Keep a Watchful Eye

eyes21.jpgWhile you check out the new holiday decorations in your neighborhood in the next few weeks, keep an eye out for anything suspicious.

When I spoke with police officers across the country, they really stressed that tips from citizens can really make an important difference in investigations.

So if you notice something strange, don’t take the time to judge it for yourself – call it in and report it to the police – let them decide whether the info is of use or not.

What’s Your Number One Tip?

celebrationGot your own piece of advice or great story you’re itching to share?

Well, now’s your chance!

In the spirit of the holiday season, e-mail us the best piece of advice you’ve received – the one thing that someone shared with you that got you through, made a difference, changed your life.

We’ll “pay it forward” on New Year’s Day and post all of the advice we receive. And, we’ll pick the five pieces of advice we think really make a difference and those five people will get to choose from great prizes!

Learn more…

Number One Tip…

When I mention to other people and talk about the past interviews and articles I’ve written, often I’ll be asked to name the best piece of advice I’ve camera

Without a doubt, the best piece of advice is: to keep a home inventory.

Why is a home inventory so important? If a fire damages your home or if a burglar steals your stuff, you’ll need to describe the stolen or damaged items in full detail in your insurance claim.

If you don’t have a detailed record of the belongings in your home, you may not be able to remember what you had in the first place and then you won’t receive money for your lost items!

So take an hour or two, grab the video camera and get started!

Create Stronger Passwords

firewallA reader sent in this great tip about a free password-generating software program available online:

A good program out there for password management is Any Password.

It generates better passwords than standard text ones and it lets you create folders to organize passwords in categories. You can also use the password generator to create usernames for certain sites such as banks and credit card companies.

Thanks for the great tip!

Have any tips of your own you’d like to share? Comment below or e-mail me!

Your Home Is Where Your Identity Is…

identity.jpgI keep hearing about more and more cases of identity theft from my friends and family.

My friend who recently moved to Denver noticed fraudulent charges on her account only a week after she arrived! She thinks her credit card numbers were stolen after purchasing items online on her home computer.

With all the latest spyware and virus technology, it’s necessary to practice identity theft prevention at home.

Why? Often your home computer doesn’t have the firewall and virus protection that your work computer might, so it’s important to make home computer security a regular routine.

Here’s a few tips I’ve put into practice:

  • I try to remember to run my virus-scanning and spyware software at least once a week. Make sure that it’s activated and up-to-date, too!
  • I now use my credit card instead of my debit card when shopping online (you’ll only be held responsible for $50 worth of fraudulent charges with a credit card).
  • I’ve updated my banking and e-mail passwords to now have letters, numbers and symbols (i.e. K34!$25M) for extra security.

While the tips won’t be foolproof, at least they give me a little extra peace of mind!

Have your own ID theft tips or stories? E-mail me!

Emergency Contact Numbers

On Friday night, I got a phone call and had a very interesting conversation:
“This is Chief So-and-So from the Minneapolis Fire Department. Do you know Laurie S.?”

“Uh, vaguely. I just met her at a dinner party I hosted a few nights ago. Is everything okay?”

“Yeah, there was a little garage fire here and she’s got your name and number written down here. We’re just trying to locate her.”

I thought it was a bit strange that they contacted me but really, how would they know that I had just met Laurie the other day? Think about it for a moment…if you had a garage fire, would first responders or even your neighbors know how to contact you?

So take a moment today to post your own name and cell phone number, along with other important emergency #’s, somewhere in your own home like on the fridge or by your landline phone. Choose an obvious place where someone can find it in a hurry!!

Fly Like An Eagle

airplane3.jpgAs you might have heard, we’re gearing up for our latest addition to the site…Travel!

I recently got back from a trip to San Francisco, or “The City,” as it’s proudly called by the locals. Thankfully, I really love to travel and I think I might be one of the few misguided souls in this world who actually loves airports (people-watching!).

But despite my secret crush on airplane pretzels and in-flight magazine crossword puzzles, I have a travel pet peeve: airport security. It always takes SO long!

So if you’re like me and hate waiting in line, I’ve put together a handy little guide to get you through security just that extra bit faster…

Travel Sneak Preview: An Insider’s Guide to Airport Security…

Have travel tips of your own? E-mail me!

Welcome to the blog!

symbol Hi everyone!

Welcome to the blog. I’m so excited to get this thing started – it’s been a long time in the making!

Each day, I’ll be writing about the latest news, top tips and even include personal experiences and stories from both me and you.

Feel free to e-mail me your comments, questions, tips or topic suggestions – I’d love to hear from you!

Be safe, be smart,

Marta Ruohoniemi
marta [at]

Experts + Real People = Advice for You