STILL, IT CAN’T BE GOOD FOR YOU

I know, I know – the Polonium 210 in cigarettes is of a dosage very substantially less than was used to murder Alexander Litvinenko. But did you know cigarettes apparently do contain the stuff? Washington, DC, goes smokefree January 1. Maybe you should, too.

MAZEL TOV! YOU’RE UNIONIZED!

Think civil unions are all gay people should be allowed? Sounds like a reasonable compromise, no? Click here to see what happened to Roz’s wedding bands. Two minutes well spent, if you’re trying to understand what all the fuss is about.

DOWN 23 POINTS IN A DAY?!

No, FMD split 3 for 2 yesterday, so it was actually up a couple of points. Suggested March 6 at $38 and change, which would be $25.50 on a split-adjusted basis, it is now more than double at $53. My suggestion: don’t sell.

And while we’re at it: BOREF remains wildly speculative, etc., but no, so long as it’s money you can truly afford to lose, I wouldn’t sell. And I wouldn’t sell the Aldabra warrants (ALBAW), up from 70 cents and 38 cents where we bought them a few months ago to $1.20 last night, because my hope is that over the next couple of years the stock may move closer to the replacement value of its dredging fleet (Aldabra is closing an acquisition with one of the world’s largest dredging companies), which if I’ve done the math from their press release right comes out to about $15. I don’t expect it to get to $15, and who knows what awful surprises could muck this up (get it? muck this up?) . . . but if the stock hit $7.50, the warrants (giving us the right to buy shares at $5) would double from here.

(As to the other stocks suggested here from time to time, like the oil stocks and AXP, CBH and so on, I haven’t sold these either. My life is so boring!)

GOOD ADVICE CIRCLING THE INTERNET

Some of this may be a little paranoid, but by and large it’s certainly worth reviewing – especially the quick action to take if you lose your wallet. (I’d like to attribute this to its source, in case any of you know whom to credit.)

A corporate attorney sent the following out to the employees in his company.

1. The next time you order checks have only your initials (instead of first name) and last name put on them. If someone takes your checkbook, they will not know if you sign your checks with just your initials or your first name, but your bank will know how you sign your checks.

2. Do not sign the back of your credit cards. Instead, put “PHOTO ID REQUIRED.”

3. When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the “For” line. Instead, just put the last four numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of the number, and anyone who might be handling your check as it passes through all the check-processing channels will not have access to it.

4. Put your work phone # on your checks instead of your home phone. If you have a PO Box, use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a PO Box, use your work address. Never have your SS# printed on your checks, (DUH!). You can add it if it is necessary. However, if you have it printed, anyone can get it.

5. Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine. Do both sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel. Keep the photocopy in a safe place. Also carry a photocopy of your passport when traveling either here or abroad. We have all heard horror stories about fraud that is committed on us in stealing a name, address, Social Security number, credit cards.

6. When you check out of a hotel that uses cards for keys (and they all seem to do that now), do not turn the “keys” in. Take them with you and destroy them. Those little cards have on them all of the information you gave the hotel, including address and credit card numbers and expiration dates. Someone with a card reader, or employee of the hotel, can access all that information with no problem whatsoever. [NOT TRUE – THIS IS AN URBAN LEGEND. — A.T.]

Unfortunately, as an attorney, I have firsthand knowledge because my wallet was stolen last month. Within a week, the thieves ordered an expensive monthly cell phone package, applied for a VISA credit card, had a credit line approved to buy a Gateway computer and received a PIN number from DMV to change my driving record information online. Here is some critical information to limit the damage in case this happens to you or someone you know:

1. We have been told we should cancel our credit cards immediately. The key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know whom to call. Keep those where you can find them.

2. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where your credit cards, etc., were stolen. This proves to credit providers you were diligent, and this is a first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one). However, here is what is perhaps most important of all (I never even thought to do this.)

3. Call the three national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and Social Security number. I had never heard of doing that until advised by a bank that called to tell me an application for credit was made over the Internet in my name. The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen, and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit. By the time I was advised to do this, almost two weeks after the theft, all the damage had been done. There are records of all the credit checks initiated by the thieves’ purchases, none of which I knew about before placing the alert. Since then, no additional damage has been done, and the thieves threw my wallet away this weekend (someone turned it in). It seems to have stopped them dead in their tracks.

Now, here are the numbers you always need to contact about your wallet and contents being stolen:

1.) Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
2.) Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742
3.) TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
4.) Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271

 

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