Fraud Alert, Freeze, or Lock after Equifax

The Equifax data breach was made public in September 2017. Unlike other breaches, this one is major and still in the news. We made some recommendations back then. Here are some more from the FTC.

After the Equifax breach, your customers, clients, and employees may be coming to you with questions. Some people are considering placing a fraud alert on their credit file. Others are thinking about freezing or locking their credit files to help prevent identity thieves from opening new accounts in their name. Here are some FAQs to help you help them think through their options.

Fraud Alert

  • What is it? A fraud alert requires companies to verify your identity before extending new credit. Usually that means calling you to check if you’re really trying to open a new account.
  • How does it work? The process is easy – you contact any one of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion) and that one must notify the other two.
  • How long does it last? An initial fraud alerts last 90 days. After 90 days, you can renew your alert for an additional 90 days, as many times as you want. Military who deploy can get an active duty alert that lasts one year, renewable for the period of deployment. Identity theft victims (whose information has been misused, not just exposed in a breach) are entitled to an extended fraud alert, which lasts seven years.
  • How much does it cost? Fraud alerts are free.
  • Is this for me? With a fraud alert, you keep access to your credit and federal law protects you. But an initial fraud alert lasts only 90 days and then you’ll need to remind yourself to renew it every 90 days.

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Other Types of Advertising to Consider

 

 

Advertising can be a powerful way to deal with marketing challenges such as low brand awareness, a declining customer base or heavy competition. Or perhaps you simply have a desire to drive more foot traffic to your business and think advertising can help.

Most of us couldn’t afford a 30-second national TV ad during a big championship game. Luckily, there are many more affordable and cost effective techniques available if you choose wisely. Here are 7 types of advertising that needn’t cost a lot, and can fit within a small business budget:

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A Sad Farewell to The Computing Center’s First Client

 By Larry Baum

 

This past Saturday The Computing Center said a sad farewell to our first paying client.

Our dear friend, David Flinn unexpectedly passed away on December 23rd.  (http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/theithacajournal/obituary.aspx?n=david-galbraith-flinn&pid=187650477&fhid=11708)

 

As our business got started back in 1978, finding that initial customer, particularly one who was willing to pay for our goods and services was all-important. With that first paying client we became “real”. For us, that first client was David Flinn. 

 

Thirty-nine years ago Dave took a chance on our fledging computer company with our focus primarily on using computers within small businesses.  We started out providing him and his various businesses with billing and basic accounting software initially via access to mainframe and mini-computers. As the years went on and small computer technology became “faster, better, and cheaper”, we provided Dave with desktop computers for his offices and home, then laptops, wired and wireless networking all the way to today’s tablets and smart-technologies.  Our technicians and engineers regularly visited his home and offices to make sure that everything worked just so.  Dave became a familiar and welcome face in our offices too. Interactions with him were always friendly, good natured, and professional.

 

As we grew, even though Dave was no longer our largest client, he remained important to us – and taught us that clients of all sizes are critical to our success.  Our “service first” philosophy and treating all clients, whatever the size, with the same attention, comes directly from our early and continued interactions with David Flinn.

 

Along with being a client, Dave also gave us advice.  Not just on the specifics of what he wanted and needed from us for his businesses, but how we could become better known in the community and how to find and nurture new clients: “Join the Chamber of Commerce” and “Join Rotary!” were just two of his suggestions.

 

Taking Dave’s advice to heart, The Computing Center joined the Chamber of Commerce shortly after we formed the company. Over the years our involvement in the Chamber increased with Mary Stazi and I being board members, several staff members serving on various committees, and our helping the Chamber build its first website. 

 

I was a bit more reticent about joining Rotary.  I would be the youngest member. I didn’t like the idea of no women in Rotary and weekly attendance was essentially mandatory.  Dave, being a past Rotary president, assured me that there would be women members within 5 years (he was close – it took about 7 years) and the club would be OK if I missed a meeting or two. And he agreed that there should be more younger members too. So, I joined. What I found were a lot of people very interested in the new small computer technology and how it could be leveraged within their businesses.  I learned a lot about giving back to the community – just as Dave had done.  And I wasn’t the youngest member for long.  Mike Brown and Dave’s son, Dale joined soon after and were younger than me.  Today, the children and grandchildren of some of those Rotary members are now Rotary members – all giving back.

 

As you read Dave’s obituary, there’s a lot of reminders of what one person can do within a community and the impact they can have. David Flinn had a very meaningful impact on everyone he came in contact with especially on The Computing Center and on its founders.  He will be missed.

The Mainframe Computer Isn't Going Anywhere - Except Maybe to Mars

 by Steve Moore, Senior Story Strategist, IBM

We'll admit it - some of us at The Computing Center are science and space geeks. So this article about how Mars exploration will essentially require taking mainframe level computer systems along with human spacefarers caught our eye. Also, look at the author's title - definitely cool!  If you're like us - read on! 

 

At the International Astronautical Congress in September, Elon Musk announced a vision to build a base on the moon in addition to his famous plans to build a permanent human colony on Mars. The announcement came with images of rockets, landing pads, refueling tanks and structures for human habitation. It’s an inspiring vision — but it can be easy to forget the individual steps it’ll take to realize the dream.

As Musk makes clear, long before SpaceX sends humans to the moon or Mars, they’ll have to send unmanned missions to establish the early infrastructure. In addition to propellant plants and solar panels, the early missions will almost certainly require systems for receiving, storing, analyzing and transmitting huge volumes of data. And with no humans on site to intervene, those systems will have to be incredibly robust, highly automatic, adaptive, self-monitoring and self-healing.

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Protecting Your Business from Negative SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a website design technique to maximize how a search engine like Google ranks and displays a website search result. This article discusses how "Negative SEO" can potentially harm your rankings and damage your business.

Negative SEO -- does it really exist?   And if it does, what is it and how can you protect your site?

Consider this post a short whirlwind tutorial for a typical small business website.

What is Negative SEO?

Negative SEO is when a third party targets a website and attempts to lower its rankings and placement in search engines.  In other words, someone with bad intent uses search engine optimization techniques to harm another site.

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