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The job posting was for a personal assistant. It paid $350 a week and would involve picking up mail, dropping packages off at the post office and some shopping.

Kaya was 31, had just returned to Toronto after working overseas and was desperate to make some money, so she replied to the Craigslist posting.

“I Googled the employer,” the now 36-year-old business graduate said. “He was listed as a curator at an art gallery in Australia, but he said he lived part time in Canada.”

He sent her a cheque for $2,950 and asked that she cash it, keep $350 as payment and wire the rest to a business to purchase some furniture. She brought the cheque into her bank to deposit into her account and the teller told her everything was fine — but, of course, it wasn’t.

“A week later, the bank called and said that the cheque was fraudulent. The money was gone. That was almost everything that I had in savings,” she said. She asked that her real name be withheld to avoid being recognized by the scammer. “You feel so helpless. I was super embarrassed. I didn’t tell my parents.”

Experts warn that millennials are increasingly prime targets for money scams, including the con that took Kaya’s money. About half of the fraud victims in Canada are from Generation Y (followed by Generation X at 29 per cent, Baby Boomers at 17 per cent and the Silent Generation at 3 per cent), according to a study last year by ratings agency Equifax Inc.

“They’re new at managing their money. They all need money and people who need money are usually good victims,” cybersecurity expert Tom Keenan said.

Also, millennials suffer from optimism bias and are therefore less cautious. And while they’re the most technologically savvy cohort, they’re less savvy with privacy and with security.

Millennials are more likely than other generations to admit they share their PINs with family and friends, use their personal information such as their birthday as their PIN and share their credit card number over the phone or email, according to a survey for Capital One Canada.

“Millennials have grown up in the sharing economy so they’re just so used to sharing information about their personal lives and their details with friends and people on social media,” said Brent Reynolds, managing vice-president at Capital One Canada.

All of that sharing with less caring, and that clicking with less checking, can lead to money lost, ruined credit and identity theft.

Here are five financial scams that are particularly dangerous for millennials.

Fake job offers

Like Kaya, you may see a job posting online or on campus. It may even have the name and logo of a reputable company. But it could still be bogus. Or you may get a text to be a mystery shopper or a covert consumer where you receive a cheque to use for shopping and to evaluate products.

“For every real one, there are 10 scams,” said Keenan who teaches at the University of Calgary and wrote a book called Technocreep. (Check mysteryshop.org for legitimate companies.)

If the job asks for money to sign up or for training, run the other way. Never pay money upfront for a job, Keenan said. Be cautious of jobs that tout “work from home,” “start immediately” or “no experience required.”

Online shoppers

“Millennials are so eager to shop online … But there are plenty of sites out there that are not what they seem,” Keenan said. “You can make up a totally fake store. There are enough rogue credit card company processors that will take people’s credit cards and charge them money or they’ll now have your credit card, expiry date and maybe the (three-digit number) on the back, and that can be sold.”

To see if an online business is legitimate, Google the company for reviews, look for the lock icon in the status bar of your browser and, if available, use PayPal to checkout.

Check your account statements regularly for any errors or fraudulent activity; some credit cards have real-time notifications built into their apps to let you know when a purchase has been made. Also, request a free copy of your credit report from Equifax or Transunion once a year to monitor your activity.

Crowd-funding sources

“People have pulled off all kinds of scams,” Keenan said. “They’ve put up sob stories, said they’re dying of cancer when they’re perfectly healthy; they’ve invented wonderful products that they’re going to make.”

Look into the person soliciting funds. Stalk their social media pages. Can they be contacted? Are they listed on more than one crowdfunding site (is it a copy of another real project)? As always, if the product sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Bad behaviour scams

“It’s awful to imagine, but blackmail is alive and well at our colleges,” Keenan said. “It’s very possible someone has a photo of you and even someone who appears to be a friend or a lover could use it against you. They may even ask for money in exchange for the photos … Anything you post, you have to be happy if your grandmother sees it.”

If you’re a victim of “sextortion” (extortion involving sex-related digital images), contact police.

Being careless with technology

You download a fake app and infect your phone with malware that allows a criminal to look through your files. Or you click on a link from a co-worker and download ransomeware that locks your computer until you pay a ransom to release it.

Or you connect to a coffee shop’s free Wi-Fi and now a crook who has set up the fake hotspot or hacked the service is watching your every move.

People often let their guard down when they use smartphones.

“You’re on the train, you’re running around and … texting constantly,” said Kelley Keehn, personal finance educator and author of Protecting You and Your Money: A Guide to Avoiding Identity Theft and Frauds.

“We don’t have that spidey sense when we’re holding our dear smartphone. We’re vulnerable to these crime organizations around the world trying to defraud us every second of the day.”

Consider buying a reputable anti-virus, anti-malware program for your computers and mobile devices, and keep your software up-to-date.

 

Financial Post

Twitter.com/lisleong

Illustration by Chloe Cushman / National Post

 

Source : This article was published msn.com by Melissa Leong

Categorized in Internet Privacy

It’s no exaggeration to say that a large portion of the working class would absolutely love to work from home. No traffic, no meaningless water cooler chat, no extraneous distractions to deal with. Sounds like a dream come true.

But is there really money to be made working in your pajamas? You bet. You just have to get in the right industry, and you’ll find you can create a steady cash flow regardless of whether or not you got dressed in the morning. Some of the best paying jobs that allow you to work from home are:

1. Clinical Regulatory Affairs Director

As a regulatory affairs director, you’ll be tasked with planning, preparing, and submitting products that have been clinically tested and approved to the national and international markets. Working from home, you’ll document the trial process, as well as create the marketing documentation to accompany the product being sent for approval. Snaring a position as a work from home affairs director will also snare you a lofty $150K a year.

