responses in PRINTED CAPITAL LETTERS without touching the sides of the boxes like the examples listed below:
Social Security Number:
Date of Birth:
Fold Here
Fold Here
First Name
JR, SR, III, etc.
Last Name
Current Mailing Address:
House Number
Street Name
Apartment Number / Private Mailbox
For Puerto Rico Only: Print Urbanization Name
Previous Mailing Address (complete only if at current mailing address for less than two years):
House Number
Street Name
Fold Here
Fold Here
For Puerto Rico Only: Print Urbanization Name
Apartment Number / Private Mailbox
Shade Circle Like This >
Not Like This >
I want a credit report from (shade
each that you would like to
Shade here if, for security
reasons, you want your credit
report to include no more than
the last four digits of your
Social Security Number.
If additional information is needed to process your request, the consumer credit
reporting company will contact you by mail.
Your request will be processed within 15 days of receipt and then mailed to you.
Copyright 2004, Central Source LLC