Associateamp#039s Degrees vs. Bacheloramp#039s Degrees

May 12th, 2015 by admin

Feeling the effects of a recession, more and more people have realized the benefits of having a solid educational background, especially in the face of economic crisis of this magnitude. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70.1 percent of high school graduates were enrolled in colleges or universities in October 2009.*

At the same time, not everyone has the wherewithal to spend five to seven years on higher education. For those who want to fast track into fruitful careers without compromising on college education, Associate’s and Bachelor’s degrees offer the perfect start. Here is some information on both types of degree programs:

Associate’s Degree: This degree is the lowest in the hierarchy of post-secondary academic degrees. It is awarded to students who have completed two years of study in a particular field. The degree is usually offered by private, community, and technical colleges as well as some Bachelor’s degree granting colleges and universities.

Average Annual Income: $33,838**

Best Suited for: Associate’s degrees are best suited for entry-level jobs in a variety of fields such as nursing, respiratory therapy, graphic design, computer programming, medical specialties, and many other professions.

Pros %26 Cons: The biggest advantage of an Associate’s degree is the relatively short amount of time needed to complete it. This two-year college degree qualifies individuals for many white collared jobs that would not have been open to high school graduates. The other benefit of an Associate’s degree is that it is less expensive than a four-year Bachelor’s degree. Apart from saving on tuition fee, students also save money on boarding, fuel, car, books, etc. An Associate’s degree prepares the ground for future educational pursuits. Students have the option of applying their Associate’s degree credits to a Bachelor’s degree.

But Associate’s degrees have certain drawbacks when compared to Bachelor’s degrees. First, they put you at a disadvantage when you compete for the same jobs as baccalaureates. Second, your earning capacity is definitely lower than those who graduate with a Bachelor’s degree. Lastly, moving up the ladder to supervisory or managerial positions may be difficult without a higher degree.

Bachelor’s Degree: This is a degree awarded by a post-secondary institution to students who complete an undergraduate program that generally lasts for about four years.

Average Annual Income: $47,853**

Best Suited for: Bachelor’s degrees are best suited for careers in accounting, computer software engineering, healthcare administration, business management, and many other high profile, white collar jobs.

Pros %26 Cons: A Bachelor’s degree generally increases your job prospects, as some positions are only open to those who have this degree. Your earning potential also goes up with the level of your degree. Graduates who have a Bachelor’s degree find it easier than those who hold an Associate’s degree to rise up the ranks and take up roles with higher levels of responsibility in their respective fields. A Bachelor’s degree gives you a wide knowledge base and expertise in your area of study, and you are likely to be treated as a serious professional if you have completed a four-year degree as opposed to a two-year one.

The biggest disadvantage of a four-year degree is the cost, as a Bachelor’s degree tends to be more expensive than an Associate’s. Since it also takes a longer duration to complete, you end up spending a lot of money on rent, car, fuel, books, etc.

Both degree programs have their advantages and drawbacks, and one must make a decision based on their personal goals, expectations from education, and available resources.

*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook

**U.S. Census Bureau

CollegeAmerica® was established in 1964. It has six campuses with comfortable facilities in Colorado, Wyoming and Arizona. It has trained generations of graduates for new careers in high demand jobs through its high-value accredited degree programs. CollegeAmerica offers undergraduate degree programs in healthcare, business, graphic arts and computers. Flexible online programs are offered through its affiliated institution, Stevens-Henager College Salt Lake City/Murray.

Loan Modification Firms The Top 11 Questions to Ask Before You Hire A Professional To Negotiate With Your Bank

May 9th, 2015 by admin

Most homeowners that are experiencing financial difficulty have probably heard of loan modifications by now. In the past year or so, loan modifications have gone from being a little-known niche industry, to one of the most controversial topics in real estate and in America today.

As soon as homeowners falls behind on their mortgage, many are immediately swarmed by mail and phone calls from ‘foreclosure rescue’ companies. Pundits on TV cry out such as: ‘call your lender to negotiate. They want to keep you in your house…’ Or better yet, ‘help is freely available from the government!’

Obviously, these same so-called pundits haven’t experienced luxuries such being on hold for over 2 hours with loss mitigation at Bank of America before getting disconnected, or other realities of the current mortgage crisis.

The reality is that homeowners who have tried to get their own loans modified or use so-called ‘free services’ have been met with frustration, deceit, incompetence, bureaucracy, and failure due to a system which is rigged to favor the banks, not the homeowners.

My Personal Experience with Financial Hardship and Loan Modification

I speak from personal experience. Hurricane Katrina wiped out my real estate business and I had to do my own loan modifications. I spent over 2 years trying to get insurance claims paid on damaged properties after hiring several attorneys, public adjusters, and engineers.

The irony was that lenders only allowed a 6 month grace period and they wanted their money. 6 months and 2 years left a bit of a gap as you can imagine. I scrambled not only to rebuild my business, but also to save my own home after this catastrophe.

I learned a very hard lesson after the events following Katrina. The banks are definitely not looking out for you. Having a professional on my side would have leveled the playing field.

Former Subprime Brokers Swoop To Take Advantage of the Mess They Created

While government help has been ineffective, many former subrpime mortgage brokers have swarmed in to offer ‘loan modifications’ to desperate homeowners. These individuals have not only scammed homeowners who were already in financial desperation, they have tarnished an industry that serves a vital role in getting our country out of the mess that is in.

