Thursday, January 25, 2007

Researching and Obtaining Public Records

What Type of Information Do I Need?

If you want to go down to the county recorders office and get a copy of the marriage record for John and Mary Johnson, you would first need to know in what county the license was filed. Without knowing that information, you would have a harder time obtaining the records. What county were they married in, and better yet, what city and the year? You will need to know Mary’s maiden name as well, it’s a little more difficult if you only know that Jane’s last name is Johnson because she married John. The ideal amount of information to have would be: Mary Jane and John Johnson married on June 1, 1985 in Los Angeles County, in Norwalk. Their marriage records would be filed in Norwalk, at the County Recorders Office. If they were married in a smaller area, you could just go straight to the county office.

If you are looking for general information, then you can also perform a search online with much less information. That type of search will then return more information than you have, and with the added information you can find the answers you are looking for. So depending on where you live, who you are looking for, and where the records you are seeking are located, it is often cheaper to just
get public records online.

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Contacting Loved Ones from the Past

Ever wondered about contacting that lost love of yours? With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, it’s time to take action! What a perfect time to reconnect, and possibly rekindle that old flame. It may be easier than you think. But what will you say? It’s been so long, and your nerves take a jolt when you think of saying ‘hi’ for the first time in years. But if you don’t do it, you’ll keep thinking about what could have been.

If you’re considering finding people from your past, and searching for and contacting your lost loves, there’s a few things you’ll need to have to be prepared for the search. People are relatively easy to find, as everyone leaves a paper trail behind them as they travel through life. These paper trails leave bits of information in the public records system, such as through marriage and divorce records, birth records, real estate information, and other common documents. The records are compiled into online databases, and are accessed when you use resources such as to find your lost loves. So now searching for your lost love is quick and easy, and you could reconnect sooner than you had hoped.

It is very common that people will remember their past, and think…what if? I have known people who married their high school sweetheart – 30 years later! It’s a wonderful feeling when you first contact a lost love, especially when that person is equally excited to hear from you. Searching for lost loves is always going to bring up memories, so when you finally meet, remember to be sensitive to the fact that your lost love may be surprised to hear from you. Give everything time to sink in, it can be quite emotional when you first speak to one another.

Once you decide that you are going to search for someone, you have past the first hurdle. Sometimes it’s easier to find someone you haven’t talked to in a year or so than a person you’ve lost contact with for many years. Who you look for depends on how hard it will be. For instance, if you are looking for a man from your past, there’s not much of a chance that his name has changed. Perhaps the place he calls home changes over the years, but not so much his name. However, with women, it can be a whole different challenge. Generally a woman’s name will change when she becomes married, and sometime finding her with her new name is a challenge. For some people, they continue to live in the same area, and you may even know if she is married, and to who. But if you haven’t been in contact with your lost love in quite some time, the challenge may be finding her new name. You may consider contacting a close friend or relative, chances are they still keep contact with her, and may be easier to find. But even with the information you might have, it can be simple and easy, and in some cases, just a few clicks of your mouse.

So once you have the information, it’s time to go for it, procrastination never found anyone, but searching for them does. So be brave, and take on the challenge to find someone you miss, someone you haven’t been in contact with, and old friend or an old flame, just in time for that romantic day. Can you imagine anything more romantic and meaningful than receiving a card or flowers from someone you’ve thought about over the years? Well now’s your chance to do that for your lost love.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Tips for Preventing Identity Theft

Knowing some of the things that are considered private information can help you to keep your identity safe. It’s not enough anymore just to protect your social security number, but becoming more and more likely that someone can gain enough personal information to do some hefty damage on your credit. If your information ends up in the wrong hands, it can be used or sold for future use. Periodically checking your credit report can help you to keep track of how your information is being used, and by whom.

If you’re under the impression that your social security number is the only way that someone can steal your identity, it’s probably time you know that things are different now. In today’s world, a simple phone number could be enough information for someone to rack up some bills in your name. Key pieces of your personal information can be used to order services such as phone, electric, or cable. Identity thieves also use the identities of others to obtain loans, cars, credit cards, or make big ticket purchases. Some have even gotten a driver’s license under their assumed identity.

Knowing how your information ends up in the hands of would-be thieves can help you to protect your information, and helps you to keep control over your credit status. Many people readily fill out online forms, without checking to be sure that the website is legitimate. Web users are asked to fill out online forms for just about everything, but there are some that should be avoided like the plague. Here are some of the types of websites that should send up a warning flag, what they might ask for, and how you can recognize their warning signals. These websites are usually sent in an email:

  • Your bank will not send emails requesting your username and password in order to update their records, because of a security breach, or for any other reason.
  • If you get an email requesting your username or password for any type of online account, report it as spam immediately.
  • eBay and PayPal will always address you by your username, and not “valued customer” or “PayPal user”.
  • If you receive and suspicious emails, such as a message from an eBay member when you have not recently sold or purchased anything on eBay, forward the suspicious emails to either eBay or PayPal, and report the email as spam.
  • The ambassador of Nigeria, or any other country, would not email you to get assistance, and all you have to do is deposit a check of $35 million into your bank account, with the promise of sending a $25million wire transfer back, to an account in the U.K. This email could come from a fake minister, ambassador, Nigerian royals such as prince or princess, or could even come from a supposed heir to a fortune.
  • Whatever their story, and it’s usually a long one, disregard the possibility of becoming rich. Their “cashier checks” are generally fake or forged, and will bounce. Their hopes lie in the error of the naive, by depositing the fake check, immediately withdrawing the amount you were instructed, and instantly wiring them the money. The check may not show as having bounced for up to two weeks, overdrawing your bank account by millions.
  • While it is possible to purchase prescription medications over the internet, it is highly unlikely that you would be introduced to them through an uninvited email.
  • Your best bet is to ask people you trust, double check any U.S. business through the Better Business Bureau (BBB), or do a Google search, and find the company that seems the most trustworthy, and has a secure site. (i.e., https://)

It’s no small deal to have your identity stolen, and it can cause you years of credit problems if it happens to you. While some creditors are aware that it happens, and may help you to restore your credit, others have been cracking down on consumers who try to pass of bad debt as the work of an identity thief.

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