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Is That Free Offer Legit? Tips that Can Help Everyone loves the chance to cash in some great free stuff, but navigating the world of freebie offers, especially online, can be like navigating a minefield. Unfortunately, a lot of people out there use the love others have of taking advantage of free deals to scam them out of money or personal details that can be used in identity theft scams. All of this gloom and doom doesn’t mean that you have to give up on free things altogether, however. The good news is that there are some simple, common sense steps you can take protect yourself from online freebie scammers. These tips will help give you the confidence that you can enjoy taking advantage of free offers without the fear of ending up facing some negative consequences. First and foremost, when you are checking out a free offer on the Internet, take a closer look at the website, beyond just reading the words and figuring out what you have to do get the free goods. Does the website look like it was made by a professional, with some consideration, or does it look like a five minute amateur job? Are typos and clip art the order of the day, or does it look like a website any business would be proud to call its own? What about the web address – is a domain name that matches the business the website claims to represent, or is a “free” domain address that includes the name of the domain company in the address? All of these factors can be red flags that determine the difference between a scam and a legitimate free offer. If the website looks half hearted or doesn’t seem to exactly “match” the company it purports to represent, then don’t even think about trying to get anything from it. When you’re reasonably sure that the website is actually the front of a legitimate business, it’s time to turn your attention to the privacy policy of the website. The best privacy policies guarantee you that the email address you use to sign up for this offer will not be shared with any other companies – but when it comes to free stuff, those kinds of privacy policies are few and far between. Many companies cover the costs of the free things you get by selling your email address to other companies that may have offers you they think you might be interested in. If you can’t find a privacy policy that lets you opt out of getting unwanted solicitations, at least make sure the site is secure and that any personal information can’t be obtained by hackers. Other things to look out for when you’re looking for freebies is products that are free but that require you to pay a shipping charge that seems beyond the pale for what it should cost to ship and freebie offers that seem to ask for way more information than needed for what the product actually is. Twenty pages of personal information for a travel size bottle of shampoo? That doesn’t make sense, and it should set off warning bells in your head. All of these red flags aside, giving out some amount of personal information comes part and parcel with freebie offers. There are a few things you can do to make life easier on yourself. Set up an email account that you will use specifically for freebie offers so all of the inevitable spam doesn’t clog up your main account. Use a phony phone number (preferably one that can’t be anyone else’s, like one that starts with 555). Last but not least, if you’re unsure about an offer, keep on moving. Better safe than sorry.

Movie Copyright Law College Students Are Being Targeted For Breaking Movie Copyright Law Many people have taken up the hobby of downloading movies and songs on the Internet and sharing them with their friends and family online. However, this is direct violation of the movie copyright law. Not surprisingly, the biggest violators of the movie copyright law are students. It is not surprising that the movie industry sector is sending out copyright infringements claims to college universities around the country. One reason that college students may be the hardest hit when it comes to violations brought against them for infringing on movie copyright law is that they are not aware of how serious a crime it truly it. Many college students who have suits brought against them are shocked, to say the least. They question why they were not warned about the perils of downloading movies and songs online and passing them along to friends. However, with the rise of claims that are being handed down, no one can claim ignorance for much longer. Word is being spread near and far that if you are engaging in illegal downloading and/or sharing then you can be brought to court. College students are learning the hard way that it is against the law and in violation of the movie copyright law to share or download copyrighted material. Many colleges and universities are now stating in their handbooks that it is against the law and the university rules to illegally download movies, music and other forms of media online using a school computer. In addition to illegal downloading and sharing software, the files take up space on the computer systems and use a considerable amount of bandwidth. While most universities and colleges will not look at the content an individual has -- they can isolate and identify the individuals who are hogging up the bandwidth by using illegal file sharing software. The movie and music industries have stepped in and are demanding restitution for illegally downloaded movies, music and other forms of copyrighted media. They have detection agencies that have the technology to identify and trace copyright infringements straight to their source. Once the computer is located they can notify the university or the college that they are in violation. The university will be told that they have a copyright infringement claim against them. Based on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act once the computer is isolated Internet access is terminated to that computer and court proceedings can begin. Does this sound far fetched? Well, it is not. You should know that in April of 2003 four students were sued by Recording Industry Association of America. These students attended Princeton, Michigan Technical University and Rensselear Polytechnic Institute. One student alone had an estimated liability of $150 billion. When you consider that you can be charged $750 per song that is illegally downloaded, the total can add up fast! The good thing is the lawsuits against the college students were settled for amounts less than $20,000. That is not pocket change for college students – or anyone for that matter! Movies and music are meant to be enjoyed. However, illegally downloading movies and music is not much different than walking into a video store and sticking DVDs and CDs in your pocket. Be careful. You do not want to be caught violating the movie copyright law.

Let your Resume Speak Volumes for that Next Big Job Before you even get through the door of any job interview, there is already one document that has done the talking for you – your resume. A good resume can mean the difference between getting the call of the interview and waiting by phone, and a well written, thoughtful resume can make you stand out over and above other applications with similar skills and work experience. Let your resume give you the edge on that next big job by following a few simple tips. When you sit down to write your resume, you need to plan it out before you start typing. There are two main formats for a resume: the chronological format, in which you simply list your job history, starting with your most recent or current job and moving backwards, and the functional format, in which you highlight your skills and experience rather than specific jobs and specific employers. The chronological format is definitely the most common, and many employers prefer this kind of resume, but choose the format this is going to show off your skills in the best light. If your work history is a choppy and a chronological format resume would only draw attention to that, use the functional format. The key is to choose the format that will give you the best chance of getting noticed for the job and to stick with the format throughout your resume. No matter which resume format you choose to use, the top of your resume should always include your name, contact information and work objectives. Name and contact information is pretty straight forward, although experts do recommend that if you have a “gender neutral” name that you include a helpful “Mr.” or “Ms” to clear up any confusion. Your work objectives should be your career goals. For instance, if you want to manage a small team of sales people, then say that, so your potential employers know that you are moving in a certain direction with your career and not simply apply for jobs willy-nilly. After your work objective comes your work experience. List your jobs in reverse chronological order. Instead of simply creating a bullet pointed list your work related tasks, look for a way to frame all of your responsibilities so that they sound like you showed leadership and problem solving capabilities. For instance, if you were in charge of keeping the expensive accounts in order, say that you were in charge of troubleshooting monthly expense account records, saving the company hundreds of dollars every month. If you have a few blips in your work history, be clear about what you were doing in the downtime. If you were raising children, traveling, or in school, say that you were. If you weren’t really doing anything, put as positive a spin on things as you can without lying. Never leave gaps in your work history unaddressed on your resume. After your work history, it is time to list your education credentials. If you didn’t finish a degree, say how much college work you completed and highlight any coursework relevant to the job. If your college degree or post grad work is in progress, say when you expect to be finished. This is another place where gaps matter. If there is a gap in your education history, again say what you were doing in that time, referring back to your work history where appropriate. You can overcome these gaps as long as you don’t pretend that they don’t exist. Round out your resume by listing any awards and professional memberships you may hold. Don’t get into your hobbies unless they are specifically related to the position for which you are applying. Personal details like religion and race have no place on your resume and you are not required to disclose your age. Instead, let your experience do the talking.