2. Supervisory Attorney

Not all lawyers spend their days in court. Many people with law degrees who are also members of the Bar opt to simply act as advisers to those in need of legal assistance. These attorneys may focus their efforts on other aspects of the law rather than criminal cases, such as tax or real estate law. By making themselves available through telecommunications, they can reach a far wider clientele than if they were to practice locally. You’d still need to be a member of the Bar in the state in which you plan to practice, though. Going this route would earn you around $117K per year.

3. Senior Medical Writer

Like many technical writing gigs, senior medical writers can work remotely as they review medical information and translate it into various medical documents. They also may be tasked with reviewing and editing documentation created by peers and supervisors, proofreading for typographical and factual errors. Attention to detail is an absolute must when dealing with medical writing, and you also must have a medical or science degree to your name to be considered for the job. If you’re qualified, you can end up making $110K a year as a senior medical writer.

4. Environmental Engineer

Environmental engineers aren’t necessarily homebound, but most of their paperwork can be done from anywhere they please. These engineers design and assess pollution reduction and prevention approaches and plans, and analyze the best course of action for municipalities to take. As mentioned, they will often have to work in the field while conducting research and collecting data, but they’ll be able to take the information home with them to study and report on from the comfort of their own living room. Like medical writers, environmental engineers’ salaries fall around the $110K mark.

5. Director of Quality Improvement

Regardless of the industry, all companies strive to be the best they can be. A quality improvement director works to design and develop best practices related to systems administration and data architecture. If that’s too much jargon for one sentence, basically these employees analyze what a company is doing well, and what it could improve upon, and reports back to the managers and CEO. Quality improvement directors are natural leaders who have knowledge of on-going trends regarding quality, safety, and reliability within the industry. Working remotely on quality improvement could net you $100K a year.

6. Senior Software Engineer

It shouldn’t be a surprise that computer programmers can work from their home computer. Software engineers develop and design software, maintain oversight of programs, manage development teams, and troubleshoot issues colleagues face throughout the process. Collaborating online may actually be more effective for software engineers, as they won’t have to leave their work stations to discuss progress, and can continue to work on their projects seamlessly. A talented software engineer can bring home around $100K for his contributions to a company.

7. Director of Business Development

As a director of business development, you’d be tasked with managing large sales territories and maintaining steady revenue, while simultaneously researching ways in which to increase your business reach and income. You also would collaborate with directors in other territories and develop programs in order to increase coherency throughout different areas. Directors of business development will often have to travel and make in-person sales pitches, but a majority of their work can be done remotely. Working as a director can earn you around $100K or more, depending on your success.

 

8. Research Biologist

One advantage of working from home as a biologist is you’ll never be pressured into saving a beached whale. All kidding aside, research biologists usually specialize in a specific area of biology, such as microbiology or wildlife studies. They conduct research and analyze test results, then report back to their company regarding their findings. Like environmental engineers, research biologists will sometimes have to go into the field to conduct research, but can do the rest of the work from anywhere they feel comfortable. Although not as hefty as some of the other salaries on this list, research biologists can earn around $93K a year working mostly from home.

Source: This article was published on lifehack.org by - Matt Duczeminsk

Categorized in Work from Home

One of the major causes of business failure is poor money management and/or inadequate financing. In fact, according to the NYTimes poor accounting is one of the top 5 reasons small businesses go belly up.

It’s easy to overlook something when you’re trying to keep track of expenses, send out invoices, filing taxes, doing the payroll, etc. Little mistakes start to add up overtime, and before you know it, you’re in a heap of financial trouble.

Luckily, the app explosion in recent years and the simplification of mobile testing has lead to the development of numerous money management applications and tools.

Here is an overview of some of the “must have” apps:

Wave – These handy apps have been used by more than two million users to manage bookkeeping, accounting, invoicing, and payroll. The Wave iOS app can be used to send out an unlimited number of invoices. The Android app, Receipts by Wave, helps simplify record keeping by allowing users to scan receipts and upload copies to the cloud. While the software itself is free, there is a “pay as you go” option for services such as credit card and payroll processing.

Freshbooks – This “cloud accounting” application gives freelance entrepreneurs and small-business owners a simple way to perform invoice management. It’s available in both the Apple Store and Google Play Store and comes with various pricing options, ranging from “Lite” to “Premium”. All plans are guaranteed to have 100% security and automatic backups for data.

Quickbooks – A variety of apps are available for Quickbooks small business and accounting subscribers. The company has done extensive test automation to ensure that its applications run smoothly on iPad tablets, iPhones, and Android devices. Data syncing with 400+ popular apps such as Square and Expensify (more below) is also included with the features. A vast member community and library of tutorials help users learn to use the apps and features.

Expensify – Track expenses and reimbursements for your company and employees with this useful application. Add items as you go. Pricing ranges for free to $9 a month. The free plan is ideal for startups who just need the app and up to ten “SmartScans” a month. When you or an employee SmartScans a receipt, Expensify codes and reports the expense before auto-submitting it for approval.

Digit – Being aware of your spending habits is a vital part of money management. The Digit app actually helps small business owners save money they were not even aware existed by analyzing spending patterns. It works by gathering a tiny amount of your capital and transferring it into a no-interest savings account, which can be accessed for withdrawal anytime. No fees are included, and all funds held within the Digit account are insured with FDIC up to a balance of $250,000.

EZ Financial calculators for Apple and Google Play – This app package includes every type of financial calculator any business could ever need:TVM, ROI, Currency Converter, Loan, Adjustable Rate, etc. There are literally dozens of virtual calculators programmed to help you with any financial aspects of your business.

While there are literally thousands of apps relating to money management and accounting, these are among the more useful and popular.

Author:  Michael Peggs

Source:  http://pctechmag.com/

Categorized in News & Politics

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