security (8)

Let’s Talk About “Sexting”


As a parent, you have probably already had the “sex talk” with your teenage son or daughter, but have you had the “sexting” talk? ‘Sexting’ is the practice of sending sexually explicit messages or images electronically, primarily via mobile phone. These messages and images can spread like wildfire through schools or even across the country and can even get posted on public websites—turning what may have seemed like a harmless act into one with severe consequences.

If you don’t think this is a problem with teens, think again. According to, 22% of teen girls and 20% of teen boys have sent nude or semi-nude photos of themselves and 38% of all teens believe that exchanging such sexy content makes dating or hooking up with others more likely. Wow, those are sobering statistics.

As a security expert, I want to help parents deal with this growing problem and keep their children (and themselves) out of harm’s way. Here are some tips from my new ebook, Safe Text: Protecting Your Teens from the Dangers of Texting:

• Give your teen clear rules on what they can and can’t do with their mobile phone.
• Learn how to use and monitor your teen’s mobile phones.

• Talk about pressures to send revealing photos. Let teens know that you understand that they can be pushed or dared into sending something. Tell them that no matter how big the social pressure is, the potential social humiliation will be hundreds of times worse.

• Remind them that once an image is sent, it can never be retrieved – and they will lose control of it.

• The buck stops with them. If someone sends them a photo, have them delete it immediately

Don’t forget to enter the contest on Facebook to win a Kindle Fire @


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Protect your Teens on Facebook!

Facebook has become the new battleground for parents and teens –a place where teens are trying to gain more independence and parents are trying to keep them safe.  When it comes to ‘Friending’ your parents, not all teens are ready to click the “accept” button and feel having their parents become part of their online community is similar to having their parents read their diary.

Some parents are opting to not step foot onto this virtual battleground and are choosing to not even attempt to become Facebook ‘Friends’ with their children.  As a security expert, this is a move I do not endorse—in fact, I sit firmly in the camp that becoming your child’s Facebook ‘Friend’ is one of the key ways to keep them safe during their teen years.

Why?  Here are 3 reasons why it is important for parents to become Facebook ‘Friends’ with their teens:

It allows you to monitor your child’s online activity and conversations in a very real and honest way.  They know you are there, they invited you in—it is not as if you are sneaking into their room and looking through their drawers.

It helps deter the posting of inappropriate messages and photos.  Before a teen posts a message or photo they will be thinking ‘is this something I would want my mom or dad to see?’  If the answer is no, they won’t post it—keeping them from making what could be a very big mistake.  In addition, if you do see inappropriate messages or photos being posted, this is a great way to begin those somewhat hard conversations with your children.

You get valuable insight into what is happening in their offline world.  Not that you need (or want) to know how many times Susie broke up with Billy, but just seeing what your child is posting and/or is having posted to their page, gives you a glimpse into what is happening IRT (In Real Time).  This may explain changes in behavior and help encourage offline discussions.

Let's Protect our Teens

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FaceBook Help!

Hi Ladies,


I need your help!  I have launch a new website called Protect your Teens.


We just launched our business facebook page and need your help to get on the social media map.  Please visit our facebook page and click like;


You can sign up for news, tips, and articles on my Welcome Page, I am also running a contest for a Kindle Fire. Like my page and you can enter. I have my whole website on my blog app. Have a look.

I would love to know what you think of my new pages and my new website.

Let’s protect our Teen’s, while they are texting and using social media site.


Thanks in advance

Diane Griffin

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Another Day Older and 70k Debt Free

10744074473?profile=originalDo you think your debt problems are insurmontable?  Listen and learn how this phenomenal author and entrepreneur Aleysha Proctor conquered her seventy thousand dollar debt demon. The fact is that wealthy women think, act and do things differently. Listen to the podcast online at Wealthy Radio

If you would like to learn how to manage your finances like a wealthy woman join the A Purse of Your Own Campaign  to financial empower one million women. 

Deborah Owens is a Wealth Coach and author of the critically acclaimed book A Purse of Your Own published by Simon and Schuster.  She is host of Wealthy Lifestyle Radio on the NPR affilliate WEAA 88.9 FM.  Listen online at Wealthy Radio  WEAA 88.9FM

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My job as a security expert requires me to assist others in protecting their physical and intellectual assets, which is why I am so passionate about educating parents and teens regarding the real safety issues that can be associated with inappropriate texting behaviors.   While parents certainly have the best intentions when they give teens a cell phone, they may also be setting themselves up for future legal issues.  Most teens lack the maturity and experience to know how to use their newfound technology freedom and without proper parent monitoring (and at times intervention), teens may find themselves (and their parents!) in legal hot water.


