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Non-Profit Organization Using White Pages to Connect Homeless People with Their Families

NEW YORK – In life, there are few things more disconcerting and isolating than homelessness. Often, these people are the victims of a wide range of maladies – including job loss and mental illness – but whatever the cause for their situation, once they’ve embraced a life on the streets it can be quite difficult for the people who care most about them to track them down and offer a helping hand. Reuniting a homeless person with their family can provide numerous benefits; aside from having a roof over their head, of course, it offers them a more positive outlook on life, as well as people who can advocate for them if they are experiencing any mental or physical health-related issues. File photo: Pixabay. However, there is a new organization that is helping to track down the families of people residing at homeless shelters in an effort to help them get their lives back on track. Miracle Messages is a non-profit “reunion service” that helps people experiencing homelessness reunite with their loved ones in a positive and supportive way. Often, volunteers of this organization will visit homeless shelters and get to know some of the regular inhabitants. Sometimes these people can be difficult to communicate with, making it difficult to extrapolate any information from them that can be used to track down their families. But with proper training and a “can-do” attitude, the volunteer can take a few scraps of information – utilized in conjunction with an online White Pages

Newest Scam Alert: Callers Impersonate Amazon Customer Support

NEW YORK – Spam phone calls have become a way of life for many Americans; according to reports, in 2018 alone US citizens received a staggering total of 26.3 billion unsolicited phone calls – both legitimate and illegitimate – from various groups, organizations, and individuals. Shockingly, that number is 80 times greater than the entire population of our country, and the problem has become so severe that the Federal Communications and Trade Commissions reported spam calls as the number one consumer complaint they receive on an annual basis. The Federal Communications Commission plans on rolling out a series of new regulations – backed by heavy fines – in order to provide a relief to consumers from the never-ending series of spam calls they have to endure on a near-daily basis. File photo: Pixabay. Washington state, home of e-commerce giant Amazon, reports that its residents have received over 200,000,000 spam calls in the first quarter of 2019; this represents a nearly 55 percent increase from the same period of time in 2018. The irony of this occurring in Amazon’s backyard is that the retail company is now the subject of a new con that phone scammers are perpetrating, as widely reported by Washington consumers this year. The new Amazon scam is simple yet effective, the hallmark of any successful scheme that seeks to separate hard working people from their money. People pretending to be customer service agents are contacting Amazon customers and reporting that they are the victim of potentially fraudulent

Instagram Allegedly Leaking Private Phone Numbers, Email Addresses of Members for Months

NEW YORK – Instagram, a photo and video sharing social networking service owned by Facebook, has come under fire recently as reports indicated that the social site had leaked the contact information of many of its users – including names, email addresses, and phone numbers – over a period of time that lasted at least four months. Apparently the contact information for many Instagram users had been compromised hackers who had the ability to acquire information from any affected Instagram page. File photo: Pixabay. According to data scientists, the contact information of some Instagram users was actually contained in the source code of their user profiles whenever loaded in an Internet browser, making it easy for unscrupulous individuals to access and gather it for a variety of purposes. Why such sensitive information was included in the source code for the website is anyone’s guess, but it’s not considered a secure practice by any means. Apparently the contact information for many Instagram users – but not the entirety of them – had been compromised by this issue, some of whom were minors, businesses, and known marketing brands. Hackers and scam artists would have the ability to acquire this information from any affected Instagram page, and in turn construct a database comprised of the contact details of a great number of Instagram members.  Instagram released a statement regarding the issue, noting that the information that had been leaked was not considered private; it could be argued that the users who were compromised would

Better Business Bureau Releases List of Scams Small Businesses Need to Avoid

NEW YORK – For small businesses today, scams are a major and growing problem, often perpetrated by unscrupulous individuals possessing delicate information and seeking to separate hard-working entrepreneurs from their money. However, the Better Business Bureau recently released a list of the most common scams targeting businesses today, something that is vital reading for pretty much anyone, whether they work for themselves or someone else. Staying informed about the most common scams going around and getting familiar with the different techniques involved is the best defense for any small business owner not looking to become a victim, and when armed with the information provided by the Better Business Bureau, identifying these vile charlatans and avoiding them is now easier than ever. Most scams nowadays involve people who have acquired a business’ publicly-available contact information and, with a bare minimum of research, will reach out to that company posing often as an authority figure or charitable institution while requesting money. Scams of this nature can really devastate a business if successful, and it’s vitally important for any entrepreneur to be prepared when they become the target of a phone or email scammer. Some of the most common small business scams include the following: Businesses receiving fraudulent invoices requesting payment for goods and services that were never provided. These individuals will often attempt to have the bookkeeper or other authorized payment representative wire or transfer large amounts of money to an unverified account. Typically, the amount of money requested begins as relatively

New Vermont Law Requires Data Brokers to Register, Paving Eventual Pathway to Protecting Consumers Nationwide

NEW YORK – Data brokers – companies that routinely buy and sell public, personal data obtained through various sources for the purpose of creating targeted ad campaigns – have for years been a secretive bunch. 21st century laws have not yet caught up with this practice, and as a result it’s not often known who these companies are, or what it is exactly that they do with the disturbing level of personal information they cull from countless public sources. However, one state is finally making a stand for consumers’ rights. Vermont has recently passed a law that requires companies to register with their Secretary of State if they conduct in the buying and selling of third-party personal data. This law represents the first time any state has attempted to assign some degree of culpability to an industry that largely operates under the radar and without rules. However, some critics are complaining that the law, while opening up these companies to some degree of public scrutiny, nonetheless does not provide the level of transparency that some people wish. While data brokers do have to register with Vermont Secretary of State – publicly identifying themselves as data brokers – they however do not have to reveal the individuals in their databases, the specific types of data they collect, or who they sell it to. Likewise, data brokers are not required to offer opt-out procedures for members of the public who wish not to have their personal information harvested for advertising purposes. However,

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