Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Pet Theft Prevention Tips

Most dog owners consider their four-legged friend a part of the family, so the thought of the family pet getting stolen is unimaginable. With pet theft consistently on the rise, dog owners need to practice caution when it comes to their pooch. To help keep dogs safe, the American Kennel Club (AKC®) offers tips for protecting your pet from theft.

  • Keep your dog close. Keeping your dog on-leash and close to you during walks will reduce the likelihood of him wandering off and catching the attention of thieves.
  • Never leave your dog unattended in your yard. When your dog is outside by himself in the yard, especially if it’s visible from the street, your dog becomes an easy target.
  • Be cautious with information about your dog. If strangers approach you to admire your dog when you’re out on walks, be careful with how much information you give. Don’t reveal how much your dog cost or details about where you live.
  • Don’t tie your dog outside a store. Leaving your dog tied outside of a store can be a recipe for disaster. If you need to go shopping, go to dog-friendly stores or leave your dog at home.
  • Protect your dog with microchip identification – Collars and tags can be removed so make sure you have permanent ID with a microchip. Keep contact information current with your microchip recovery service provider so you can always be found should your dog be recovered. For more information, enroll your pet in a 24-hour recovery service and sign-up at
For more pet theft prevention and recovery tips, visit

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Keep Tax and Financial Records Safe

Keep Tax and Financial Records Safe in Case of a   
                                Natural Disaster
Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, fires and other natural disasters are more common in the summer and fall. The IRS encourages you to take a few simple steps to protect your tax and financial records in case a disaster strikes.

The IRS has five tips from to help you protect your important records:

Document Valuables.  Take pictures or videotape the contents of your home. These may help you prove the value of your lost items for insurance claims and casualty loss deductions. Publication 584, Casualty, Disaster and Theft firesLoss Workbook, can help you determine your loss if a disaster strikes.

Update Emergency Plans.  Review your emergency plans every year. You may need to update them each time your personal situation changes.

Get Copies of Tax Returns or Transcripts. Request for Copy of Tax Return, to replace lost or destroyed tax returns. If you just need information from your return, you can order a transcript online.

Backup Records Electronically.  Keep an extra set of electronic records in a safe place away from where you store the originals. You can use an external hard drive, CD or DVD to store the most important records. You can take these with you to keep your copies safe. Count on the IRS.  The IRS has a Disaster Hotline to help people with tax issues after a disaster. Call the IRS at 1-866-562-5227 to speak with a specialist trained to handle disaster-related tax issues.