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Great reminder from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office

Written by Timothy Shannon on . Posted in Uncategorized

In the wake of Thomas Fire, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office reminds residents that charity and home repair scams often follow disasters. The Sheriff’s Office warns people about urgent appeals for charitable donations, and cautions residents in stricken areas about fraudulent home repair offers. The scammers often play on the emotions of people especially during major incidents.

If you are asked to make a charitable donation to help people in disaster affected areas, consider these tips:
• Donate to charities you know and trust.
• Be alert for charities that seem to have sprung up overnight.
• Do not give out personal or financial information including your credit card or bank account number unless you know the charity is reputable.
• Never send cash by mail.
• Be suspicious of random calls requesting a donation.
• Be cautious about clicking on links in emails requesting a donation.
• Check out a charity before you donate by contacting the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance at 703-276-0100 or at website www.give.org
Remember, fraudsters also target disaster affected areas, hoping to cash in on insurance settlements. Home and business owners who need to hire a contractor should:
• Check the contractor’s identification and references.
• Verify the contractor’s license though the State Contractors Board at http://www.cslb.ca.gov/
• Ask for copies of the contractor’s general liability and worker’s compensation insurance.
• Avoid paying more than the minimum in advance.
• Deal with reputable people in your community.
• Call local law enforcement if you suspect a con.
For more information on giving to victims of the Thomas Fire you can contact the below charities:

Ventura County United Way – http://vcunitedway.org/ or by calling (805) 485-6288.
Salvation Army – http://www.salvationarmy.org/ or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY.
American Red Cross – http://www.redcross.org/ or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS

Did you know that 44% of small businesses reported being a victim of a Cyber Attack?

Written by Timothy Shannon on . Posted in Uncategorized

Cyber attacks on small business have an average cost of $9,000.00 per attack according to a National Small Business Association survey and www.staysafeonline.org.

NSBA also estimates that nearly 59% of small to medium size companies don’t have a plan in place to respond and report data breaches, and everyone is a potential target.

Studies show Cyber Criminals target vulnerable computer systems and networks, regardless of whether it’s a Fortune 500 company, a small business, or an individual mobile device. Criminals are looking for any valuable information-employee and customer information, bank account numbers, financial information, or access to a larger network.

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. This annual campaign to Stop|Think|Connect is sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security.

Basic tips to help prevent your business from falling victim to a Cyber Attack include:

* Run scheduled back-ups of critical data

* Use and regularly update antivirus software

* Secure internet connections with firewalls

* Use encryption, and secured Wi-Fi networks

* Establish and enforce security practices, including strong, frequently changed passwords

* Ensure business continuity plans include cyber incidents

Call us for  a review of your business insurance so that we can ensure you have very important coverage that will protect you from this risk!

You, disabled? What are your chances?

Written by Timothy Shannon on . Posted in Uncategorized

Higher than you probably think. You can ignore the problem, but it’s hard to ignore the facts:

Just over 1 in 4 of today’s 20 year-olds will become disabled before they retire.

Accidents are NOT usually the culprit. Back injuries, cancer, heart disease and other illnesses cause the majority of long-term absences.

Are you prepared if it happens to you? Probably not. If you’re like most Americans, you don’t have disability insurance (Social Security Administration states that 67% of Americans working in the private sector do not have long term disability insurance), or enough emergency savings to last 34.6 months. Yes, that’s the duration of the average long-term disability claim.

Call or e-mail us for a quick, convenient outline of Disability Insurance coverage and cost. It may be one of the most important calls you can make!

Americans and Retirement Savings

Written by Timothy Shannon on . Posted in Uncategorized

Recent research conducted by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies revealed that 77% of 4,200 Americans surveyed are saving for their retirement, either through pre – tax retirement plan or through personal after – tax accounts. Which group do you fall in? If you are part of the 77%, are you putting enough away to provide for a worry free retirement. If part of the 23% or not putting enough away it is never too late to start. Call me today for some ideas that you can put in place today to start saving.

Start Saving Now!

Written by Timothy Shannon on . Posted in Uncategorized

A child born in 2016 that begins kindergarten in the fall of 2021 would attend college between the years of 2034 and 2038. If that child attended an average public in-state 4-year college and if the annual price increases for public colleges experienced over the last 30 years continued into the future, the aggregate 4-year cost of the child’s college education (including tuition, fees, room & board) would be $227,984 or $56,996 per year (source: College Board). If you are a young family starting out, proper prior planning is key to providing your children with the tools they will need to prosper in tomorrow’s environment. Please feel free to call me for ideas that will bring solutions to this for you and your family!

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The Shannon Agency
Timothy G. Shannon, CLF, AIM, LUTCF

Phone: (800) 999-5729
Fax: (877) 625-9370