This report is dedicated to help those that realize that hiring a professional loan modification firm with a track record of success, is their best solution in keeping their home.

My guarantee to you: after reading through these eleven questions, you will be confident on how to evaluate a potential loan modification firm, and to seperate the scammers from the professionals who can actually help you keep your home.

Ready? Let’s get started.

1.) How long has the company in question been representing clients for loan modifications?

While the fact that a company is new by itself doesn’t necessarily mean that you are going to get a bad modification, you’re less likely to be scammed if the business you are dealing with has some sort of track record.

If it is a brand new company, or they just started doing loan modifications, you want to use more caution. Even attorneys and law firms are no exception to this rule. Law firms have been hit by the downturn as well, and as they have seen their billable hours reduced, some scramble to find work in other areas such as loan modifications.

Whether they are actually competent enough to get a successful modification done is a different matter, and they must be evaluated as stringently as any other company.

2.) What is the loan modification company’s success rate in achieving successful loan modifications?

Most loan modification firms will claim to have above a ’90% success rate’.

If the company can’t tell you their success rate, this is an immediate red flag and you should run, not walk the other way! Ask yourself: if you were in a service business like this, would you take the time to know how many loan modifications you had taken on, and how many had been approved?

Second, you need to dig further when a company gives you their so-called ‘success rate’. What does that mean? That the company got a modification with a payment higher than before and the homeowner defaulted 3 months into it – is that considered a ‘successful modification’?

The definition you should hold of a ‘successful loan modification’ is where the borrower is able to keep their home. Any loan modification company that takes fees after they have a client’s budget and knows they can’t afford the payment, is inherently unethical.

If the loan modification company can’t give you a solid idea of what their real success rate is in getting quality loan modifications done that allow the borrowers to stay in their homes at their current income level, then you need to look elsewhere.

3.) Do you have recent examples of successful modifications you have done?

The loan modification company should be able to produce some documentation of the work they have done. Since the loan modification documents contain personal financial information, you may see the specific new terms such as interest rate and fixed term, but not the homeowner’s personal information such as name, address etc.

If the company cannot produce examples, or they reply ‘…well I haven’t done any yet but I’ve been a loan officer and a real estate agent for 3 years, how hard can it be?’, let someone else be their guinea pig. Saving your home is too important of a task to put in the hands of an amateur.

Also, make sure that the examples are modifications performed by that particular company. A typical scam operation will use ‘generic’ testimonials and loan modifications, or will take the liberty ‘As Seen on TV’ because they talk about loan modifications on TV shows, but not that actual company. If a company cuts corners on testimonials, what makes you think they aren’t going to cut corners when it comes to negotiating with your lender?

4.) What criteria do you look at when deciding whether or not you can do loan modifications?

Examine the answer to this one carefully, and try to get the loan modification company to answer it before they know about your situation. This is a true test of whether they fall into the boiler room category, or a professional advisor.

If the loan modification rep gives a song and dance about how they can do any modification and can save your home no matter what, you know you are dealing with a scam.

A reputable loan modification firm will need to obtain a full analysis and assessment of your hardship, income, assets, liabilities, with supporting docs before they can make any promises, and will be upfront with you that they cannot help every person that contacts them.

Unfortunately, not every homeowner qualifies for a loan modification. If you currently have no income, or any prospects of becoming re-employed in the near future, you may not qualify for a loan modification.

If your lender is not doing loan modifications at this time, you may not qualify. Every situation is different. A competent, professional loan modification company, that does hundreds or thousands of loan modifications each month is going to have a general idea of what lenders are willing to do in terms of modification. These criteria are changing literally weekly, due to the current financial crisis and bailout legislation.

It is up to the professionalism of the loan modification company to not take your fee if they know they cannot help you, or better yet, have a results-based money back guarantee to hold themselves accountable.

5.) How long does it usually take to successfully negotiate a modification for your client?

Today’s lending environment is always fluctuating on a near daily basis, with new legislation being proposed, failed banks, and many other factors. Still, a good loan modification company should be able to give you some idea of how long the process is going to take.

If they duck and run at this question without a clear explanation, you need to give them the finger. (That’s taking your finger and pressing the receiver!)

6.) Does the company offer a money bank guarantee for their services? Do they guarantee that you will have a lower payment than before?

This is a big one. Stories abound of people that were promised the world by a loan modification company, paid a fee of several thousand dollars, and ended up never hearing back from the company.

If a company does not offer a guarantee, or gives an excuse such as ‘..no one can guarantee results’, buyer beware. If they do offer a guarantee, examine closely as to what they mean exactly. Some inexperienced loan modification companies do not have the skill to get quality loan modifications done, resulting in payments that are even higher than before!

Bear in mind that loan modification companies take significant risk in offering a guarantee. They are performing a service with up front costs, so it isn’t like returning clothes that they can re-sell.

On the other hand, you as the homeowner are taking a gigantic risk in putting out your hard earned money to do a modification.

You see, by having a strong guarantee, the loan modification company essentially provides a check and balance on whether to take your fee or not – since they know if they don’t do their job, or get a poor modification done for you, they bear a financial risk.

