No Security in Government website!

The topic of just about all news stories from August to November in 2013 is the laughable Healthcare.gov website that was promised to provide affordable healthcare to all uninsured Americas. By now you would have to be a monk living in Tibet to not have heard about the joke of a website that has crashed and compromised the data of millions of Americans. Today more news about the NON EXISTENT security of the site. How on earth could the government hired anyone to build a site for hundreds of millions of people without first considering security? Total insanity! This should finally wake people up to the fact that our government can’t do anything well and they could care less about our privacy and security.

It could take a year to secure the risk of “high exposures” of personal information on the federal Obamacare online exchange, a cybersecurity expert told CNBC on Monday November 25th, 2013.

“When you develop a website, you develop it with security in mind. And it doesn’t appear to have happened this time,” said David Kennedy, a so-called “white hat” hacker who tests online security by breaching websites. He testified on Capitol Hill about the flaws of HealthCare.gov last week.

“It’s really hard to go back and fix the security around it because security wasn’t built into it,” said Kennedy, chief executive of TrustedSec. “We’re talking multiple months to over a year to at least address some of the critical-to-high exposures on the website itself.”

Another online security expert—who spoke at last week’s House hearing and then on CNBC—said the federal Obamacare website needs to be shut down and rebuilt from scratch. Morgan Wright, CEO of Crowd Sourced Investigations said: “There’s not a plan to fix this that meets the sniff test of being reasonable.”

So for ANYONE who hasn’t yet realized that just about everything in America that promises you that it will protect you…it WILL NOT! This includes and is not limited to the following false sense of security by the CIA, The SEC, The FTC, The FDA, The CDC, The FDIC and my favorite, the BBB. They are all a total waste of tax payers money and provide no real value to your life.

Banks profit while tax payers suffer

Banks profit while tax payers suffer

Let me begin by saying I do not believe in hand outs. Especially to the people who take advantage of the system designed to help those in need. Responsibility lies with each person who applies for a loan or refinances their home. One must educate them self  in order to understand risk. For some reason, few have learned the lesson of 2008. That said, Goldman Sachs quarterly profit doubled, beating Wall Street estimates by a wide margin, as the bank made more from investing its own money and from underwriting says CNBC.com the media giant known for misquoting 75% of its news.Greed

Goldman’s net income rose to $1.86 billion, or $3.70 per share, in the second quarter from $927 million, or $1.78 per share, in the same quarter last year says CNBC.com today. Revenue in the bank’s fixed income, currency and commodities, or FICC, trading unit, which reflects income from client trading, rose 12 percent to $2.46 billion.

All this in the wake of serious questions regarding their underwriting guidelines for homeowners in trouble.

Here are just a few of the issues we find on a daily basis the banks have yet to address.

1.  No process in place to confirm modification submission was received.

2. Employee’s leave or are re-assigned and their files just stay in limbo until someone realizes no one is working their files.

3.  No accountability of when the file came in, so technically no start date for the mod process, that way when they are audited they can make it up.

4.  Requesting updated documents via phone not mail, so there is no paper trail, and most people don’t return calls so the file goes dead.

5.  Keeping the file under a certain code that has no time parameter, so the account manager has no open tasks to complete.

6.  File is reviewed by a robot not a person, so specific details are missed, such as hardship for disability/death/newborn.

7.  File notes are vague, so there is no accountability for anyone who reviews or touches the file.

8.  No call logging, so they can’t confirm or deny that someone called for info/update.

9.  Delaying valuations so that prices can increase during peak months.

10.  Changing servicing close to approval, so file starts over for mod or short sale.

11.  Changing investors during review, so file starts over due to new investor guidelines.

 

Maybe Elliott Spitzer should be re-elected as it seems he was the only one that had the balls to go after the big banks and challenge their fraudulent practices during the boom of 2004. Does it really matter who he has sex with? Today the banks have more power than ever and they are creative in the ways they leverage their profits. Illegal activities are more prevalent today, just in a different way. Instead of lending free money to people who don’t qualify and stealing their equity, they are foreclosing on homes that earn them the most profit, and only help the ones that don’t. The U.S. Attorney Generals have brought suit against many of the banks they bailed out and have received billions in fines. So where does all that money go?

