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Thieves target health insurance policy numbers

Tiffany Mower 4 years ago in Plugin announcements 0
Most of us tightly guard our credit cards and bank account numbers, but health insurance policy numbers are also prime targets for thieves. An estimated 1.84 million people were victims of medical identity theft in 2013, according to the Poneman Institute, a research organization, which expects that number to rise.
Victims often don’t realize they’ve been targeted until they discover a drop in their credit score or until a collection agency comes after them for unpaid medical bills, said Jim Quiggle, director of communications for the Coalition Against. Insurance Fraud a group that includes insurers, consumer activists and government officials. While most of the cost of medical identity theft is borne by the health care industry and government, the Poneman Institute estimates that about 36 percent of victims in 2013 incurred out-of-pocket costs such as reimbursements for services provided to impostors, legal fees and identity protection services. The average cost for these victims amounted to $18,660; in a few cases, it exceeded $100,000.
Medical identity theft can happen in several ways. In one common scenario, the criminal persuades a consumer to divulge his health insurance number. Strategies for collecting these numbers can be highly sophisticated, especially when crooks operate in teams, Quiggle said. “They might invite seniors to bogus health fairs where they take their blood pressure and give them some nutritional supplements and ask to see their Medicare cards.”

Jennifer Trussell, who investigates medical identity theft for the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General, has seen cases where criminal rings target senior centers or homeless shelters and offer people $50 for, say, their Medicare number. “That information is sold again and again,” she said.
Even though the victims in these instances voluntarily share their numbers, they may not realize the impact, Quiggle said. “They'll discover to their horror that their Medicare account is being rifled and even maxed out by thieves who are making false claims against their policy.”

Some cases are perpetrated by employees of medical offices or even health care providers. Trussell worked on a case involving an Iowa chiropractor who had lifted the names and dates of birth of more than 200 patients to collect fraudulent Medicaid payments. In another case, a Baltimore pharmacy owner and two employees were indicted for allegedly submitting bogus claims for prescription refills to Medicaid and Medicare.

Sometimes medical identity theft happens with the cooperation of the victim, who allows a family member or acquaintance to use his health insurance card to obtain care. Poneman Institute founder Larry Poneman said these “Robin Hood” crimes made up 30 percent of the medical identity thefts his group studied in 2013.
Giving your insurance number to someone in need might seem like a generous thing to do, but it’s still a crime and you could suffer consequences if the visits rack up bills that go unpaid or result in incorrect additions to your medical records, Poneman said. If an impostor’s blood type or medical condition gets added to your record, you could end up receiving inappropriate or even life-threatening treatment.
Electronic medical records make your medical data easier to steal, because any clerk with access to patient records can load patient information onto a thumb drive and sell it to cronies or crime rings, Quiggle said. And because the Internet makes electronic records easy to share, tracking down all the providers who have received incorrect data can be difficult.

So how do you protect yourself? Never give your medical identity credentials to anyone but those with a legitimate reason for needing this information, such as the billing person at your doctor’s office, Quiggle said. Treat with suspicion anyone who asks you for your insurance number without a good reason, and never give these numbers to telemarketers or callers conducting “health surveys.”
Closely scrutinize the “Explanation of Benefits” or “Medicare Summary Notice” documents that are sent to you to make sure that you actually received the services and products listed, he said.

If you see anything suspicious, ask to see your medical record to look for mistakes or evidence that your identity has been compromised. “A lot of people don’t realize that they have the right to read their medical records,” Poneman said. He recalls a case where a woman who stood more than 6 feet tall went in for bypass surgery; her medical record, however, showed that she was just over 5 feet tall because, unbeknown to her, an impostor had used her identity to receive care. Had she been given anesthesia and other drugs based on the impostor’s size, she could have faced serious problems with the surgery.

Think twice before sharing detailed medical information on social media, Trussell said. Posting a medical diagnosis on social media is akin to posting your address along with the dates that you’ll be away on vacation. An impostor could use that information to obtain services that might not raise red flags with your insurer. For instance, if you tweet about your diabetes diagnosis, Trussell said, it’s possible that “next thing you know, you’re getting diabetes test strips you didn’t order or receive billed to your insurance company.”

