Archive for December 8, 2008

Medical ID Theft

Posted in Business, Identity Theft, Legal, News on December 8, 2008 by truthwillrise
The Latest Identity Crisis

Medical Identity Theft

By Jennifer Nelson
Publication Date: 12/07/2008
When Brandon Sharp, 37, of Spring, Tex., applied for his first home loan, his lender called with bad news: The $20,000 in unpaid hospital bills on his credit report had damaged his chances for a mortgage. But Sharp hadn’t had any health problems. He was a victim of medical ID theft. Someone had stolen his information in order get health care.

According to the World Privacy Forum, a nonprofit consumer-education group, medical ID theft may affect up to half a million people—many of whom don’t even know about it. And unlike “ traditional” ID theft, it can jeopardize not only your credit but also your health. “If the thief has diabetes, it’s now on record that you have diabetes,” says Joy Pritts of Georgetown’s Health Policy Institute. “That might factor into what medications you’re given.” There’s also potential for exhausting your insurance benefits—not to mention the time and effort needed to undo a thief’s work.

The Federal Trade Commission estimates that it takes 30 hours for consumers to sort out a financial-identity theft. When medical records are involved, however, it takes even longer. Chuck Ottati, 33, of York, Pa., is still fixing the mess made by an acquaintance who stole his Social Security card and used it to run up thousands of dollars in hospital services. The thief was caught and spent time in jail, but since it can take months or even years for a hospital’s collection agency to report charges to credit bureaus, Ottati continues to receive collection notices today. “ It’s never over,” he says.

Complicating matters is the Privacy Rule under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. In theory, the rule permits you access to your medical records and gives you the right to have mistakes fixed. But in reality, “once something has been put into your medical record, doctors are very reluctant to remove it,” says Pritts. Ottati, for one, had to hire an identity-theft protection service to monitor and correct erroneous charges for him.

Criminals can gain access to your health information through a lost or stolen Social Security card, driver’s license, or health-insurance card. In some cases, health-care workers with legitimate access steal your information and sell it.

To prevent your identity from becoming the next hot commodity, guard your health-insurance card carefully. Don’t carry it with you unless you’re visiting a provider, and never give out or write your policy number on health premium checks. Shred old documents containing health information, visit trustworthy facilities that require a photo ID, and use only reputable websites when applying for insurance online.

In addition, periodically request a review of your medical records to ensure that the information they contain is yours. Ask your health insurer for a statement of claims paid, and obtain credit reports from all three credit-reporting agencies yearly. Immediately dispute anything suspicious.

Brandon Sharp cleared his name in time to buy his home but says, “It’s a real hassle and a constant struggle. I’ve adapted to taking care of it, but do I wish it wasn’t there? Oh, yes.”

If You’re a Victim
1 File a police report. It may be helpful in clearing charges with providers and resolving insurance issues.
2 File a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights.
3 Check your explanation of insurer’s benefits and question items you don’t recognize.
4 Put a freeze or monitoring alert on your credit. It won’t prevent medical ID theft, but it will inform you of new charges.
5 Consider hiring an identity-theft protection service. For a monthly fee, it will track, dispute, and correct erroneous charges for you.

This is an excellent article outlining one of the segments of Identity Theft that we are not being told about. Medical Identity Theft is one of the fastest growing segments of Identity theft. The article says that is about 30 hours to repair an ID theft situation it is actually 600 hours. I am glad it recommends having some type of Identity Theft plan and let me say that you want it to have these components:
1. An up to date copy of your credit report and one that will not damage your credit score when it was requested
2. 24/7 Credit monitoring and notification. Whenever something new hits your crdit file, you want to know immediately, especially if it was not you.
3.Full Restoration Services perfomed for you by licensed investigators.
4. Access to Legal counsel because you 80% of Identity Theft cases require a lawyer at some point.
If it does not have these components, then you are fooling yourself and wasting your money. For more information on a service that fufills all these requirements. , I recommend logging on to www.prepaidlegal.com/info/bking62.