Perhaps people should just stop borrowing so the banks will have less control over your money?

Until people stop using credit, nothing will change. IN ORDER TO CREATE CHANGE THE CAUSE MUST BE ADDRESSED. If you have loans or are being held hostage by your bank, take personal responsibility and get out of debt and end the cycle because no one will be able to stop the runaway train.

360 GROUP HAS OFFICIALLY CEASED TAKING ON ANY NEW FILES. WE WANT TO THANK ALL OUR CLIENTS OVER THE YEARS FOR PLACING YOUR TRUST IN US. WE WORKED VERY HARD FOR YOU AND TOGETHER WE HAD OVER 147 SUCCESSFUL FILES AND SAVED OVER $17 MILLION DOLLARS FOR OUR CUMULATIVE CLIENTS.

WE HOPE YOU WILL CONTINUE YOUR EFFORTS TO REDUCE DEBT AND SHARE OUR STRATEGIES WITH OTHERS.

360 GROUP PARTNERS

EMPOWERING CONSUMERS BLOG

US Banking oversight FAILURE

A recent article on CNBC,com on June 19th tells the story of banks not being helpful to homeowners still in need of payment reductions. More than a year after the nation’s five-largest mortgage servicers signed a $26 billion legal settlement with 49 state attorneys general and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development over blatantly improper foreclosure procedures, those banks still need to do better. That is the conclusion of the National Mortgage Settlement’s monitor, former North Carolina banking commissioner Joseph A. Smith, in a report released Wednesday.

“It’s better than it was. It’s not as good as it needs to be, and we’re going to keep at it,” Smith said in an interview. File a complaint with the Mortgage Oversight website here…and good luck getting any response.

https://www.mortgageoversight.com/

In addition to $26 billion in relief to customers wronged by so-called, “robo-signing” foreclosure document fraud and other abuses, the five lenders, Bank of AmericaJPMorgan Chase, CitiMortgage, ResCap (formerly Ally/GMAC) and Wells Fargo, are required to comply with 304 servicing standards.

The banks are required to use their own employees, albeit those separate from their servicing operations, to work with members of the monitor’s staff to assess their performance using 29 separate metrics; these range from foreclosure sale errors to modification denials to workforce management to servicer decision timeliness.

Four out of the five banks reported failures in the latest and most comprehensive round of testing. Only ResCap showed no violations of the servicing settlement parameters. Both Bank of America and Chase reported two failures each, both having to do with response times to customers. CitiMortgage and Wells Fargo each reported one, again relating to document collection timeline compliance.

“I think the failures that are important are the failures with regard to prompt response to borrowers who are seeking to file an application for relief,” said Mr Smith. “The timeliness is important to the borrowers and to the people who advise them.”

The four lenders now have a chance to correct their violations, under the settlement agreement. If they cannot or choose not to, then the monitor can seek punishment in the form of penalties up to $1 million or, in certain circumstances, $5 million. As of the monitor’s last relief progress report on May 21, 2013, the servicers reported distributing $50.63 billion in direct relief to more than 620,000 homeowners, or approximately $81,000 per homeowner.

So again we see fines being administered against banks, but how does that put money back in the hand of tax payers who bailed out the banks?

Now our stance on this situation…..It’s NOT GETTING BETTER, it’s worse than it’s ever been. The banks are playing shell games with consumers and our personal experience is summarized in a few of the main issued below:

– No process in place to confirm submission was rec’d, we have to call to confirm and then calendar.

 

– Employee’s leave or are re-assigned and their files just stay in limbo until someone realizes no one is working their files.

 

– No accountability of when the file came in, so technically no start date for the mod process, that way when they are audited they can make it up.

 

– Requesting updated documents via phone not mail, so there is no paper trail, and most people don’t return calls so the file goes dead.

 

– Keeping the file under a certain code that has no time parameter, so the account manager has no open tasks to complete.

 

– File is reviewed by a robot not a person, so specific details are missed, such as hardship for disability/death/newborn.

