A New Car Break-In Technique

We live in a fast pace society and that includes technology development. Technology can be a great tool to make our lives much easier in many ways. However, with great technology comes great responsibility. It is easy for technology to consume your life. It is also easy to abuse and misuse the wonders of technology.

With this story, that is the case. Thieves caught on surveillance camera were recorded walking up to cars and yanking on the handles. Usually at this point you would see broken windows or pried open doors. In other words, there would usually be a lot of damage done. But, in this case the thieves seemed to use a compact device to electronically unlock the doors.

It is pretty easy to manipulate, according to tech experts, especially since most vehicles use a keyless method to unlock and lock their vehicles. It is easy to create something that manipulates the vehicle into thinking that the owner with the car remote is standing nearby, even when the are not.

This case took place in Sauk Village, IL, but it is not unheard of happening in other places. The victims losses included a jujitsu belt and some boxing gloves, estimated around $30. Fortunately, there was not anything extremely valuable to the victim in the vehicle. Again, the thieves left no evidence or damages besides the contents of the glove box being strewn across the passenger seat.

Although this new technique can be difficult to prevent, there are a few factors to keep in mind when trying to prevent theft. First, remember to avoid leaving anything valuable in your vehicle, especially when leaving it for the night. If you are running errands and must leave something in your vehicle, experts advise you leave it in the trunk or underneath a towel or blanket.

It also helps to install extra security systems and anti-theft devices in your car. It decrease your auto insurance cost and prevent the theft of any belongings. It also helps to add security systems around your home to expose criminals such as the surveillance footage did.

Another tip that may reduce the likelihood of a break in is parking your vehicle in a well-lit area. Most thieves will not target a vehicle that is in an area that has relatively bright lighting because it increases the likelihood of them getting caught.

It also helps to avoid parking in an otherwise empty area. This also makes your vehicle an easier target to thieves since less people will be around.

Remember, car break-ins are fairly common and now technology is making it even easier to unlock and get into vehicles. Always lock your vehicle when leaving it and again, never ever leave valuables such as money or electronics in your car.

Financial Skills – Writing Checks & Paying Bills

I was surprised when I asked parents to tell me the life skills they wish their kids knew, and there was a resounding request for a few topics:

How to open a bank account
How to budget & balance accounts
How to write checks and pay bills
And how to start saving for retirement

It seems some of the things we take for granted are, as a result, missing from what we teach kids.

In the last article, we focused on budgeting & balancing accounts. We even looked at games and contests you could set up for your kids. This article is the third article in the four-part series and will look at how to teach kids to write checks and pay bills.

Paying Bills

I was a bit surprised when several parents recently reported they had teens that were going to pay a bill by sending cash. I guess the obvious isn’t so obvious.

Paying bills is often done online, so it’s important to teach kids how to protect their identity online and store their login information where it can’t be stolen or accessed.

However, there are still quite a few companies that don’t offer online payments, and the only way to pay their bills is via check in the mail.

All kids should know why you NEVER send cash, and how to write a check specifically for paying a bill. For example: putting your account number and any other required details in the memo.

This brings us to the next topic: writing checks.

Writing Checks

When I was 12 years old, I went to outdoor ed. Oddly enough, part of the experience was that we could only write checks to buy goodies there, and our parents put a certain amount in our accounts so that we would also have to budget and balance our register.

Most of the kids were nervous! They weren’t sure how to fill out a check, and it was a great learning experience. I remember being nervous because we were required to fill out the amount in cursive, and I had trouble fitting it into the space.

These days, many kids never even think about writing checks because there are so many other means of transacting much more common; however, I’ve still found myself in need of checks for bills, paying contractors, and even helping me out of a pinch when I’ve forgotten my wallet.

Additionally, in my previous articles, I’ve expressed the dangers of using and relying on a debit card.

So how do you get your kids to learn how to write checks, and why would they care?

Getting Kids Involved

The best and most interactive way to teach kids to work a checkbook is to come up with a reason for them to write checks.

Here’s how it’s done:

Give your kids an old checkbook, play checkbook, or make your own (complete with a register). Then tell them in order to get certain things around the house, they’ll need to write checks. For example, to use their electronic device, there’s a rental fee that requires them to write you a check.

In addition, you can also give them a budget for the month to help them balance and budget their spending. You should balance a separate register so you can compare at the end of the month for accuracy.

Kids absolutely love this game.

Here are a few things you can charge for:

Using electronic devices
Watching TV (by the hour)
Special snacks or treats
Bicycle rental fee
Getting out of a chore (limited usage)

At the end of the month, if your kids keep a positive balance they get a prize. If you have more than one kid, whoever is the most accurate in balancing their register can also get a prize.

A variation is to cut off the privileges if they run out of money. Some think this is harsh, but it does mimic the real world.

Writing checks is simple, and most kids love to learn because they feel more like an adult in the process.

In the next article, we’ll discuss how to start saving for retirement. It could make the difference of over $200,000!

Free Bet Blackjack – The Casino Table Game Where the Dealer Actually Gives You Free Bets

The rules for Free Bet Blackjack are played like the traditional version except for the two variations listed below. The casino uses six decks of cards, the dealer hits soft seventeen, (hand containing an ace +6) a player blackjack pays 3/2, re-split certain pairs up to four hands, and double after splitting is allowed. Here are the two variations:

Variation One

Double Down Rule – A player may double down on hard totals (hands with no ace) of 11, 10, or 9 only. Doubling on other hands is permitted however by doing so the player will not receive the free bet wager offered by the casino.

After a player makes the allowable double down wager, the house then gives the player a free double wager by matching the player’s original bet with a free bet button. If the dealer wins the player only loses his or her original wager. If the hand is a push, the player keeps the original wager only. If the player wins, he or she keeps the original wager plus winnings equal to double that wager.

Variation Two

Pair Splitting – A player may split any pair except 4′s or 10′s up to four times. The player receives one free split wager each time, where the player’s split cards are divided into two one card hands. The player’s original wager is placed on the first card and the second card receives the free bet button. Doubling after splitting is allowed. If the player so chooses to double after the split he or she will also receive a free double wager. For the winning hands, each free bet button is replaced with real chips. For a player loss or push, the house takes back the free bet button(s).

You may wonder why all this generosity? Instead of the dealer busting with a total of 22, where the house would pay winnings to all remaining hands, 22 becomes a push. Therefore, all remaining player hands also push.

Optional Side Wager

Push 22 Side Bet – This is an optional wager where a player may bet that the dealer will push with a total of 22. If the player wins, ascending payouts are made depending on the cards. Here is the pay table:

Suited Dealer 22 – Pays 50 to 1

Same Color 22 – Pays 20 to 1

Any other 22 – Pays 8 to 1

The house edge for Free Bet Blackjack is about 1.0% without placing a Push 22 side wager, but jumps to almost 6% if the option is made.

Strategy for this game is simple. Besides exercising basic strategy, take advantage of every opportunity to free split and free double.