If you discover that your medical identity has been stolen, your first step should be a call to the police, Ponemon said. Next, call the Federal Trade Commission’s identity theft hotline, 877-ID-THEFT, or report the problem online at www.ftc.gov/idtheft. Report Medicare- or Medicaid-related crimes to oig.hhs.gov/fraud/hotline or by calling 800-HHS-TIPS.

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10 Tips: Stay in Shape While Traveling

shvartsaliza 4 years ago in Plugin announcements 0
When you’re out and about flitting from tourist attraction to subway station to lunch, it’s hard to keep up with your diet and exercise regimen.

Even though you’re out walking all day, and it may seem like you’re getting a lot of exercise, you’re probably also eating a lot of high-calorie and fatty foods that pretty much negate all the good you’re doing with the walking, hiking and stair-climbing.
Those extra pieces of cake and pie for dessert aren’t helping either. Contrary to popular belief, calories do count on vacation, as much as you wish they didn’t. So, if you want to stay on track and earn those meals, you might want to add additional exercise to your vacation itinerary:

Get outside
I love to be outdoors when I travel. It’s the best way to see your destination, so why not get out a little more and burn extra calories?

  • Go running – You’re going to bring along a pair of walking shoes anyway, so why not make them running shoes that are also good for walking. If you run at home, then keep your routine set and get up early to run around the block or the hotel grounds.
  • Jump rope – This is an easily packable item and gets you great exercise anywhere you have some extra room. Not just little kids love to jump rope. It’s fun and helps you tone and keep in shape. Make sure you buy a nicely weighted one that will stand up to the rigors of the road
Make your lodging your gym
You walked all day yesterday, but you got up early in order to watch the news or eat breakfast in your room. As much as you know you should put on your workout clothes and hit the gym, the thought of looking presentable just doesn’t sound appealing. You aren’t alone. While you’re waiting for your bagel to toast or you’re listening to the weather report, you can take advantage of the floor space in your room to get in a quick workout.

  • Chair crunches – If you have a chair, you have a low-impact gym. Work your abs by sitting on the edge and pull your legs up or pump your legs as if you are riding a bicycle.
  • Do lunges – You’ll feel a lot less awkward doing them in the privacy of your room than out in public, too.
  • Calf raises – Do these anywhere, like while you are brushing your teeth, making oatmeal or waiting in line to get into the Louvre (for bonus exercise points).
Use what’s available at your accommodation

Your hotel or rental property might have some useful ways to help you work out. If the weather cooperates enough to be outside, then you’re in luck.

  • Go for a swim – Almost all hotels have a pool. Pack your swimsuit and you can get in some laps. If a fancy indoor pool is available, then you can swim if the weather is uncooperative.
  • Use the stairs – Walk or run up the stairs to your room and you’ll start to feel the burn. Generally, the stairwell is pretty private, so you also won’t be disturbing others if you are up early or late doing this.
  • Go for a run – Not close to a park or afraid to go out running in unfamiliar terrain? Strap on your running shoes and do laps around the hotel. Chances are it is surrounded by a parking lot and/or sidewalks that make it easy to get your strides in.
Keeping up with an exercise routine when you travel will keep you motivated to continue doing it at home, even if it takes you a few days to get back into your healthy eating habits. You’ll feel better about yourself and might even add to your regular workouts.


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Post Post Crisis Era to Continue

We’ve talked about the post-post-crisis era as one that is neither risk-off (a period like the financial crisis, when investors shun riskier assets) nor risk-on (a period like the post-crisis period, which we define from March 2009 through November 2014, when investors embrace riskier assets). In a post-post-crisis landscape, markets have a mixed outlook, in which growth is uneven and interest rates remain low.


The Taper Tantrum vs. the Recent Rise in Yields

In 2013, the “Taper Tantrum” occurred when the market learned that the US Federal Reserve planned to wind down its quantitative easing program — signaling the end of monetary policy easing and the beginning of a shift toward monetary policy tightening. Consequently, Treasury yields rose 100 basis points over two months. The move higher in yields seemed like a reasonable reaction to such signaling.

The recent move in interest rates also makes sense. The market is taking several things into consideration:

1. Uncertainty about the leadership of the Fed. Janet Yellen’s term as chair is due to end in February 2018. Given the Fed’s dovish policy during her tenure, the market is fearful that Trump will appoint a more hawkish leader who is more eager to raise interest rates and reset the tone.

2. Looser fiscal policy. Trump has championed both lower taxes and higher infrastructure spending. These policies, if implemented, would likely boost gross domestic product and increase the federal budget deficit.

