Tag Archives: holiday shopping

6 Ways To Protect Yourself on Cyber Monday

Although most shoppers gear up and focus on Black Friday, Cyber Monday offers tons of hot deals to online shoppers. It began in 2005 and quickly became one of the biggest online shopping days of the year. On average, online shopping increases by 16% (worth more than $760 million dollars) on this one day alone!

Shoppers find the appeal in avoiding parking lots at malls, bustling stores and frantic holiday crowds. While it is very convenient, you can also be putting yourself at greater risk for identity theft and credit card fraud if you are not careful. In any situation there are steps you can take to protect yourself and make it easier to detect fraud if you become a victim. If you protect yourself, I feel that you are safer shopping online than in person (where about 15% of identity theft takes place).

Protect Yourself Online on Cyber Monday

Here are a few steps to take to protect yourself on Cyber Monday:

  • Never Shop on a Public Wi-Fi Connection – Although you may trust the baristas at your local coffee shop, you can’t always trust the person sitting next to you. Hackers can easily tap into Wi-Fi connections at public hot spots to steal your identity information. This can be especially dangerous when you are making purchases with your credit card on unsecured connections. Always wait until you are on a land line (Ethernet cable) at a location you trust – I recommend making purchases at home.
  • Monitor Your Accounts – While you are doing a lot of shopping – online and in the store – it is good to keep an eye on your bank and credit card accounts. Match your receipts up to your statement to make sure that they are correct and there are no fraudulent charges. Keep an eye out for small charges, sometimes that is how crooks test to make sure they have a good card. For convenience, set up credit card account alerts that automatically email or text you every time you make a purchase. It makes detecting fraud a snap.
  • Only Shop on Trusted Websites – Don’t just let the search engine pick the site for you, make sure you are using a trusted and well-known website. Type in the direct web address for the stores you are familiar with, and don’t shop on price alone.
  • Read the Reviews – When shopping on Ebay or Amazon for gifts this season, read the reviews of the actual seller. While the site may be credited with security, purchasers may have had problems in the past that you want to know about before you buy from them. Only shop on Craigslist if you have extensive experience avoiding online fraud.
  • Look for Signs They are Protecting Your Data – On the Web page where you enter your credit card or other personal information, look for an “s” after http in the Web address of that page and a secured padlock (as shown below). Encryption is a security measure that scrambles data as it travels through the Internet.
  • Keep Your Web Browser Updated – Internet Explorer 7 and 8 provide another layer of protection with Web sites that use Extended Validation (EV) Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificates. The address bar turns green and has both https and the closed padlock. Make sure that when your computer is asking you to update your software you don’t ignore the requests.

Remember, the faster you detect Identity Theft the easier it is to clean it up. Always be aware of what is on your credit report and your bank statements, as crooks rely on our lackadaisical attitude to continue their crooked ways.

Originally published in 2010

photo by: sⓘndy°

Forget The Long Lines And Crazy Parking: Give Your Loved Ones A Gift Online


 
In the age of the internet, gone are your excuses for not remembering someone special with a gift during the holidays. You need not fight crowds at malls or elbow your way into a post office. You can find the perfect item from the comfort of your own home. However, with the myriad choices to comb through, you might get discouraged. Fear not! Here are six great gift ideas, all available while you shop your pajamas and enjoy your morning coffee.

Netflix Gift SubscriptionWho doesn’t love movies? You can give a Netflix subscription for a month, a year, or anywhere in between. One month costs only $9.99 and a full year is $118.88

iTunes Gift CardGot a teenager or college student on your list? You can’t go wrong with an iTunes gift card. Buy them online in increments of $15 – $100 dollars. They come in a variety of styles, the newest features The Beatles!

Amazon.com Gift CardsLet the lucky recipient choose from a wide variety of options: books, audiobooks, music, toys, housewares, clothing, electronics and more! Gift cards start at $10 but go all the way up to $5,000! Plus, Amazon offers instant email notifications, so even if you wait until the very last minute, you can get it all done.
 

Pandora Internet Radio SubscriptionFor just $36 a year, give the gift of high quality audio, commercial-free, internet radio. Pandora is easily customizable for the most enjoyable radio experience they will ever have!