 

– File notes are vague, so there is no accountability for anyone who reviews or touches the file.

 

– No call logging, so they can’t confirm or deny that someone called for info/update.

 

– Delaying valuations so that prices can increase during peak months.

 

– Changing servicing close to approval, so file starts over for mod or short sale.

 

– Changing investors during review, so file starts over due to new investor guidelines.

 

– Government loans go through 2 processing paths, one with servicer and one with investor.

 

– 30 day doc expiration, and 90 day review process.  So basically, at the minimum you will have to update docs at least twice often up to 6 times designed to get homeowners to give up.

 

– 4506-T rejection excuse, IRS does not provide back end information, and the rejection is an internal servicer rejection for their system.

 

– Review of BPO values takes about 30 days, and in some cases, the valuations expire before they are even reviewed, vicious cycle of no accountability or timeframe.

 

– Trustee’s have no accountability for the information they receive from the lender, no checks and balance in place.

 

– Trustee’s switched in the middle of a review, and sale date is reassigned without notification.

 

– Trustee’s information does not match lender’s file information, very common, have to cross reference.

 

– File reassignment internally, to waste time and skirt around the review process for involved or less than straight forward files.

 

360 Group has been battling the system. As we uncover these obstacles, we creatively counteract them with legal president governed by HUD which forces the lender to comply. Knowledge of the system helps us to know just where to hold them accountable. It is not a perfect science, but it has been helping push things through when it gets tough. What used to take 30 days now takes 90, but it still eventually gets done.

If you know anyone who needs help navigating the bank regulations, we can help. Our consultations are always free and we are here to serve.

http://www.HowToSaveMoney360.com

 

Bye Bye Reverse Mortgage Piggy Bank

Seniors looking for a big cash payout from a reverse mortgage will have to look elsewhere for needed funds. A small but increasing number of defaults on the loan product has prompted a crackdown by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) on the biggest payout loan to homeowners.

The basic theory behind reverse mortgages — you must be 62 or older to apply — and instead of making payments to a lender like in a traditional mortgage, the borrower receives non-taxable money from the lender, which does not have to be paid back for as long as the person lives in the home.

Borrowers are now restricted in how they get one type of reverse mortgage known as the standard fixed rate Home Equity Conversion Mortgage Loan, or HECM. The HECM has been the most popular with borrowers because it yields the greatest amount of money — often in the hundreds of thousands of dollars — in one lump sum. HECM loans are still available — but instead of having fixed mortgage rates, they are offered only with variable rates, which yield less immediate cash.

Financial Lifeline

The FHA insures some 90 percent of reverse mortgages purchased from private lenders. It says about 58,000 loans — or nearly ten percent of its reverse mortgages — were in default in 2012. That’s up from 2 percent ten years ago. The FHA says it faces some $2.8 billion in losses from the defaults, which could force it to seek a bailout from the federal government next year.

By halting the fixed rate standard HECM, the FHA said in testimony before Congress late last year that it hopes to prevent more defaults in the future. “This does limit an option for people thinking about reverse mortgages, but you can understand why the FHA is doing this,” executives explained. “There’s some real concern about people spending their cash too soon and defaulting. “The amount of the loan is based on the equity or sale value of the house, as well as the type of interest associated with the loan. Payments to borrowers are monthly for a specific time or as long as the borrower lives in the house. The borrower retains title of the home, but the loan does have to be repaid when the person dies, sells the property or no longer uses the home as their primary residence. So basically, if you use all your equity and die, you leave a debt to your beneficiaries.

Borrowers still have to pay property taxes, home owners and mortgage insurance and any other home maintenance fees. Before applying, potential borrowers must meet with a government approved housing agency for counseling.

Critics of reverse mortgages say they come at too high of a price. Interest rates can be steeper than traditional loans — current rates are between 4 and 12 percent. There’s also closing costs and up-front fees, which can average anywhere between $2,000 and $10,000 depending on the lender and type of loan. For people who are cash poor and house rich and need the money to stay in their homes, the product may be helpful, but you really need to understand the products benefits and drawbacks.