7.) Do they offer a free approval process or is there a charge up front to take an application? If your state requires that a loan modification company be registered, are they?

A good loan modification company will generally not charge an application fee, as their goal is to actually help people get their loan modified and stay in their home, not to collect as many application fees as they can. If a company wants an application fee upfront, you may want to investigate their success record a little more.

Certain states such as California are regulated in how loan modification companies can take upfront payments. However, California ironically also has had more modification start ups in the past 6 months (this report was written in March 2008). Many of them are not registered, are complete scams, and playing a cat and mouse game with the Attorney General’s office.

Others, like Maryland, require that an attorney review the documents. Know the laws in your state before you contact the modification company, and listen to what they say either on the phone or on written materials to test their level of competence.

8.) Will I be kept informed throughout the modification process? Do I have multiple ways to stay in touch on the process – for instance, a way to track my case, phone number, fax number, etc?

You need to have a consistent mechanism to keep track of your file throughout the modification process, ideally a secure website or some form of automated mechanism. If your only source of getting an update on your file is to call and talk to a human, you can rest assured that will eventualy lead to frustration when you can’t get in touch with them.

9.) What other lines of business is the company in besides loan modifications? What lines of business were you in prior to loan modification?

When evaluating a loan modification company, the one thing you need to realize is that the businesses are typically small (less than 100 employees). You want to know what professional credentials and experience they bring to the table.

If the principals in the company just closed the doors of their subprime mortgage broker office that was shut down…it may be a red flag.

Do a Google search and look for the names of individuals involved in the company.

While online forums can be useful, bear in mind that with the anonymous nature of text based sites, anybody (including competitors) can pose as a disgruntled customer…and they often do. Many legitimate companies have been ruined by well-orchestrated smear campaigns on behalf of their competitors. Look at the information, but use caution when evaluating what you see on internet forums.

10.) Will you modify more than one mortgage, and do you offer help with a forbearance agreement, short sale, deed in lieu of foreclosure?  Do you charge extra fees for these additional services?

If a loan modification effort fails, you need to know what ‘Plan B’ is. Even if you can’t stay in the house, walking away and doing nothing is definitely not the right option.

A Deed in Lieu of foreclosure, where you give the house back to the lender, should be your last resort. There are consequences of this action, but they are far less than that of a foreclosure. It will generally leave you with less bruised credit and likelihood of a judgment against you compared to having the lender foreclose.

Some loan modification companies offer alternate services, such as a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure free of charge if the initial effort to modify the loan is not successful and the homeowner is unable to keep the house.

11.) Do you have any complaints against your company with the Attorney General’s Office, Better Business Bureau, etc?

This is important to know. If a company has complaints it doesn’t necessarily mean they are a bad company, depending on their volume of transactions.

For instance, if a modification company has been in business several years and has processed hundreds or thousands of modifications, a few complaints over several years, is probably not a big deal. However if they started six months ago and already have 30 complaints, then that’s probably a red flag.

If the business is reputable, see how they handled any customer complaints, since every business, if they’ve been around a while, will inevitably have them.

Also bear in mind that the Better Business Bureau rating is VERY subjective – for instance, Best Buy has an ‘F’ rating, and Disney Films has an ‘E’ rating! Ratings also change, so make sure you read between the lines.

Conclusion: We’re currently experiencing an unprecedented era of economic turmoil, and it is unfortunate that many vultures have risen to swoop in and take advantage of people’s desperation.

Hopefully this report has put you in a more empowered position than you were prior to reading it. By applying it to every modification company you look into, you give yourself a much better chance of finding a competent company that can solve your financial crisis.

Remember, while these questions serve as a measuring stick, you also want to take a step back and look into the ‘big picture’ and as the saying goes, ‘trust your gut’. Is the company run by people who are ‘visible’ and put themselves out there publicly using new media tools like blogs and videos, or do they hide behind ‘template’ websites?

Do you get the feeling that they are competent, and that they also truly have empathy for your situation?

No matter what happens, remember that a house is just that…a building. It doesn’t define who you are.

Thomas Jefferson is considered the key author of the Declaration of Independence and one of the greatest presidents and Americans in history, yet few people know that he lived in substantial debt his entire life. He died in deeply in debt and his estate was unable to satisfy it. Should we think less of his accomplishments? No, exactly, and you should not think any less of yourself because of mistakes you may have made. What matters now is what you do going forward.

You can spend time asking yourself ‘why me?’, or you can ask yourself ‘how can I use this challenge to find a way to solve my problem?’ – either way you will get an answer. It is up to you to choose which question to ask.

I wish you success in your search for a solution to your housing crisis.

Todd Wetzelberger is a 11 year real estate industry veteran who rebounded from financial catastrophe after Hurricane Katrina devastated his real estate business. He specializes in issues relating to the foreclosure crisis and loan modifications.

With Todd’s first hand experience as a distressed homeowner himself, he is devoting his energy to help the vast number of financially distressed homeowners who wish to stay in their property, but are failed by the government bailout plan or so-called ‘housing counseling agencies’ like ACORN.

To get the straight facts on solving your own housing crisis visit his website at www.SurefireLoanMod.com.