Microsoft wants to get under your skin

Posted in News, Truth/Freedom on December 8, 2008 by truthwillrise

Microsoft wants to get under your skin

HealthVault links up with VeriMed RFID chips

HealthVault links up with VeriMed RFID chips

Free Download – Security Web 2.0

Microsoft’s HealthVault, the medical records database, is to be integrated with VeriMed’s human-embedded RFID tags, allowing doctors to access the medical records of unconscious patients with a quick scan of the arm.

VeriMed consists of an RFID tag that is embedded in the arm of a hopefully willing participant, and responds with a 16-digital identity code when queried at 134KHz. This code can then be used to identify the person through VeriChip’s website, and will soon be able to link to their medical records as stored on Microsoft’s HealthVault system.

“VeriMed adds an exciting RFID-based option for HealthVault users trying to keep themselves and their families safe,” says Sean Nolan, the chief architect for HealthVault, quoted in RFID Journal. If you’re excited about the idea of being electronically indexed then this is probably the technology for you.

Not that the future of VeriMed is in any way certain, despite the Microsoft link. The company’s parent, VeriChip, has already tried to sell off the human-implanting part of the business as punters prove remarkably reluctant to be serial-numbered. Should the business fail entirely, a connection to HealthVault could be the best hope for the poor souls who’ve already succumbed to having chips embedded in their arms. ®

The truth behind LifeLock’s guaranteed protection from ID theft

Posted in Business, General, Identity Theft on December 8, 2008 by truthwillrise

As someone who works with people daily in the realm of Identity Theft, I have become a student of this crisis. I am always having to learn something new to stay sharp because of changing legislations as well as all the new “Identity Theft Protection” companies that spring up every five minutes or so. I see that many of these companies have no idea what they are talking about and are telling people many wrong things about this problem. LifeLock is no different. It is really criminal in most cases. It is not a victimless crime and it has much more to do than with just your credit. I will allow the article to tell the story because it says a lot of things that I already knew. If you want some real information about what Id Theft really is, I would highly recommend going to www.brandonjking.info or www.greatjoboption.com/brandonking.

The Truth Behind LifeLock’s Guaranteed Protection From Id Theft

The truth behind LifeLock's guaranteed protection from ID theft

By Herb Weisbaum

How much would you pay to protect yourself from identity theft?

A company called LifeLock sells this peace of mind for just $110 a year, and it backs up its service with a $1 million guarantee.

But can the company deliver? I decided to find out.

The pitch is mighty convincing. It involves Todd Davis, the CEO of LifeLock, giving out his social security number. Consumer groups say these ads give potential consumers a false sense of security.

“And I think it’s misleading to imply to people that this service, the LifeLock service, is so good that you can be irresponsible, totally irresponsible and show your social security number all over the place,” said Jeff Blyskal with Consumer Reports.

I met with Davis earlier this year. As expected, he had no problem sharing his social security number. I asked him to explain how he can prevent identity theft from happening.

“The primary front line of defense that we put in place is with fraud alerts that we place with the major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, TransUnion – and renew those for you every 90 days,” he said.

Fraud alerts are designed to reduce the chances someone will steal your ID and open an account in your name. But they’re not perfect. That’s where LifeLock’s $1 million guarantee comes in.

“If the service fails for any reason, we actually go use our expertise, hire whoever we need to hire, cover all loses, all expenses up to $1 million dollars so the victim is not out time or money because of this fast-growing crime of identity theft,” Davis said.

Cover all losses? That’s not what LifeLock says on its Web site. The terms and conditions clearly state the company is only responsible for failure of its service. It will not pay you “for any loss you incur.”

And here’s one more thing the ads don’t tell you. Davis himself was a victim of identity theft even after using the LifeLock service.