Reverse mortgages are touted as a financial planning tool for seniors, however, one must be educated on the pro’s and con’s before signing on the dotted line. Not only are the transaction fees excessive, but they are usually a stopgap that leave seniors in a much worse financial position when they are exhausted of their funds from the loan.

As always, DO YOUR RESEARCH, be careful not to be too trusting, and speak to many sources before you decide to secure a Reverse Mortgage. For some, and used properly, it can be a good tool, for others, a financial disaster in the wake.

HowToSaveMoney helps people mitigate debt. If you have any questions, comment or contact us from our website. http://www.HowToSaveMoney360.com

Technology = No Privacy

Have you ever taken the time to read the privacy statement of the sites you visit online? Below are just a few of the very basic details you will find within these statements. I think they should be required to title it the NON-PRIVACY STATEMENT.

Information THEY Collect

  • Contact information, such as your name, address, telephone number, and email address
  • Login and access credentials (such as username and password)
  • Payment information, such as your payment card number and expiration date.
  • Date of birth.
  • The geolocation of your device (such as if you opt to use the “Find Near Me” feature of the mobile-optimized portion of our websites or our Mobile Applications).
  • Social media IDs, such as for Facebook or Twitter
  • Personal information you submit in connection with a job application on the Career Websites, such as your name, contact information, Social Security Number, date of birth, employment status, employment history, education information, references, résumé, immigration status and ability to work legally in the United States, driver license information, personal or family employment, criminal record.

Information THEY Collect by Automated Means

When you use most websites, they may collect certain information by automated means, using technologies such as cookies, Web server logs, Web beacons and JavaScript.

Cookies are files that websites send to your computer or other Internet-connected device to uniquely identify your browser or to store information or settings on your device. The Site may use HTTP cookies, HTML5 cookies, Flash cookies and other types of local storage (such as browser-based or plugin-based local storage). Your browser may tell you how to be notified when you receive certain types of cookies and how to restrict or disable certain cookies. You also may be able to delete your Flash cookies or adjust your Flash cookie settings by visiting the Adobe Flash Website Storage Settings Panel and Global Storage Settings Panel. Please note, however, that without cookies you may not be able to use all of the features of their Site or other websites and online services.

In conjunction with the gathering of information through cookies, many Web servers may log information such as your device type, operating system type, browser type, domain, and other system settings, as well as the language your system uses and the country and time zone where your device is located. The Web server logs also may record information such as the address of the Web page that referred you to the Site and the IP address of the device you use to connect to the Internet. They also may log information about your interaction with the Site, such as which pages you visit. To control which Web servers collect information by automated means, they may place tags on the Web pages called “Web beacons,” which are small files that link Web pages to particular Web servers and their cookies. They also may send instructions to your device using JavaScript or other computer languages to gather the sorts of information described above and other details your interactions with the Site.

They most certainly will use third-party Web analytics services on the Site, such as those of Google Analytics. These service providers use the technology described above to help analyze how users use the Site. The information collected by the technology (including your IP address) will be disclosed to these service providers, who use the information to evaluate your use of the Site.

They may use the information collected through automated means to provide a better tailored shopping experience and for market research, data analytics and system administration purposes, such as to determine whether you’ve visited them before or are new to the Site, and THEY WILL SAY for compliance with their legal obligations, policies and procedures, but it is to sell you shit!  They also may use your information to target custom content and ads to you on this and other websites, including as described in the Interest-Based Advertising section FINE PRINT.

Information Collected Automatically by the Mobile Applications

If you elect to install the Mobile Applications, the information they collect may include the following:

  • Your geographic location
  • Information about your use of the Mobile Applications
  • The type of device you use and its operating system
  • Identification details of your device (e.g., unique device identifier)
  • IP address

This information will allow push notifications and other targeted marketing designed specifically for your shopping preferences such as special offers based upon areas in which you may be shopping, and shopping lists with specific items located for your convenience when you are shopping a particular stores, as well as for other in-store mapping and routing services. It also may be used for the other purposes specified in their specific Privacy Statement.
Information Collected Automatically by Store Wi-Fi

If you elect to use the free Store Wi-Fi, they will collect information such as the following:

  • The URLs and content of the pages you visit on any website using your mobile device, and, on some websites, information you submit through online forms.
  • The apps on your mobile device that use the Store Wi-Fi.
  • Your geographic locations within a store and the surrounding area within the range of the Store Wi-Fi.
  • How long you use the Store Wi-Fi at particular locations.
  • The type of device you use and its operating system.
  • Identification details of your device (e.g., unique device identifier and MAC address).
  • Browser information and IP address.
  • The address of the store where you use the Store Wi-Fi.