The Economy Fuels Cyber Crime

May 6th, 2015 by admin

According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), cyber crime was up in 2008, and if the first few months of 2009 is anything to go by, this trend is not only continuing, it is accelerating.
As the country slides into recession, early indicators for 2009—February to March 2009—shows an additional 50% increase in reported Internet fraud complaints.
“These numbers are shocking, but given that the vast majority of incidents go unreported, the threat of identification theft is actually much more serious than even these figures would lead us to believe,” says Justin Yurek, President of ID Watchdog, Inc. Common wisdom says that only one cyber crime in seven—or about fifteen percent—is actually reported.
Internet fraud includes everything from bogus sales on auction sites such as eBay and classified sites like craigslist.com, to smaller scale version of the Ponzi scheme perpetrated by disgraced New York financier Bernard Madoff.
As an example, a scam recently surfaced via e-mails that masquerade as originating from the FBI and other federal agencies seeking the recipient’s bank account information in order to “help with illegal wire transfer investigations.” Sweet.
The Recession Impact
Many observers put the continued surge in cyber crime down to the recession, and for several reasons.
As reported by the TechArena Forum , McAfee for one, in their annual McAfee Virtual Criminology Report—which examines emerging global cyber security trends, with input from leading academics, criminal lawyers, law enforcement authorities and security experts across the world—identified the following challenges:
The Cyber Credit Crunch — The cyber criminal is now trying to cash in on consumer anxiety to profit from old-fashioned “get rich quick” scams.
Meaning, that there are now people who voluntarily sign up to add malicious code to their websites, lured by the promise of easy money. At the same time, desperate job seekers are being recruited as “money mules” to launder cybercriminal gains under the guise of “international sales representatives” or “shipping managers.”
In addition, with the economic downturn driving more people to the web to seek the best deals, opportunities for cybercriminals to attack are on the rise as people are more easily drawn in.
Governments are distracted — As governments grow more and more preoccupied with the economic downturn, their fight against cyber crime slides down their agenda, inviting more and more audacious individuals onto the cyber crime field.
The Cybercop Shortage — It is a known fact that police forces on the cyber crime front line often lack the specialist skills required to effectively fight these criminals.
Furthermore, the lack of dedicated and ongoing training, sufficient remuneration, or even a clear career path, is causing cyber crime specialists to be lured into the more lucrative private sector or even into underground economies.
Criminality Concealed — Eastern Europe, Russia and China have become key safe havens for cybercriminals while Brazil has become one of the fastest growing scapegoat countries for cybercrime. Traffic is often re-routed (and often via Brazil) as a decoy causing considerable misdirection in the origin of attacks.
Information Silo — While law enforcement is bound to physical national boundaries, cybercriminals are free to cooperate across borders.
Law enforcement communication between countries remains inconsistent and limited. Local issues and priorities take precedence over global efforts and international laws are being implemented with regional variations that impede the ability to negotiate jurisdiction and extradition between countries.
This is an environment that plays right into the hands of the cyber criminal, much to the frustration of cyber police.
Microsoft’s Take
As reported by RedOrbit Microsoft shares McAfee’s view that the global recession could prove to be a starting point for an influx of more cyber criminals seeking to use their computer skills to earn extra money.
“Today these (cyber) attacks are no longer about vandalism, they are about cash,” says Roger Halbheer, Microsoft’s chief security advisor for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
“Cyber crime has gone from cool to cash. And this will definitely grow in the future,” he told AFP (Agence France-Presse) during a recent international conference on terrorism and cyber security in Spain. “At the moment we are still at the cool side. But I’m expecting it to move to the cash side.”
He then went on to add that it is, “one of the things that scare me about the economic downturn because I expect cyber crime to grow.”
Also, the current economic crisis is causing a large number of layoffs, many of them from tech firms, meaning that more and more computer experts will have a lot of time on their hands, but no money. Tempting.
Fixing any and all security issues in software, does not solve the problem for, “Unfortunately the bad guys don’t give up and go away. Instead they increasingly focus on crimes of deception that prey on human vulnerabilities rather than software vulnerabilities.”
A Law Enforcement Perspective
Lt. Rocky Costa, who until recently headed up the Southern California High Technology Task Force agrees. “In fact, law enforcement has always seen a rise in all sorts of theft crimes when the economy goes south. The crooks look to fraud as the best way to separate folks from their money. People are most vulnerable when money is tight and they are looking to save their homes, savings, retirements, and often, their families.
“They become easy prey to the con-artist who has no sense of right and wrong, but knows how to capitalize on human weaknesses. You see the con artist makes a living studying people and their behaviors. They know their success rate will increase as the economy tumbles and/or the recession climbs. Since a vast number of folks use technology daily, it is only natural to expect technology to be another weakness and another method for exploitation.
“Historically, the number of street robberies goes up, along with shoplifting, and burglaries as the money becomes scarcer. Although we have not yet seen these increases at the lab, we fully expect them. However, with the current economy, even government must begin to cut back. When they do, technology based crimes slide down the priority list in favor of these more visible types of theft.