“A fraud alert does not make you bullet-proof to identity theft. So there was an individual who was able to go out in Fort Worth, Texas, get a $500 pay day loan because the issuing pay day loan company did not use one of the major credit bureaus,” he said.

Keep in mind, LifeLock’s guarantee wouldn’t cover Davis in this case because he “unnecessarily” shared his social security number — a violation of LifeLock policies.

One more thing I learned: at least eight lawsuits were filed against the company this year. The major claim is that LifeLock makes “false or misleading statements” about its services. Davis dismisses the legal action. He says he has 1.3 million happy customers and that anyone who has invoked the guarantee has been satisfied.

Microsoft Partners With Implantable RFID Chip Maker VeriChip

Posted in News, Truth/Freedom on December 8, 2008 by truthwillrise

I have been reading up about the RFID chip and its uses and implementations and it concerns me because it seems to be geared at tracking and controlling us. When I read this article, it seemed benign on the surface, but when you understand that they having been talking about implanting the human population with microchips for many years, I realized this is one of the ways they are going to sell it to the people. I refuse to be implanted and you should do the same. I urge you to research this contraption. A good website to start is www.spychips.com.

 

Microsoft Partners With Implantable RFID Chip Maker VeriChip

Users of VeriChip’s VeriMed technology can now utilize a Microsoft HealthVault account to access and manage their personal health data stored in the VeriMed database.

 

By Beth Bacheldor

Dec. 2, 2008—Microsoft plans to make VeriChip‘s VeriMed Health Link system accessible through Microsoft’s HealthVault platform, a secure, online repository that consumers can use for free to manage their health records. The VeriMed Health Link system includes implantable passive RFID tags used for human patient identification and medical records tracking, as well as a hosted database for storing electronic medical records. According to Sean Nolan, the chief architect for HealthVault, VeriChip is the first RFID company to partner with Microsoft on the online platform.

“We created the HealthVault platform to help jump-start innovation around health care,” Nolan says. “Our belief was that if we did the hard plumbing work to make it easy for individuals to collect and share their health information, forward-looking companies would seize on the opportunity to provide new solutions to difficult health-care challenges. VeriChip’s decision to integrate the VeriMed product with HealthVault is clear evidence that the market is responding.”

Sean Nolan

Unveiled in 2007, HealthVault lets consumers set up their own private health-record repository so they can manage their health and wellness information online. To protect this personal data, the information is encrypted and users can also set up personal privacy controls, including a password, and determine which information is stored in the account, as well as who can access it (see Microsoft Seeks RFID Support for HealthVault).

Today, Nolan says, HealthVault is integrated with more than 40 applications and more than 50 devices, including glucometers, heart rate monitors, pedometers, weight scales and blood pressure monitors. These devices can be utilized to download data directly into a HealthVault account. “In addition,” he adds, “we announced our device certification and logo program—devices that have been tested to ensure they meet certain standards for uploading data to HealthVault are eligible to display a ‘Works with Microsoft HealthVault’ logo on products, packaging and marketing material.”

The VeriMed Health Link system is designed primarily to assist in emergency situations by providing nurses and doctors with vital patient information. Each VeriMed implantable tag (which operates at 134 kHz and is compliant with the ISO 11784 and 11785 standards) is encoded with a unique 16-digit ID number associated with the patient’s medical records stored in the VeriChip-hosted database. When an unresponsive patient enters the hospital, the staff can employ an RFID interrogator to scan that individual’s arm. If the patient has had a VeriMed chip embedded, the reader will indicate its unique ID number, which can then be inputted manually, or directed wirelessly to VeriChip’s Web-based database. If the facility is an approved care provider, it can immediately access the patient’s identification and health records.

Thanks to the VeriChip-Microsoft agreement, VeriMed Health Link customers can open a HealthVault account and use it to access and manage their personal health records and data that are stored in the VeriMed database. “VeriMed adds an exciting RFID-based option for HealthVault users trying to keep themselves and their families safe,” Nolan says.