Just what kind of legal issues could you encounter?

  • The majority of states (including the District of Columbia and Guam) have a primary law prohibiting the use of cell phones while driving.  This means an officer can ticket the driver for the offense without any other traffic offense taking place. 
  • In many jurisdictions, there are parental liability laws that allow someone who is intentionally injured by a minor to hold the parents of that minor responsible—this may include acts of cyberbullying.
  • If a parent knows that his/her minor is engaged in inappropriate texting behaviors such as sexting or cyberbullying and does nothing to prevent it, the parent is at risk of being charged for contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
  • Extremely harmful online speech can violate criminal laws—this includes sending obscene or harassing text messages, creating or sending sexually explicit images of teens and taking a photo of someone in a private place such as a locker room.


Don’t wait for an incident to happen to you or your child before you talk to your teen about the consequences of sexting, cyberbullying or driving while texting.  It is your responsibility as a parent to keep the lines of communication open and to monitor your teen’s texting behavior.  For more information on the legal ramifications of inappropriate texting behaviors, checkout my new ebook, Safe Text: Protecting Your Teens from the Dangers of Texting:


Do you have a great tip for monitoring your teen’s texting?  Comment on this blog, post on our Facebook page or send us a tweet using the hashtag #safetext you’re your best teen texting advice.  At the end of August, we will randomly choose someone who has sent us a tip to receive a $25.00 Amazon gift certificate.


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Recently, a friend told me about a negative incident she had while dining at a large restaurant chain. Her waitress was very rude and inattentive. By the time her meal arrived, her colleague had finished eating. The last straw was realizing her steak was prepared wrong. Angrily, she took out her I Phone and sent out a tweet to her followers about her experience. Minutes later, she received an apology from the restaurant’s general manager; the cost of her meal was waived; and she was given a $100 gift certificate for a future visit. Imagine if that restaurant chain didn’t have a social media presence? What you don’t know can harm you!


It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it. Benjamin Franklin


Do you know what people are saying about you, your business or brand? Whether you are managing one or all, your online reputation is extremely important.


According to a recent study at Forrester Customer Experience Forum, a single negative comment using a social media platform, can equate to a loss of 30 potential clients. Can your business afford such a loss? If the answer is NO, then read on for tools and tips:

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Make Lemonade out of Lemons?

Due to a terrible accident, I found myself sitting in traffic instead of enjoying the wonderful Holiday Tour at The White House with some of my CMI colleagues.

As I turned around to make my drive back home, I found myself crying and pouting like I was a 5 year-old. I felt I had let Nell Merlino, and the rest of the Count Me In Group down. I am sure you have heard the phrase “When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade.” This ageless proverb has long served as a beacon of hope and comfort to grieving souls worn by life’s most complex and heart-wrenching difficulties.

Why am I thinking about Lemons?

While driving back home, tired and cold, I received a telephone call and at first I hesitated to answer it, and then a voice inside of me said go ahead, you have nothing better to do.

I answered the phone with a bit of attitude and said, “This is Diane, how may I help you?” The deep, masculine voice on the other end responded by saying, “Maybe we can help each other.” I immediately changed the tone in my voice and hung on every word the caller was saying. The caller started by stating he would like to start an affiliate program to help sell my book and, since he deals with military bases throughout the U.S., he would also like to introduce my company to some of his clients.

We chatted a little longer about how one would go about getting a government security clearance and the terrible unemployment rate, and I really started to feel a little better. We are women, we are use to disappointments in life, right? After the conversation ended, I realized several things:

  1. Nell and the Count Me In group will be there as long as I need them.
  2. I can sign up for The White House Tour anytime.
  3. I can send President Obama and Michelle the questions I had about the unemployment rate by email.

So, “Count Me In” while I make lemonade out of my lemons—with a slice of chocolate cake, tonight!

Diane Security First & Associates

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New ID Theft Targets Kids' SS Numbers


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The latest form of identity theft doesn't depend on stealing your Social Security number. Now thieves are targeting your kid's number long before the little one even has a bank account.

Hundreds of online businesses are using computers to find dormant Social Security numbers — usually those assigned to children who don't use them — then selling those numbers under another name to help people establish phony credit and run up huge debts they will never pay off.

Authorities say the scheme could pose a new threat to the nation's credit system. Because the numbers exist in a legal gray area, federal investigators have not figured out a way to prosecute the people involved.

"If people are obtaining enough credit by fraud, we're back to another financial collapse," said Linda Marshall, an assistant U.S. attorney in Kansas City. "We tend to talk about it as the next wave."

The sellers get around the law by not referring to Social Security numbers. Instead, just as someone might pay for an escort service instead of a prostitute, they refer to CPNs — for credit profile, credit protection or credit privacy numbers.