3. Higher inflation prospects. Looser fiscal policy should be a tailwind for inflation. In addition, any protectionist policies, such as amending the North American Free Trade Agreement or implementing tariffs, could cause prices to move higher.

Bond Fundamentals Moving Forward

On one hand, lower taxes, fiscal stimulus and deregulation are all positive factors for riskier assets like stocks (and by extension negative for safer assets like Treasuries). But there are still many uncertainties and other factors that provide reasons to be constructive on fixed income:

1. Uncertain geopolitical backdrop. China is currently growing at a reasonably healthy pace, but that has been aided by a rapid expansion in credit.

2. Uncertain U.S. government policy. To paraphrase Aristotle, the market abhors a vacuum. Following the election, many aspects of government policy are in flux, from spending plans to foreign relations.

3. Risk that fiscal stimulus plans miss their target. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center’s analysis of Trump’s income tax plan finds that, while high-income taxpayers would enjoy most of his proposed tax savings, middle-income families would receive an average tax cut of $1,000.

4. Risk of a trade war harming growth. If Trump were to follow through on his proposals to increase tariffs on foreign goods, his actions could spiral into a trade war. This would be negative for U.S. GDP growth.

5. Risk of restrictions on immigration hurting economic growth. One little-known fact is that the growth in GDP per capita has trailed total GDP growth by 40% since the financial crisis.

6. Risk of a shock hitting the economy. External shocks are, by nature, difficult to predict but can have wide-ranging effects.

7. Large number of buyers of U.S. government debt. U.S. and foreign pension funds and insurers use Treasuries as an important component of their portfolios, and this shows no sign of changing.

What This Means for Investors

Although it seems very likely to us that the Fed will raise rates gradually in years to come, expected risk-adjusted returns for investing in bonds remain appealing. Recent volatility in the municipal bond market is beginning to present more opportunities for munis*, while healthier realized inflation makes us continue to be supportive of Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities.
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Post Post Crisis Era to Continue

We’ve talked about the post-post-crisis era as one that is neither risk-off (a period like the financial crisis, when investors shun riskier assets) nor risk-on (a period like the post-crisis period, which we define from March 2009 through November 2014, when investors embrace riskier assets). In a post-post-crisis landscape, markets have a mixed outlook, in which growth is uneven and interest rates remain low.


The Taper Tantrum vs. the Recent Rise in Yields

In 2013, the “Taper Tantrum” occurred when the market learned that the US Federal Reserve planned to wind down its quantitative easing program — signaling the end of monetary policy easing and the beginning of a shift toward monetary policy tightening. Consequently, Treasury yields rose 100 basis points over two months. The move higher in yields seemed like a reasonable reaction to such signaling.

The recent move in interest rates also makes sense. The market is taking several things into consideration:

1. Uncertainty about the leadership of the Fed. Janet Yellen’s term as chair is due to end in February 2018. Given the Fed’s dovish policy during her tenure, the market is fearful that Trump will appoint a more hawkish leader who is more eager to raise interest rates and reset the tone.

2. Looser fiscal policy. Trump has championed both lower taxes and higher infrastructure spending. These policies, if implemented, would likely boost gross domestic product and increase the federal budget deficit.

3. Higher inflation prospects. Looser fiscal policy should be a tailwind for inflation. In addition, any protectionist policies, such as amending the North American Free Trade Agreement or implementing tariffs, could cause prices to move higher.

Bond Fundamentals Moving Forward

On one hand, lower taxes, fiscal stimulus and deregulation are all positive factors for riskier assets like stocks (and by extension negative for safer assets like Treasuries). But there are still many uncertainties and other factors that provide reasons to be constructive on fixed income:

1. Uncertain geopolitical backdrop. China is currently growing at a reasonably healthy pace, but that has been aided by a rapid expansion in credit.

2. Uncertain U.S. government policy. To paraphrase Aristotle, the market abhors a vacuum. Following the election, many aspects of government policy are in flux, from spending plans to foreign relations.

3. Risk that fiscal stimulus plans miss their target. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center’s analysis of Trump’s income tax plan finds that, while high-income taxpayers would enjoy most of his proposed tax savings, middle-income families would receive an average tax cut of $1,000.

4. Risk of a trade war harming growth. If Trump were to follow through on his proposals to increase tariffs on foreign goods, his actions could spiral into a trade war. This would be negative for U.S. GDP growth.

