Not just identity theft: 4 reasons landlords require SSNs

There’s a boogieman in town, and it’s called “identity theft.”

Landlords will cite identity theft when asking for your SSN, but there are actually a few other reasons.

  1. Eviction – SSNs are used for a federally-required search of a military database to determine if the tenant being evicted is a current member of the military or is a military veteran. This search is required before a toss-out can happen, as laws now give service members enhanced protections against the speediness of evictions. as leave can be hard to come by when deployed overseas or on duty in a stateside mission.
  2. Credit Reporting – landlords will sometimes report payments to credit bureaus. Those that report do so to protect themselves and other landlords from bad tenants, and to provide both carrot and stick enforcement of the lease. Further, if a tenant leaves a debt, the former tenant is punished with a reduced credit score.
  3. Debt Collection – landlords can use a judgment paired with data such as a former tenant’s SSN to sell the judgement-enabled debt to debt buyers who then go after the former tenant in return for a split of any payments received.
  4. Litigation – with an SSN, a landlord can pay a PI firm to perform a utilities check to locate a tenant’s new place. With an SSN, driver’s ID number, and birth date, a landlord can locate property such as motor vehicles and then file for a lien on the vehicle.  Insurance payments are expected go to lien holders first, then the owner.

These four reasons are not inclusive of all possible ways a landlord can weaponize a tenant’s SSN and the identity verification process. In other words, it’s good to pay rent on time and in full.

BONUS – a landlord can also use the SSN to report income from forgiven debt to the IRS, assuming they jump through a few hoops first to qualify to report uncollectible debt. An aggrieved landlord can also attempt to contact social services and demand that the back rent be reportable to agencies that issue benefits, for inclusion into income calculations.

SOURCE >> The author is an occasional evictions agent for property owners.

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Pick a pecan, break a law?

It’s no secret that Georgia is serious about agriculture.  So serious, in fact, that loose pecans are protected under a law buried within the Property Law section (Title 44).

NOTE: THIS ARTICLE IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE.
FOR LEGAL ADVICE, CONSULT AN ATTORNEY.

Are the pecans from a tree on someone’s private property?
Do you intend to pick them up during the official harvest season?
Are you wanting to shake the tree to force some of the pecans to fall?

If the answer to the questions is YES, please read OCGA 44-12-241.

Here’s the law – O.C.G.A. § 44-12-241 .

Picking a pecan off a sidewalk, image Copyright June 24, 2018 Amy Barnes.

Picking Pecans (c)2018 Amy Barnes

It’s always good to know the laws you may be subject to, and it is equally important to know your rights; when in doubt, seek the advice of Bar-certified counsel in your state.
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Social Media diversification and why F*Book sucks.

I used to be on FaceBook, until the day I posted an excoriating comment (it really was brutal) about a police detective.  A few hours after I had made my remarks, several unknown F*Book users maliciously reported my account as a “hacked” account. Since the outage, I’ve been on Twitter and Instagram.  I’ve learned a few things along my journey…

Instagram enabled me to quickly reach news media for a campaign to force a city utility to restore service.  With the incredible array of media options, and the length of text allowed on a post, Instagram has proven itself to be almost as good as F*Book; the only thing it is missing are the Group and Page features.

Twitter is its own animal; posts can go viral with a quickness; Twitter stats revealed to me that one of my tweets had over eleven-thousand user-views.  One new feature is similar to hastags – the image tag.  When a user doctors up a pic with an adorable sticker, any user who clicks on the sticker gets to see who else has posted what with the sticker.

Twitter and Instagram allow users to use the hashtag feature, which can turn a campaign into a serious contender for traditional politics and problem-resolving; I’ve helped lead direct action campaigns designed to recoup stolen wages back into the hands of the workers said such wages were filched from.  I’ve helped campaign for the release of people facing injustice within the court system and have raised awareness on various campaigns.

The power of F*Book is dwindling, and with new and improved interfaces / features, Twitter is now a go-to source for news; the coolest feature of Twitter is that – instantly – fellow users can share a tweet and send the OP (Original Poster) into immediate fame; one tweet can be shared many thousands of times over, sending packs of followers and supporters after an offensive person, group, or concept / policy like one would dispatching a pack of H***-hounds after someone. Which brings us to the power of social media…

Social media is, in and of itself, a wonderful check and balance, if used properly.  Political campaigns have taken on a new meaning and life, with children as young as several years old calling entire armies of adults to action for a cause.  With the power of social media comes the responsibility to diversify our reach, so that one platform does not possess a monopoly on the news feed, so to speak; it is vital to the whole of society that people have multiple ways to reach out to support one another.  When protesters are wrongly jailed, Twitter has frequently been used to quickly garner support, while Instagram has allowed sources to securely leak valuable news to reporters across the world.  F*Book, while capable of the same, has been caught up in censorship scandals.