“People need to stay vigilant in the face is despair, holding onto their values and good judgment will be the only way they will be able to fully protect what they have left, until we all see around the corner.”
A Call to Action During the opening keynote at RSA Conference 2009 Art Coviello, President of RSA, The Security Division of EMC, cautioned that the global cyber-threat continues to escalate and online fraudsters are more organized, collaborative and effective than ever. He addressed major forces such as the economy and emerging technologies that are driving the information security industry to evolve and adapt—and how these forces provide an opportunity for “inventive collaboration” to effectively restructure the information infrastructure.
“To combat the cybercriminals requires far more purposeful collaboration on the part of the industry and a strong security ecosystem built around a common development process focused on risk,” said Coviello. “Today’s security technologies are applied as independent applications cluttering the information landscape and leaving perilous gaps of risk.”
Coviello cited three major forces driving the information security industry to evolve and adapt, including:
• the challenge posed by the criminal threat;
• the demand upon enterprises and governments to achieve unprecedented levels of productivity to restore value to the faltering economy; and
• the opportunity to rethink the approach to security based upon emerging technologies and trends such as virtualization, cloud computing and social networking.
According to Coviello, ‘We must embrace a common development process that allows us to create a more secure infrastructure today. Then with an eye on the future we can ensure that the new technical infrastructure is designed around that process, rather than forcing a process around a collection of technologies.
“We must develop a stronger and healthier ecosystem than the fraudsters and ensure the fluid and frictionless exchange of information on which our global economy depends. It’s not about changing the game; it’s about winning the game,” said Coviello.
Educating the Individual
However, it does not matter of safe our hardware and software becomes, if the individual citizen, desperate for money—and reaching for digital straws, as it were—believes that perhaps this Nigerian Prince really does exist and really does want to spit his $2 Million 50/50 if only he were to help him.
And by the same token, scouring the Internet for the best deal, and finding some that are (in fact) too good to be true, he may pounce on them, not only losing his money in the process, but also his credit card number and other private information.
The same holds true for many “work-at-home” opportunities that only require a small $300 payment for the material you will need to make “thousands a week from your kitchen.” You’ve seen them. Well, as often as not, you will not even receive the material, and by the time you’ve wised up, your card has been charged, your money gone.
The time to wise up is now.
Internet Commerce Made Safe
As we all know, at least during some of our more rational moments—the “too good to be true” deal is often precisely that. But that is not to say that there are no good deals out there. In fact, the Internet is probably the marketplace that to a large extent will pull the economy out of its slump, precisely because it is replete with good deals and true opportunities.
But how to tell the good from the bad?
According to the IC3, the best way to guard against Internet facilitated scams is to stay informed. Keeping informed of the latest scams on the Internet may enable Internet users to recognize and report these scams instead of losing money or their identity information in one of them. To learn about the latest scams, they recommend periodically checking the IC3, FBI, and the FTC websites for the latest updates.
Additionally, the IC3 and its partners have launched a public website, “www.lookstoogoodtobetrue.com,” which briefs the consumer about various consumer alerts, tips, and fraud trends. Pay it a visit. Make it a habit.
Also, when it comes to online auctions, and the potential of non-delivery of goods that you’ve paid for, the IC3 makes these specific recommendations:
• Make sure you are purchasing merchandise from a reputable source. As with auction fraud, check the reputation of the seller whenever possible, including the Better Business Bureau.
• Try to obtain a physical address rather than merely a post office box and a phone number. Also, call the seller to see if the number is correct and working.
• Send them an e-mail to see if they have an active e-mail address. Be cautious of sellers who use free e-mail services where a credit card was not required to open the account.
• Investigate other websites regarding this person/company. Do not judge a person/company by their fancy website; thoroughly check the person/company out.
• Be cautious when responding to special offers (especially through unsolicited e-mail).
• Be cautious when dealing with individuals/companies from outside your own country. Remember the laws of different countries might pose issues if a problem arises with your transaction.
• Inquire about returns and warranties on all items.
• The safest way to purchase items via the Internet is by credit card because you can often dispute the charges if something is wrong. Also, consider utilizing an escrow or alternate payment service after conducting thorough research on the escrow service.
• Make sure the website is secure when you electronically send your credit card numbers.
Bona Fide vs. Fraudulent Online Escrow Companies
If you have found a good online deal and are now ready to purchase, it would serve you very well to take IC3’s recommendation and engage an online escrow service.
The problem is that while there are several bona fide online escrow sites, they are nowhere near as many as there are fraudulent ones.
So, how can you be sure that the escrow company you’re considering using is in fact what it says it is?