This information will allow targeted marketing designed specifically for your shopping preferences such as specific coupons based upon the sites and pages you visited, special offers based upon areas in which you may be shopping in the store, including competitive offers based upon other websites that you may be viewing, shopping lists with specific items located for your convenience when you are shopping a particular store, as well as for other in-store mapping and routing services. It also may be used for the other purposes specified in their own specific Privacy Statement.

Sharing of Information

THEY may share personal information they collect on the Site with certain service providers, some of whom may use the information for their own purposes. For example, (i) their websites may feature live chat functionality, and the information gathered in the chat feature may be collected by or shared with a provider such as LivePerson, whose privacy policies are available at www.liveperson.com/policies/privacy, (ii) information you submit on any Site in connection with a product review may be collected by or shared with a product review company such as Bazaarvoice, whose privacy policy is atwww.bazaarvoice.com/privacy-policy and who may publish the information in locations not affiliated with the store you shopped such as the website of the manufacturer of the product you review, and (iii) information submitted on their Careers Website is collected by or shared with the Careers Website providers.

They may disclose information about you (i) if required to do so by law, regulation or legal process, such as a court order or subpoena; (ii) in response to requests by government agencies, such as law enforcement authorities; or (iii) when we believe disclosure is necessary or appropriate to prevent physical, financial or other harm, injury or loss; (iv) in connection with an investigation of suspected or actual unlawful activity; or (v) to assist in collecting debt owed by you.

They reserve the right to transfer personal information they have about you in the event they sell or transfer all or a portion of their business or assets (including, without limitation, in the event of a reorganization, dissolution or liquidation). Should such a sale or transfer occur, they will use reasonable efforts to direct the transferee to use personal information you have provided to in a manner that is consistent with their Privacy Statement. Ya RIGHT SURE, because they really care about you!

So in a nutshell, the decision to be connected in this connected world means that you no longer have any privacy and all the data they collect about you, your device, where you go, and personal information such as your social security, drivers license, home address and more is for sale. So keep depositing those checks from your cell phone, because it’s easy, and keep doing your banking from your cell phone because it’s easy. But don’t be surprised when your identity is taken and your account is drained because you handed them the means by which to do it.

John Callahan

http://www.HowToSaveMoney360.com

Facebook supports mass consumption

America has become the nation of mass consumption. There are few places other than open nature where you are not tempted to buy and consume. Technology has only increased this problem with seemingly necessary applications sold to make our lives easier. I talk to people who are doing everything they can to stay away and remain immune to this, however, it’s getting more difficult to separate ourselves they say.

In late February 2013, Facebook announced partnerships with four companies that collect lucrative behavioral data, from store loyalty card transactions and customer e-mail lists to divorce and Web browsing records. Public records are a vast treasure trove of information that is analyzed to target you for purchases.

They include Acxiom, which aggregates data from a variety of sources, including financial services companies, court records and federal government documents; Datalogix, which claims to have a database on the spending habits of more than 100 million Americans in categories like fine jewelry, cough medicine and college tuition; and Epsilon, which also collects transaction data from retailers.

Acxiom and Datalogix are among nine companies that the Federal Trade Commission is investigating to see how they collect and use consumer data.

Facebook’s fourth partner is BlueKai, based in Cupertino, Calif., which creates tracking cookies for brands to monitor customers who visit their Web sites. That data can be used to show an advertisement when those users log on to Facebook.  “Our goal is to improve the relevance of ads people see on Facebook and the efficacy of marketing campaigns,” Gokul Rajaram, product director for ads at Facebook, said in a recent interview.