5. Risk of restrictions on immigration hurting economic growth. One little-known fact is that the growth in GDP per capita has trailed total GDP growth by 40% since the financial crisis.

6. Risk of a shock hitting the economy. External shocks are, by nature, difficult to predict but can have wide-ranging effects.

7. Large number of buyers of U.S. government debt. U.S. and foreign pension funds and insurers use Treasuries as an important component of their portfolios, and this shows no sign of changing.

What This Means for Investors

Although it seems very likely to us that the Fed will raise rates gradually in years to come, expected risk-adjusted returns for investing in bonds remain appealing. Recent volatility in the municipal bond market is beginning to present more opportunities for munis*, while healthier realized inflation makes us continue to be supportive of Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities.
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Five Keys to Investing in 2017

#1: Uncertainty Is a Sure Thing. Keep Calm and Carry On.


When it comes to shock and awe, 2016 delivered. The United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union, the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States, turmoil in China’s markets, challenges to globalization — clearly, the world remains an uncertain place.
Swift and dramatic change can inspire powerful emotions and lead to very human, but ultimately destructive, investment decisions. For investors confronted with confusion and uncertainty, the natural temptation is to retreat. “Keep calm and carry on” may be good advice, but for many investors it can be hard to follow.

#2: Diversification Still Matters, So Keep Your Balance.
In the 2008-2009 bear market, diversification didn’t matter. The Great Recession took a toll on nearly every asset class and portfolio. But in the 2000-2002 downturn, diversification worked. If you hadn’t piled into tech, you were spared a lot of pain when the dot-com bubble burst.
The debate over investment diversification is likely to go on and on, but today a strategic allocation in stocks and bonds around the world remains a hallmark of a portfolio that can help investors fulfill their objectives in the long run.

#3: Income is Scarce. Casting a Wide Net Can Pay Dividends.

There are nearly 50 million people over 65 in the United States, and many of them have one thing in common: They want their dividends. Millions of retiring baby boomers need income, but they may have to search far and wide for yield.


#4: Relax, It’s Not All Doom and Gloom.
Take a deep breath. Relax. In an age when doom and gloom seem to be all we read about or see on television, it just might be possible that things aren’t as bad as they seem. In fact, things may just be getting better — and not for the few, but for the many.

#5: Life Happens. Control What You Can With a Long-Range Plan.

Don’t get too high or too low. Try to maintain an even keel. Fight fear with facts.

All of those can be hard to do when the world’s markets and global economy are going through times that can be both exhilarating and frightening. The evidence shows that euphoric investors tend to buy high, and fearful investors sell low.
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Online Info Blog: Avoid scams

The web can be a great place, but not everyone online has good intentions. Here are three simple ways to avoid scammers and stay safe on the web:


Beware of strangers bearing gifts
A message is probably up to no good if it congratulates you for being a website’s millionth visitor, offers a tablet computer or other prize in exchange for completing a survey or promotes quick and easy ways to make money or get a job (“get rich quick working from your home for just two hours a day!”). If someone tells you that you’re a winner and asks you to fill out a form with your personal information don’t be tempted to start filling it out. Even if you don’t hit the “submit” button, you might still be sending your information to scammers if you start putting your data into their forms.
If you see a message from someone that you know that doesn’t seem like them, their account may have been compromised by a cyber criminal who is trying to get money or information from you – so be careful how you respond. Common tactics include asking you to urgently send them money, claiming to be stranded in another country or saying that their phone has been stolen so that they cannot be called. The message may also tell you to click on a link to see a picture, article or video, which actually leads you to a site that might steal your information – so think before you click!

Do your research
When shopping online, research the seller and be wary of suspiciously low prices just like you would if you were buying something at a local shop. Scrutinise online deals that seem too good to be true. No one wants to get tricked into buying fake goods. People who promise normally non-discounted expensive products or services for free or at 90% off probably have malicious intent. If you use Gmail, you may see a warning across the top of your screen if you’re looking at an email that our system says might be a scam – if you see this warning, think twice before responding to that email.

Watch out for scams using the Google brand. Google does not run a lottery. We do not charge training fees for new employees – if you receive an email saying that you have been hired by Google but have to pay a training fee before you can start, it is a scam. Watch out for people claiming to sell cars using Google Wallet. Find out more about various scams using the Google brand.