You must research it. First, do a WHOIS search on the domain. This will show you how long the site has been up, where it is being hosted, how many times the site has been taken down. These are clues. If it smells fishy at all to you, go elsewhere.
Then Google the name of the escrow company to see what gives. This will lead you to forums and other articles. Study them well.
Then, when you have found a site that appears legitimate, travel the extra mile and take one of several additional steps:
• Firstly, while fraudulent sites can buy the necessary certificate to make it a secure site, they seldom do;
• Secondly, you can check at escrow-fraud.com to see if the site you have decided on is listed as a fraudulent site by them; they also maintain a list of bona fide sites;
• Thirdly, you can call the site’s customer service department to make sure they are based in the United States. If you have any doubts about that, ask them to call you back, and check the caller ID—if it is an international call, beware. Also, if the site does not have a customer service department, again, beware;
• Once you know that you’re talking to a U.S. based service department, ask any questions you can think of to ensure they are legitimate, such as which bank are they using for their escrow accounts, and who is their main contact at that bank (whom you can then call to verify that this online escrow company does in deed have an escrow account there);
• If the answer is a well-known American bank, and if the customer service rep can supply contact information at the bank, you are 99% there. Then, if you want to reach 100%, make that final call to the bank to rule out any vestige of doubt.
Now you have found an online escrow company you can trust; register with them and enjoy your purchase.
Escrow.com
To make your life a little easier, there is an online escrow company with the credentials to put your mind at ease.
Licensed by the state of California—as well as by the States of Idaho and Arizona, who require separate licenses—Escrow.com is the only on-line escrow company credentialed to serve every state in the Union, and who indeed does so 24/7.
While Escrow.com will handle transactions of any size, it may not make financial sense to turn to them for low cost items since their transaction fee is $25, and their commission is $63 per $1,000 value of the transaction if payment is by credit card and $32.50 per $1,000 for wire transfers.
But, if you value your sleep, Escrow.com would be indispensible for any transaction of $250 on up.
While Escrow.com is gaining increasing recognition as the Internet escrow company to turn to for peace of e-commerce mind, their staff, on a daily basis, also hunt and diligently work to shut down fraudulent impostors, which are encountered daily.
And they spring up like mushrooms, these impostors: there are days that Escrow.com staff discovers as many as ten new such sites.
The good news is that as these sites are tracked down, authorities are alerted and the sites are soon off the air.
Bay Weighs In
To quote the biggest online auction site of them all, eBay: “Pay safely – beware of fake escrow services when you consider using them to pay for your eBay item.
“For eBay transactions, you should use eBay’s only approved Escrow Company: www.escrow.com.”
Escrow.com Customers Weigh In
Zan Christensen operates a small craft mall and recently completed the sale of a domain name using Escrow.com.
“This transfer was the most convenient and easy to accomplish sale I could have imagined and hoped for, and the most pleasant surprise of how the process moved so smoothly and quickly! Other companies would do well to follow your business model—service, integrity, excellent help access and communication, and most importantly—safe!”
When asked how he came by Escrow.com, Zan says, “I went online and did some research on third party escrows, and I kept seeing over and over and over again: Escrow.com. It kept coming up in multiple discussions, and of course it is recommended by eBay and a whole bunch of domain name companies, selling companies.
“To make a long story short, after researching half a dozen other third party escrow companies and going through their websites page by page and reading thousands of paragraphs about how they operate—everybody is a little bit different—I settled with Escrow.com because I felt it was the safest and I saw that they are very structured, very organized and everything was step by step and validated and verified before the next step is processed, and it worked out great.
“And I definitely picked the right company: The ease of the interface between me and the site in setting up an account; the ease of creating a new transaction, setting out your parameters for the deal, and getting the other party to agree to them: it was so convenient.
“And fast. I received the go-ahead to transfer the name at 7:30 in the morning I had money in the 2:30 that afternoon.”
Elliot Silver buys and sells domain names, and specializes in developing GeoDomans. “Escrow.com is trusted by non-domain professional and domain professionals alike, they are easy to use, and it’s quick to do a transaction through them.”
When asked what he would recommend you do to establish Escrow.com’s credentials, Elliot said, “For one, they should know that Escrow.com is one of the very few online escrow companies that are approved to do business in California. Then I’d suggest that they Google Escrow.com—such as “Escrow.com Review” or “Escrow.com eBay”—and read the articles. That will dispel any fears.
“Also, they’ve been around for a long time, and they own the category. It is the industry-defining domain name. That’s who they are, and that is what they do. They are recommended by the biggest companies who do not handle escrow themselves. They all recommend Escrow.com as a third party.”
Escrow.com—A Soon-To-Be Household Name
As Escrow.com gains further and further recognition on its way to become a household name, it gets harder and harder for impostors to defraud the public for the excellent reason that they are not Escrow.com—the only name you know you can trust.
Here’s to good and safe Internet deals.
Ulf Wolf, based in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, writes about cybercrime for Escrow.com.