In announcing the partnerships, Facebook said it would allow, for example, a carmaker to customize an advertisement to users interested in a new car. The push to refine targeted advertising reflects the company’s need to increase its revenue. Its shares are worth far less than its ambitious initial public offering price of $38 a share last May, and Wall Street wants to see it take concrete steps to prove to advertisers that it can show the right promotions to the right users and turn them into customers.

The partnerships are part of a continuum of efforts by Facebook to hone targeted advertising. Last fall, it invited potential advertisers to provide the e-mail addresses of their customers; Facebook then found those customers among its users and showed them ads on behalf of the brands.

Invited to share email address! Seriously?

JackThreads, a members-only online men’s retailer, tried this tactic recently. Of the two million customer e-mails it had on file, Facebook found more than two-thirds of them on the social network, aided in part by the fact that JackThreads allows members to sign in using Facebook login credentials. Facebook then showed those customers ads for the items they had once eyed on the JackThreads site. The nudge seemed to get people to open up their pocketbooks. Sales increased 26 percent at JackThreads, according to AdParlor, an agency that buys the company’s advertisements on Facebook.

Money in hand

Targeted advertising bears important implications for consumers. It could mean seeing advertisements based not just on what they “like” on Facebook, but on what they eat for breakfast, whether they buy khakis or jeans and whether they are more likely to give their wives roses or tulips on their wedding anniversary. It means that even things people don’t reveal on Facebook may be discovered from their online and offline proclivities.

Facebook says that in devising targeted ads, no identifying information about users is shared with advertisers. REALLY? Seems to me that what we just read suggests that everything they do is open to be exploited! E-mail addresses and Facebook user names are encrypted and then matched. Users can opt out of seeing specific brand advertisements on their page, but we all know those settings change frequently without notice. In order to completely opt out of receiving any targeted messages you must visiting each third-party data partner’s Web site which in and of itself is a very daunting task.

Bottom line, as you consume in America, you will tempted to increase your consumption which keeps retailers happy. Anything you post or provide to any application, will be shared whether you like it, give consent or not.

John Callahan is committed to teaching people how to mitigate debt and minimize unnecessary purchases. He also teaches people how to control the sale when purchasing high ticket items.

Cell Phones are not necessary

Cell phone mania! We have quickly become addicted to the instant communication and can’t go anywhere without seeing people staring blankly down at their hands. Other than the few obvious benefits of having a cell phone, there are several downsides that I’d like to share with you. Take a moment to check out the downsides and then I’ll provide some very inexpensive alternatives for those of you who want to save $2000 – $3000 a year by using the technology in your favor.

 

  1. Mobile communication companies have been merging and that is a bad thing for the consumer. You have fewer choices and therefore you will always pay more with fewer choices.
  2. The legal biggest scam going is right in front of us. That exciting new phone with all those features and claiming to have 4G. BS, it’s only occasional 4G and who really even notices? The downside is the contract you must agree to and sign that no one will ever read. That contract locks you in to a minimum of two years and states in very fine print that “any” change you make to your plan will automatically renew your agreement. Even if you buy your phone and don’t have a contract, they get you when you make a change. That’s right! So if you have your phone for 18 months and then you call to make a slight adjustment to your plan, (yes this even includes adding or subtracting a line, your new plan will automatically become 24 more months). So if you move and need to cancel to go to another provider, you are stuck paying the early termination fee. Some providers used to pro rate your account so you don’t have to pay the full $200 early termination fee, but fewer are doing it these days.
  3. Adding a feature, changing a feature, increasing or decreasing your minutes is also considered a “change” to your account so your term will go back to two more years.
  4. Changing carriers and getting a new phone number can be a hassle when you need to inform all your contacts of the change.
  5. Don’t get sucked into the nonsense. You don’t have to pay all that money to have connectivity and technology. There are many ways to use technology to your advantage without spending a fortune.