Despite the Microsoft partnership, the future of VeriChip—and its VeriMed Health Link business—is uncertain. In May 2008, VeriChip announced it had hired investment banking firm Kaufman Bros. to assist in the sale of the VeriMed Health Link business, as well as the possible sale of the entire company (see VeriChip to Place Implantable Division on Block). At that time, the firm also announced it was selling its Xmark division—which sells RFID-based products and services designed to help track infants in hospitals, as well as other patients and physical assets—to Stanley Works. That $45 million deal was finalized in July (see Stanley Bolsters RFID Portfolio With VeriChip’s Ex-Subsidiary).

Last month, VeriChip announced that private investment and business consulting company R&R Consulting Partners, owned by VeriChip’s former chairman and CEO, Scott R. Silverman, purchased 5.4 million shares of VeriChip common stock, held by Digital Angel Corp. Digital Angel manufactures RFID tags that are implanted in pets and wildlife for tracking purposes, as well as active transponders used as emergency location beacons to find people during search-and-rescue applications (see Personal Location Beacons Usage Grows). The deal provides Silverman, who had existing holdings of 861,000 shares, with control of 6.2 million shares—or 53 percent—of VeriChip

In a separate transaction, VeriChip also purchased from Digital Angel all patents related to an RFID-enabled sensor tag that could make it easier for diabetics to monitor their blood-sugar level. Digital Angel, VeriChip and Receptors had been working together on this tag (see VeriChip, Digital Angel Partner With Receptors LLC to Develop Glucose Sensor). Receptors is a company in the field of proteomics (the study of proteins) and the development of artificial receptors.

VeriChip’s difficulties do not worry Nolan, however. “Innovation can be hard—and innovation in health care all the more so, especially given the nature of the economy today,” he says. “We’ve created HealthVault as an open ecosystem so that the market can ultimately decide which new ideas will succeed, and which will not. VeriChip’s business is all about new ideas, and we are excited they’ve chosen to work with HealthVault.”

Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)What it is, where to find it and how to avoid it.

Posted in News, Truth/Freedom on December 8, 2008 by truthwillrise

I have been reading much about the chemicals in the products that we all use on an everyday basis and how many of them are causing health problems and we do not realize it it. I came across this information on http://www.natural-health-information-centre.com and saw this was some great information that we all need to know but we are not being told. The site has other great information on natural products and where you can obtain them. I would recommend taking a look. It may very well save your life.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES).
What it is, where to find it and how to avoid it

Both Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) and its close relative Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) are commonly used in many soaps, shampoos, detergents, toothpastes and other products that we expect to “foam up”. Both chemicals are very effective foaming agents, chemically known as surfactants.

Unfortunately, both sodium laureth sulfate and its cousin are also very dangerous, highly irritating chemicals. Far from giving “healthy shining hair” and “beautiful skin”, soaps and shampoos containing sodium laureth sulfate can lead to direct damage to the hair follicle, skin damage, permanent eye damage in children and even liver toxicity.

Although sodium laureth sulfate is somewhat less irritating than SLS, it cannot be metabolised by the liver and its effects are therefore much longer-lasting. This not only means it stays in the body tissues for longer, but much more precious energy is used getting rid of it.

A report published in the Journal of The American College of Toxicology in 1983 showed that concentrations of SLS as low as 0.5% could cause irritation and concentrations of 10-30% caused skin corrosion and severe irritation. National Institutes of Health “Household Products Directory” of chemical ingredients lists over 80 products that contain SLS and SLES. Some soaps have concentrations of up to 30%, which the ACT report called “highly irritating and dangerous“.

Shampoos are among the most frequently reported products to the FDA. Reports include eye irritation, scalp irritation, tangled hair, swelling of the hands, face and arms and split and fuzzy hair. This is highly characteristic of sodium laureth sulfate and almost definitely directly related to its use.