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho-based Ulf Wolf writes about cybercrime for Escrow.com

Buying Safe on Online Auction Sites

May 3rd, 2015 by admin

Fraud runs rampant across the Internet and online auction sites are a magnet for those dishonest individuals who want to steal your money. From the mega-giants like eBay to the mom %26 pop auction sites, the scammers find their way there if they think there’s any chance of snatching a dime out of your pocket. Even with all the safeguards put in place by those sites trying to eliminate their presence, these rip-off artists still somehow find their way into your trust and then your pocketbook. Whether its international thieves from Nigeria and other countries, or simply delinquent kids here in the United States, the problem has reached serious proportions. It appears law enforcement agencies have very little time and minimal resources to combat the problem in any real depth. As CEO of UpperBid.com Online Auctions, I see the problem first hand, and I am writing this article in hopes it will help buyers avoid getting ripped off.

Spotting the Rip-off Seller

Fortunately for the buyer, identifying the rip-off seller is usually not a difficult task since most dishonest sellers tend to be sloppy, lazy and not very bright. Their success usually only comes off the gullibility and innocent trust of their victims.

The most obvious red flag in identifying the rip-off seller is when you are somehow able to purchase an item for way below the cost it is being sold for everyone else on the web. The scammers will usually place an item at a much lower price since their objective is close the sale and placing it close to the price of other sellers will most likely not produce any sales for them, especially on a different auction site other than eBay. They will usually focus on high-ticket items that are in high demand such as computers, video game systems, and phones. They are less likely to place something up for sale that will take a long time to sell, no matter how valuable. They want the quick buck and they want it now. The more in demand the high-ticket item you are buying is, the more scammers there are trying to pretend they have that item for sale. The wise saying, ‘If it’s too good to be true, it probably is’ definitely applies here. You simply are not going to get a computer or some other item for $500 that is selling everywhere else on the web for $1000.

In addition, look at a seller’s other auctions if the site allows you to. Scammers generally tend to have only a few auctions (usually dutch on each one when allowed by the site so they can get more sales on each listing) and these are almost always only for high-ticket items way below the going price. Since they tend to be the laziest bunch in society, you will usually not find more than a few auctions listed. They simply don’t like to do any real work. Of course, there are always exceptions to this, but it is rare.

Often with a scam seller, you will find sloppy and quickly pasted together titles and descriptions that ramble on that show very little skill in how to sell an item, but this in itself doesn’t mean it’s a rip-off seller. Also, they can sometimes have a very good description, but again, since they are usually lazy, they just cut and paste this from some legitimate auction somewhere. This sloppiness should only be considered if it is in conjunction with other signs.
One of the most important considerations when dealing with sellers is to look at their feedback provided on the site where they are selling. If there is no feedback, there is of course more risk to you. Seldom will you find a scam seller with feedback on a legitimate auction site, though there are exceptions to this. Even when there is feedback, check the dates of the feedback and see how recent or old the feedback is. If you see a long-term steady stream of feedback over many months to present, that is a good sign that it is probably a legitimate seller. Scammers do sometimes sell a couple of items at a low price to get good feedback or may use another second account to generate fake feedback, so if all the feedback is recent, then the feedback becomes less valuable for determining validity. Having said this, there are a lot of legitimate new sellers who don’t have any feedback yet and feedback alone should not deter you from making a purchase unless you see a lot of the other signs mentioned here.

Another sign often found with scammers is their insistence of urgency in paying for the auction item since they are worried about getting caught or discovered and not getting the money. They may even use the words ‘immediately’ or ‘as soon as possible’ when asking for payment. Sometimes you can see this in their auction listing itself.

It is getting more and more difficult to identify rip-off sellers from the methods of payment they accept since I have seen a trend of more of them using Paypal and Google checkout now. But generally, if a seller will only take Western Union, check and/or money order, that is a red flag. The more options they accept for payment, the more likely they are a legitimate seller since it is more difficult to get setup at more than one payment processing company (say both Google and Paypal) and they are also generally lazy. Yet, be careful of this too since I have seen them offer these forms of payment but then try to push you towards another method of payment if you request the one they really can’t use. For example, they may offer Paypal, but then try to tell you they have problems with that account and try to push you toward one of the other methods they offer. They may also try to push you to use an escrow service or payment processing service you have never heard of before, which often is merely a fraudulent site set up by the rip-off seller to solicit your credit card information.

Payment Options for the Buyer

We now need to review payment methods the buyer can use and examine the safety and risks of each method.

If you are a buyer, I strongly suggest that you never, ever send cash. In addition, a request for payment through Western Union is a favorite of scammers, and should be avoided. If a seller cannot take any other form of payment, that should raise a red flag. Checks and money orders should never be used for high-ticket items. If you must use a check or money order for any amount, I strongly recommend writing on the back of the instrument ‘For Deposit Only.’ This will make it much more difficult in the case of a scammer since they will need to actually deposit it into a real bank account that can later be traced back to them. We actually require sellers on UpperBid.com who accept checks or money orders on our site to be willing to take them with ‘For deposit only’ on the check.

It is probably best to now bring up the danger of escrow services and payment processing services. Be careful when considering the use of an escrow or payment processing service unknown to you, because there have been hundreds of fake escrow services and payment processing services popping up across the Internet for years now. If you have a seller trying to get you to use a specific escrow service or payment processing company you have never heard or, be very wary. Even if you find one on your own, make sure you do your research to ensure they are a valid legitimate company that you can trust. They will often fraudulently use logos of the Better Business Bureau, Verisign and other such graphics to give them a look of authenticity. If you get conned into using a fake service, then they will charge your card and cause you all kinds of problems once they get that information.

The safest way for you to pay at this point on the Internet is through Google Checkout or Paypal if directly using your credit card to pay since they process your transaction from your credit card and the seller never sees the actual credit card information. There are a few others as well that are legitimate and allow you to pay with a credit card, but these are the two most reliable. If you end up getting scammed, you can dispute the transaction with your credit card company as long as you pay directly from your credit card for the product or service.
Many readers may think paying from your Paypal account is the safest method, but unfortunately this definitely is not the case. The Paypal Buyer Protection Policy ‘only applies to items purchased on eBay or to payments funded through your debit card and processed through the ATM debit network.’ And it does not cover non-tangible goods, live auctions, or vehicles (even if on eBay) and does not provide protection for non-eBay purchases. Even the coverage for eBay purchases is limited to only $200 of the cost in many cases. They may cover up to $2,000 if strict requirements are met (seller has a feedback rating of at least 50, seller’s feedback is at least 98% positive, seller has a verified premier or business account in good standing, Paypal is listed in the description as an acceptable payment method, and the seller is from a list of specified countries). Also, there are flaws in this protection system even for eBay purchases. For example, if you file a claim for an item not arriving, and then the seller sends the item to you, you will not be able to open up another claim if the product is defective or not as described.