Harry and David Fruit of the Month Club.  Every moth, Harry and David promises to deliver “top quality fruit, brimming with flavor” to your friends or family members. Monthly selections depend on what is in season, but include delicacies such as tropical pineapple, sweet grapefruit, juicy pears, and more. Prices range from $99 to $299 dollars. Standard shipping delivery charges are included in your gift subscription costs.

 
Audible.com Gift SubscriptionAudio books are wonderful for the busy person who loves to read but spends time stuck commuting or doing other things where reading, either in print or on an e-reader, is impractical. Consider giving them an audible.com certificate. Audible.com’s audio books can be downloaded to a variety of audio players and costs only $7.49 a month.

 

Top Ten Christmas Gifts For $10 Or Less

 Santa knows that everyone likes to feel appreciated, but even the Big Guy is aware that the season can get mighty expensive. Here are some affordable gifts guaranteed to put smiles on faces while keeping the reins on your spending. 

1.      Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris.  Released in 1997, this hysterical collection of essays by now-famous author David Sedaris will delight even the Grinch-iest Grinch on your list. Darkly humorous yet full of relatable insights into the human condition, Sedaris captures both the love and the maddening spirit of the holiday season. (Paperback, available at Amazon.com for $4.72)

2.      Champagne Caress Bubbling Bath OilOn a chilly evening after a long day of shopping, there isn’t much nicer than a luxurious, scent-infused soak in a hot tub. This special bubble bath blends saponified vegetable oils and pure glycerin with and a delicate yet rich aroma. Give someone special an excuse to relax. (from American Soap Company, $8.95)

3.      Black Market Gourmet Barbeque Sauce. Got a man on your list who loves to grill? Try one of these three delicious and unique flavors from Black Market Gourmet: Cranberry, Apricot or Blackberry. All of the sauces are organic and preservative- free. (from Black Market Gourmet, $7.50)

4.      Famous Faces Journals. If there is a writer and pop culture buff to shop for, you can’t go wrong with one of these whimsical journals. Choose from Audrey Hepburn, Dr. Spock, and Michael Jackson, among others. (from Jenni Bick Bookbinding, $8.95)

5.     Drumstick Pencils. Know someone trapped in an office but whose inner-rock drummer is just dying to express himself? Behold the “Drumstick Pencils,” perfect for pounding out that last minute memo to your co-workers letting them know you’ll be leaving early for the holidays. (from ThinkGeek, $7.99)

6.      Czech Glass Pearl Shaped Wine Markers. Adorn your stemware beautifully and help keep everyone’s drink straight with these lovely wine charms. A perfect hostess gift and one that is sure to be used, and treasured, for many years. (from Etsy, $8.00)

7.      Dr. Freud’s Therapy Ball. Everyone gets a little…stressed…during the holiday season. Give someone the gift of sound advice and the release of a hearty laugh with this unique present. Works like a Magic 8 Ball, and the good doctor will tell you just what you need to hear. (from Neatorama, $7.95)

8.      Pecan Pie Truffles. Pecan pie and Christmas have had a long relationship, but pie can be so difficult to eat when not served at the table. Well, now you can have your pie anytime, anywhere, with these delicious little Pecan Pie Truffles. And at such an affordable price, you may want to treat several sweets-lovers on your list! (from See’s Candies, $6.15)

9.      Donate $10 and Buy an Impoverished Family Two Chickens.  A good number of us have everything we might want or need, but for thousands of families in the world, necessities are never guaranteed. Consider making a donation of two chickens to one of these needy families in the name of a friend , relative, or co-worker and make someone’s life far brighter. (Donate through International Humanity Foundation.)

10.  LED Graffiti. Spread some holiday cheer with these merry little LED lights that adhere to any metal surface. Brighten up your co-workers file cabinets or the fridge in their kitchen. You might even want to spell out a holiday greeting on their car. Comes in sets of 20. (from ThinkGeek, $7.99)

 

Surviving the Season of Desires

Venturing out to the mall to buy some clothes for a presentation, I see a hundred other shoppers searching for bliss on clothes racks, in shelves of sweaters and handbags and at glass-cased cosmetics counters.  Their faces, rapt with attention to the perfect thing, twist and frown as they yearn for the one thing that will fulfill their desires and bring absolute satisfaction for the holidays.  What if the key to unlocking the season’s bliss isn’t some thing?