Click here to learn of the possible health effects of sodium laureth sulfate

So why is a dangerous chemical like sodium laureth sulfate used in our soaps and shampoos?

The answer is simple – it is cheap. The sodium laureth sulfate found in our soaps is exactly the same as you would find in a car wash or even a garage, where it is used to degrease car engines.

In the same way as it dissolves the grease on car engines, SLES also dissolves the oils on your skin, which can cause a drying effect. It is also well documented that it denatures skin proteins, which causes not only irritation, but also allows environmental contaminants easier access to the lower, sensitive layers of the skin.

This denaturing of skin proteins may even be implicated in skin and other cancers.

Perhaps most worryingly, sodium laureth sulfate is also absorbed into the body from skin application. Once it has been absorbed, one of the main effects of SLS is to mimic the activity of the hormone Oestrogen. This has many health implications and may be responsible for a variety of health problems from PMS and Menopausal symptoms to dropping male fertility and increasing female cancers such as breast cancer, where oestrogen levels are known to be involved.

Products commonly found to contains SLS or Sodium Laureth Sulfate

Soaps
Shampoos
Bubble-baths
Tooth paste
Washing-up liquid / dish soap
Laundry detergent
Childrens soaps / shampoos
Stain Remover
Carpet Cleaner
Fabric glue
Body wash
Shave cream
Mascara
Mouthwash
Skin cleanser
Moisture lotion / Moisturiser
Sun Cream

To find hair, personal and household products without ANY SLS or other harmful chemicals, please click this link – SLS-free products.

The use of sodium laureth sulfate in childrens products is particularly worrying. It is known that, whether it gets in the eyes or not, skin application DOES lead to measurable concentrations in the eyes of children. This is known to affect eye development, and the damage caused in this manner is irreversible. If you have children DO NOT USE products containing sodium laureth sulfate or SLS – they will thank you for it one day.

Do not believe that just because a product is labeled as “natural” it is free from SLS or sodium laureth sulfate. Most common brands of “Natural” or “Herbal” shampoos and cleansers still use these harmful chemicals as their main active ingredient – check your labels!

That is not to say that you can’t get sodium laureth sulfate-free shampoos, soaps, detergents and toothpastes. Some highly reputable companies have been producing such products for years. These products not only contains no sodium laureth sulfate, they are also free of other harmful chemical colorings, preservatives and even flavourings.

SLS-free products and Recommended product for each category
SLS-Free Soaps Natural Soap
SLS-free Shampoos Herbal shampoo 100% natural
SLS-Free Hair Colouring Natural hair colouring
SLS-free Bubble-baths Aromatherapy bath crystals
SLS-free Tooth paste Natural Toothpaste
SLS-free Washing-up liquid / dish soap Dish Soap (click “products”, then “newbrite”)
SLS-free Laundry detergent Newbrite (click “products”, then”newbrite”)
SLS-free Childrens soaps / shampoos Natural shampoo
SLS-free Body wash Natural body wash
SLS-free Shave cream His and hers shave soap
SLS-free Cosmetics Chemical-free cosmetics (Click “products”, then “Leslie Deeann Cosmetics”)
SLS-free Mouthwash Eliminator mouthwash (Clik “products” then “dental care”)
SLS-free Skin cleanser Clearskin face wash
SLS-free Moisture lotion / Moisturiser Natural Hand and body cream
SLS-free Sun Cream

 

Others forget to take supplies on vacation or business trips. Take our advice and make sure you replace the products in your wash-kit as well as your bathroom. You will be very grateful you did.

The potential effects of SLS on health are discussed here and the NLM’s data on the subject is available here.

Back from Sodium Laureth Sulfate to Harmful Chemicals

Financial Bailout Balloons to the Trillions

Posted in News on December 8, 2008 by truthwillrise

Financial Bailout Balloons to the Trillions

More Than Just TARP, the Bailout Is the Costliest U.S. Expenditure Ever