Julia Jensen, an FBI agent in Kansas City, discovered the scheme while investigating a mortgage-fraud case. She has given presentations to lenders across the Kansas City area to show them how easy it is to create a false credit score using these numbers.

"The back door is wide open," she said. "We're trying to get lenders to understand the risks."

It's not clear how widespread the fraud is, mostly because the scheme is difficult to detect and practiced by fly-by-night businesses.

But the deception is emerging as millions of Americans watch their credit scores sink to new lows. Figures from April show that 25.5 percent of consumers — nearly 43.4 million people — now have a credit score of 599 or below, marking them as poor risks for lenders. They will have trouble getting credit cards, auto loans or mortgages under the tighter lending standards banks now use.

The scheme works like this:

Online companies use computers and publicly available information to find random Social Security numbers. The numbers are run through public databases to determine whether anyone is using them to obtain credit. If not, they are offered for sale for a few hundred to several thousand dollars.

Because the numbers often come from young children who have no money of their own, they carry no spending history and offer a chance to open a new, unblemished line of credit. People who buy the numbers can then quickly build their credit rating in a process called "piggybacking," which involves linking to someone else's credit file.

Many of the business selling the numbers promise to raise customers' credit scores to 700 or 800 within six months.

If they default on their payments, and the credit is withdrawn, the same people can simply buy another number and start the process again, causing a steep spiral of debt that could conceivably go on for years before creditors discover the fraud.

Jensen compared the businesses that sell the numbers to drug dealers.

"There's good stuff and bad stuff," she said. "Bad stuff is a dead person's Social Security number. High-quality is buying a number the service has checked to make sure no one else is using it."

Credit bureaus can quickly identify applications that use numbers taken from dead people by consulting the Social Security Administration's death index.

Social Security numbers follow a logical pattern that includes a person's age and where he or she lived when the number was issued. Because the system is somewhat predictable, sellers can make educated guesses and find unused numbers using trial and error.

A "clean" CPN is a number that has been validated as an active Social Security number and is not on file with the credit bureaus. The most likely source of such numbers are children and longtime prison inmates, experts said.

Robert Damosi, an analyst with Javelin Strategy & Research, said the crime can come back to hurt children when they get older and seek credit for the first time, only to discover their Social Security number has been used by someone else.

"Those are the numbers criminals want. They can use them several years without being detected," Damosi said. "There are not enough services that look at protecting the Social Security numbers or credit history of minors."

Since the mortgage meltdown of 2008, banks have tightened lending policies, but many credit decisions are still based solely on credit scores provided by FICO Inc. and the three major credit unions: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax.

Federal investigators say many businesses do not realize that a growing number of those credit scores are based on fraudulent information.

"Lenders don't understand that when they pay money to go through a service, they may be receiving false information," Jensen said. "They think when they order the information from credit bureaus, it must be true."

Without special scrutiny, credit profiles created with the scheme are not immediately distinguishable from other newly created, legitimate files.

Investigators say the businesses clearly know they are selling Social Security numbers, but it's difficult to prove. The sellers use complex disclaimers that disavow illegal activity and warn customers against using their numbers in place of Social Security numbers.

The businesses also instruct customers to provide false information when using the number to apply for credit. Customers are told to use their real name and date of birth, but to avoid listing any addresses or phone numbers they've used in the past. They're also told to avoid any other information that connects the new, clean credit profile with the old, damaged one.

Craig Watts, a spokesman for credit reporting agency FICO Inc., said FICO has tools available for businesses to protect themselves from this type of fraud, but they are not cheap. And many lenders are slow to adopt FICO's new formulas, which are updated every few years.

Some companies that sell the numbers have lavish, high-tech websites. Others run no-frills ads on sites like Craigslist.

Jim Buckmaster, president and CEO of the San Francisco-based Craigslist, recently told the AP in an e-mail that there were "fewer than 200" classifieds on his site that used the word "CPN."

Within an hour of that e-mail exchange, dozens of the ads in cities such as Las Vegas, Los Angeles and New York had been pulled from the site. Many were reposted the next day.

An AP reporter called several of the sites, but got only recordings asking callers to leave a message with contact information.

Experts say the fraud will be difficult to stop because it's so easily concealed and targets such vulnerable people. Other than checking with the credit bureaus to see if there is a credit file associated with your child's Social Security number, spokesmen at FICO, the Social Security Administration and the FTC said there are no specific tools for safeguarding the number.

"This is an invisible crime, with invisible victims who don't have enough support out there to help them," said Linda Foley of the ID Theft Resource Center in San Diego.

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