 After years of living abroad and experiencing the holidays in France, Italy and Switzerland where it’s okay to display Christmas crèches with mangers and light Advent and Hanukkah candles to brighten the season, it seems the only real hint of anything publically spiritual about the U.S. season is the word Christmas that still refers to the mass celebrated to mark the birth of Jesus.  Tolerance of all spiritual practices is encouraged – in private – in the U.S. 

But the openly sanctioned way to celebrate this season of yearning and desire is through dauntless consumerism.  This secular approach is approved by everyone from the government and politicians to businesses and social institutions.  “Buy more.”  This is the season’s mantra in America where Black Friday marks a contemporary family tradition while most other traditions have failed. This commercial meaning spreads beyond our borders and also affects others across the globe.

The spiritual sense of this season, which includes a vast array of traditions from Jewish celebrations to Wiccan rituals to mark the solstice and adore nature, remain after thoughts compared to the main player – the obsession to possess new material things fueled by rampant desires.  But instead of creating satisfaction and joy, all of the paring down of the season’s deeper meaning over the past decades has instead spawned feelings of emptiness, depression, frustration, unrealistic expectations and anxiety. 

But alternatives exists.  This time of year naturally draws us to move inside, not just indoors out of the cold, but into the interior of our inner rooms of the soul.  This time of waning light invites us through festivals of light like Dipavali and Hanukkah, to light the lamp of wisdom and love within our own hearts.

In a society out of balance with its extreme emphasis on material things, this time of year marks a perfect occasion to become conscious of the pull to materialism and a chance to change course.  Make efforts to appreciate the many simple things.  Count blessings of good health, the gift of being alive, and the ability to realize the divine connection within the chamber of the sacred heart.  This is a good time to pray for peace and bring it consciously into our lives.  “Let there be peace in the world and let it begin with me,” is a good motto to adopt. Limiting desires is a way to begin.

A heart focused on things and filled with desires will inevitably meet disappointments.  Instead of fretting about all that’s desired and not yet acquired, make a list of the things you already have to be grateful for.  Include the intangibles like good relationships, the ability to change your mind, the possibility to grow.  Bring the heart and mind home to rest in the contentment of the present moment.  God is now here in the form of Truth, Awarenss, Bliss in each individual’s heart.  All we need is the eyes of love to find that divine spark.

 

CGR make a great gift – and it’s free! :)

Give the gift of Chakra Girl Radio!

Short on cash and want to give someone you care about a little nudge in a healing direction? Here’s an absolutely free, full-of-good-intentions, no-stress solution:

1) visit http://www.blogtalkradio.com/chakra-girl
2) check out the archives and follow your gut feeling about which show(s) your loved one might like…segments 1 and 2 are great introductions, and segments 3-10 go step-by-step through the energy body, one Chakrum at a time
3) download them for free (as iTunes podcasts)

Please include this information with your gift:
www.chakra-girl.com
www.blogtalkradio.com/chakra-girl
ch4kr4g1rl@gmail.com

Also…two more shows and Chakra Girl takes a holiday break. I’ll be back the first Wednesday after New Year’s with some exciting changes to celebrate 2009!

As for tomorrow’s edition of Chakra Girl Radio?  Celebration!  Solstice is almost upon us, this week’s full moon is more than a stellar event, then Hanukkah and Christmas and Kwanzaa. So much to celebrate!

www.blogtalkradio.com/chakra-girl
9-10:30 a.m. PST/12-1:30 p.m. EST

Time to make it official – change your perception of all that weighs you down and expand that place in your heart – allow for prosperity and abundance.  Are you listening to the old tapes (your past) that tell you you’re not ready?

Any chance you’d consider changing your mind?

That is all it takes.

Chakra Girl’s mission (and yes, she has chosen to accept it 🙂 is to show you how "easy" this shift is.  Not how easy it can be, but how easy it is

Join me for ongoing discussions and more courageous callers, looking for someone to be witness to their experience.  So many blessings!  


Happy Holidays!

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