When in doubt, play it safe
Do you just have a bad feeling about an ad or an offer? Trust your gut! Only click on ads or buy products from sites that are safe, reviewed and trusted.
Many online shopping platforms have trusted merchants/sellers programs. These sellers typically have a visible stamp of approval on their profiles. Make sure that the stamp or certificate is legitimate by reviewing the shopping platforms’ guidelines. If the platform doesn’t offer a similar program, take a look at the number of reviews and the quality of reviews on the seller.
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Online Info Blog: BBB warns about Valentine’s Day scams

Flower Fails


Because of the amount of money that consumers are expected to spend this Valentine’s Day on flowers, consumers can be certain that scammers and unscrupulous businesses will also be looking to benefit. To ensure that a Valentine’s Day bouquet is delivered as planned, follow these scam savvy tips:
- Let the BBB guide purchases. Research trusted florists and gift shops, check out customer reviews, and look for scams at bbb.org.
- Pick up the phone or visit the shop. Even if ordering online, visit or chat with the brick-and-mortar shop prior to making a purchase. Discuss the arrangement you are looking for, inquire about guarantees and ask about delivery times. Don’t make a payment until the order is clearly outlined and always ask for a receipt.
- Watch for unsolicited calls and emails. This time of year, phishing scams spike for those looking to treat loved ones with flowers and gifts. Fake e-cards can carry viruses, and unsolicited emails claiming to require additional funds for gift delivery are common.
Beware of Cupid Cons
The Internet’s ability to connect people through social media and online dating has been a godsend for many single folks. But with that convenience come opportunities for scammers to prey on the love-struck.
This is a common narrative with many Valentine’s Day scams. An interesting stranger builds a fake relationship with an unsuspecting target through phone or video calls, texts and emails. Eventually, the scammer claims to be experiencing a financial hardship — or begs for funds to come visit the love-struck victim. After money is exchanged, the scammer cuts off contact. These types of scams are tricky because scammers know how to make people feel vulnerable and how to get them to do what they want.
How do you avoid a Cupid con? Looking out for the following red flags can help protect both your heart and wallet:
- Your new friend is a constant no-show. Traveling for business, house-sitting for an out-of-state friend, visiting family far away and other last-minute schedule changes are all common excuses scammers use to avoid meeting people face-to-face. An interested girl – or boyfriend would normally want to make time to get to know you better in person. So, if a new love interest is avoiding you, it’s time to get a little suspicious.
- Their social media profiles don’t match, are very new or are nonexistent. Contact information, pictures and background information the person shares with you should match what you see on their social media profiles. A shortage of online friends and contacts, stock photos and spelling/grammatical errors can be clues that you are being wooed by a scammer.
- They ask you for money. Asking for a loan from even the closest of friends can be uncomfortable (not to mention unwise), so why would a new love be boldly asking you for cash? From medical emergencies to claims of being robbed — a romantic scammer isn’t afraid to brazenly beg. Be particularly wary of anyone asking you to send funds via wire transfer or a gift card. And never give money or share banking information with someone that you have not met in person or don’t know very well.
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Online Info Blog: BBB warns about Valentine’s Day scams

Awareness and education are the best line of defense against fraud, and consumers can protect themselves by applying common sense and not letting emotion get in the way. Anyone can fall victim. Fraudsters even coach potential victims to ignore warnings such as this.

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slim

Shrikant Khandare 5 years ago in Plugin announcements • updated by jan otte 5 years ago 1

can you add some plugin for converting slim code to html code just like textmate for linux 

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Welcome - Westhill House HighGate Consulting Rooms

Ava Watson 5 years ago in Plugin announcements 0
WELCOME
The consulting rooms are located in West Hill House, a quiet building in Swain's Lane, set back from the road. Swain's Lane is one of Highgate's most charming streets. It is within 50 metres of Hampstead Heath and with easy access to bus, train and underground. Local restaurants and cafés add to the friendly, village atmosphere.
  • Full-time receptionist and support staff
  • Purpose-built for individual and group psychotherapy
  • Architect-designed and elegantly furnished
  • All lighting and heating supplied from renewable sources
  • Soundproofed
  • Fully ventilated
  • Entryphones to all rooms
  • Waiting areas
  • Rent by hour or session
  • Daytime, evenings and weekends, 7 days a week
  • Broadband free of charge