While F*Book has some play, it is Twitter and Instagram that are proving serious contenders in the battle against corruption and malfeasance, and I encourage a good look at Twitter and Instagram.
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In-app ads: the new shareware?

Just a brief missive as I sit here waking up, noticing that a Solitaire app now has ads…

The battle for monetization is on; first software developers tried to sell licenses, then they tried ShareWare / DonationWare, and now it’s in-app ads.

The cool thing about desktop platforms offering in-app ads is that developers get paid based on usage rather than [strictly] license sales.  Users pay nothing.  Everyone benefits.

This concept was found tried-and-true on mobile devices, and now desktop platforms / IDE environments are offering monetization for developers, with a for-pay option to remove ads or rewarding users for viewing ads by offering in-game perks.

Look at how AdMob interacts with Android Studio, then look at Microsoft Store and Visual Studio.  Even gaming platforms are hopping onto this bandwagon, with developers publicly proclaiming that – with ads and sales of game licenses – they no longer have to worry about things as mundane as bills. [see the promotion content for Roblox Studio and look at some of the testimonials]

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Lunch on a buck: Chicken Noodle Rice

Folks, ramen noodles now have serious competition.  This dish is easy, quick, requires only five ingredients, and – best of all – no actual measuring cups are needed.  And, you cook this with three button-pushes on the microwave. This dish tasted so good I forgot to take a nice pic.

And the creator of this recipe is yours truly (the author of this article).

Arborio Chicken Noodle Rice

Ingredients
Your bowl – any standard *microwavable* soup bowl that can hold 2-3 cups of liquid.
Arborio rice – fill the lid with a third-full of rice, drop rice in bowl. Do this twice more.
Lipton Cup-a-soup – drop a packet of chicken soup mix in the bowl.
Parsley – drop one heaping teaspoon of it on top.
Ladybug Picnic (seasoned Sea Salt) – season the dish to taste – drop in before cooking.
Water – fill the bowl with about 1.25x the volume as you have rice, you can always add more.
**OPTIONAL** you can add a can of chicken to add flavor and nutrition, at ~$2 extra cost.
**OPTIONAL** I add two drops of DoTerra Lemon Oil to brighten up the taste.

Cooking
Hit the preset Six button on your microwave – stir a tad bit.
Hit that Six again, check to see if you need more water, stir a bit more.
Now hit preset Two and then when that’s finished, check to see if you have extra water.

If you’re left over with a tiny bit of extra water, just let the rice sit and absorb the water for a few minutes.  The dish will be VERY hot.  Let it sit for anywhere between 3 and 5 minutes.

PIC of INGREDIENTS

soup mix, parsley flakes, rice, seasoned salt

The main ingredients

COSTS

This dish is excellent for people who cannot necessarily leave to go out and eat.  I’m including the source for all my ingredients except for the bowl.

Arborio Rice – $2 to $8 – you can hit up Kroger, Publix, or Wal-Mart for their in-store brand or – like I do – buy from Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/s?field-keywords=Arborio+Rice

Cup-a-Soup – 1.8oz size – ~$2.19 to $18 (bulk 12-boxes) – Amazon has the best price, running at approx $1.50 per box in the bulk 12-box option. Each box has 4 packets, bringing per-serving cost to ~ 38 cents. Get it here: https://www.amazon.com/Lipton-Instant-Soup-Chicken-Noodle/dp/B000EOXQS0/

Ladybug Picnic salt – $8 – by Beautiful Briny Sea – is sold directly from their site – here is a direct link: https://shop.beautifulbrinysea.com/collections/sea-salt-blends-1/products/ladybug-picnic

Parsley flakes – $2-$20 (bulk) – Here’s a bulk deal on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Gel-Spice-Parsley-Flakes-Serviec/dp/B01MS6VYZ9/

CONCLUSION – this recipe is perfect to pack into a small, light “care package” for a college student, as the ingredients don’t require refrigeration and do not take up a lot of space.  A lunch-sized portion can certainly be pre-mixed ahead of time and put into a small container to stash into a purse or pocket.

5/25/2018 – by Amy Barnes, photos by Amy Barnes.
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