 

Google Voice

I have been using Google Voice since its beta launch in 2008 with great results. Google Voice is one of hundreds of free services available through Google. Once set up, you can use this phone number to provide to all your contacts as the lkast number you will ever have. GVoice can be forwarded to your cell phone if you choose to keep a cell phone. You may also use it for your financial obligations like mortgage, auto loans, credit card and utility companies. When this Google phone number is called you can set preferences in your Google account (everything is linked through your Gmail account) to forward to your cell, or Skype number, or go to voicemail and take a message. Google will transcribe the message and send you a Gmail as well as a text message if you choose. This way you never miss an important message. It puts the power back in your hands. There are dozens of other features like free web calling and texting from your PC that would take too much time to outline here. Additionally, with a Google Voice phone number, you have the power to BLOCK callers if you don’t want to hear from them. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOZU7BOeQ58

 

BLOCKING: Why is blocking so important? Few people realize how your phone numbers are used and shared by so many companies. Enter your number on one application, and the flood gates open. Google Voice lets you block those unsolicited callers forever! When it comes to short selling your home, this is huge. You can avoid all those pesky collections calls while you’re in the process of selling your home. No more rude and intimidating calls from collections departments. Just BLOCK them. They will hear a message that this number is no longer in service. Now that’s cool!

Step 1: You will need a Gmail account. Most people already use Gmail – if you don’t you should switch from Yahoo which is my least favorite webmail.

Step 2: Once your Gmail account is set up, you need to login. In the top right corner click on Settings.

Step 3: When setting page loads, click on Accounts & Import tab in the top tab area.

Step 4: Scroll to bottom and click Google Account Settings.

Step 5: This will open a new page with all your Google settings and available products. Scroll down and click on Voice link. If you do not see a Voice link, click the small “more” link to show all the options from Google.

Step 6: Voice will open or you will need to scroll down on this icon page to find the Voice icon on bottom right to click it.

Step 7: Follow the Google Voice instructions to set up your Google Voice phone number – this could be the last phone number you ever have or will ever need. Choose your Google voice area code and number and then it will ask you to enter a land line or cell number to receive a call verifying your set up is complete.

 Image

Skype

Skype is another free service that offers some nice features and benefits. The online version of Skype is completely free and you can communicate from your tablet or PC for free to anyone with a Skype account. The free Skype account communicates via the web so you must have internet access. Skype also has low cost subscription plans that are far cheaper than any cell phone or land line. I have a subscription to Skype with my own Skype phone number and the cost is only $8.40 per quarter. I can place and receive calls to anyone in the US for free for a total of $36 per year. This feature also includes voicemail online chat and notifications. Anyone with a business should consider the savings with Skype versus a business phone.

 

I use my Skype with my Nexus Google Tablet like a phone over WiFi networks and it works great!

 

 Image

iTouch

Apple has been hyped as the biggest & best due to their success of the iPhones, but to me, they’re number one success is the iTouch. The iPod “iTouch” (4th Generation) is the best low cost full-featured hand held WiFi cell phone going. It links through your iTunes account so all your music and apps are on one small device. The iTouch is basically a iPhone without the $100+ per month network connection. I use my iTouch as an iPhone wherever there is a WiFi connection. At home I have WiFi, at Starbucks and almost any other business like a mall, target, library or café. As long as you have a WiFi connection the iTouch is an iPhone. Some say this is a downside because you can’t get calls while you’re driving since you have no WiFi on the road. I consider that a benefit. You can download numerous free apps like TextNow for unlimited texting for free, or even Skype for live calls. The upgraded TextNow app gives you a phone number and voicemail so you can send and receive calls from the iTouch to any phone number in the US. If you want a subscription, you can buy minutes for a very low fee. 100 minutes of TextNow talk time only costs $4.99. Use the time as you need it and save money. With the iTouch, you can iMessage to anyone with an Apple device for free. Face Time, is Apples proprietary application that enables you to do video conferencing with anyone who has another Apple device. So the iTouch communicates with any Apple device seamlessly, and the Skype or TextNow app can get you linked to anyone with any other phone.

 

In conclusion, why on earth would anyone pay $100 – $250 per month, when you have all these free apps available to you? We just cancelled our T-Mobile service and will be using these other tools to communicate from now on. Our family cell phone bill was $214 per month. I like the $2500 extra dollars in our account each year and no risk of getting killed from driving distractions!