Here is their description of their various Buyer Protection programs from their site:

Buyer Protection Programs. If you buy an item using Paypal and either do not receive the item or receive an item that you believe is Significantly Not as Described by the seller, we encourage you to open a Dispute with the seller in our Resolution Center. By doing so, you will initiate our Online Dispute Resolution Process—a step-by-step system designed to facilitate communication between you and the seller in order to get resolution of the issue. If your dialogue with the seller fails to produce a satisfactory result, you can then escalate the Dispute into a Claim that we will evaluate for reimbursement under one of the following programs:
a. Paypal Buyer Complaint Policy – Our best efforts program to reimburse Users for losses only to the extent we are able to recover the funds from sellers.
b. Paypal Buyer Protection Policy – Our program to reimburse Users for losses for up to (i) $2,000.00 USD (Top Tier Coverage Amount) for eligible items purchased on eBay and (ii) up to $200.00 USD (Basic Tier Coverage Amount) for all other eligible items purchased on eBay and for eligible items purchased on eBay. Please see section 13.9 to determine whether Top Tier Coverage Amount or Basic Tier Coverage Amount applies to your eBay purchase.
c. Buyer Protection for eBay Express – Our program to reimburse Users for the full amount of losses for items purchased on eBay Express.
d. Extended Buyer Protection with Paypal Credit – Our program to reimburse Users for the full transactional amount of the items purchased using Paypal Credit.
These programs only cover payments for tangible, physical goods. All other payments, such as payments for intangibles, services, airline flight tickets, or licenses and other access to digital content are not covered by any Buyer Protection Program that we offer (but may be covered by Chargeback rights).

When using your Paypal account for the purchase of non-eBay goods, you are eligible for the Buyer Complaint Policy process of dispute and then claim, but there is no guarantee that you will recover anything in the case of a fraudulent transaction. Using a credit card to pay through the Paypal system if you are able to is only way to ensure you have control of your protection, since you can dispute any charge with your credit card company if you are ripped off. Paypal tries to discourage this type of payment and if you send a payment request to a Paypal registered email account, you will not see a payment by credit card option when you click through to the Paypal site. On the other hand, if you have the request sent to a non-registered email account, there is a link on the bottom that you can click and pay via your credit card without even using your Paypal account. It is highly advisable to have the seller send a payment request to an email address that is not registered with Paypal so you can pay with your credit card.

Summary for Safe Auction Buying

We will now summarize the above contents into a number of steps reduce your risk of getting ripped off when considering the purchase of an item for sale at an online auction.

1. Compare the final purchased price to that of the same item being sold elsewhere on the web.
2. Look at the other items a seller has for sale.
3. Review the quality of the listing’s title and description.
4. Examine the seller’s feedback.
5. Keep an eye out for an unnatural insistence for urgency in payment.
6. Evaluate their payment methods they accept.
7. Be wary of any changes they try to make regarding payment.
8. Pay by credit card only through an established credit card processing company.

Most sellers are honest, hardworking individuals who have great products and services. It is only the small minority of dishonest sellers who make these steps necessary. Now that you have this valuable information to assist you in weeding out the scammers, enjoy a wonderful shopping experience as you find the great deals out there at online auctions.

Robert King, CEO
http://www.upperbid.com

Robert King is CEO of UpperBid LLC, the company that runs the online auction website http://www.upperbid.com. He has been involved with online auctions in a variety of capacities since 2001, including as a former eBay power seller and store owner. In addition, he has managed and administered a variety of different websites since 1999.

The Problem of the Middle

April 30th, 2015 by admin

In the aftermath of the President’s State of the Union address, one thing remains clear; the President will attempt to make his reelection about the middle class. Indeed, President Obama characterized the next few years as a ‘make or break’ time for the middle class.

We frequently hear elected officials and candidates for office talk about the protection of the middle class but we rarely spend much time defining what the middle class really is. In 2008, the Annenberg Public Policy Center tackled this issue and discussed a variety of ways that may be useful in defining the middle class. One obvious way is through income. We could look at Census Bureau figures on median income and income ranges to help determine who fits within this middle class. Doing so produces middle class income ranges anywhere from $40,000 to approximately $70,000 or more. While income may be a necessary component of any definition of middle class, it is woefully insufficient.

A second way to define the middle class is through the eyes of Americans. Americans rarely view themselves as lower class or even working class. Voters are always more likely to consider themselves middle or upper middle class regardless of income level. This makes for a very large self-perceived middle class. However, are these self-designations accurate? Even though someone may associate themselves with being middle class, is this an accurate depiction? Perception may not be reality.

Yet another way to look at the middle class is quality of life. Quality of life can be defined in a myriad of ways but, for our purposes, we will look at quality of life as the ability to pay one’s bills, own a home, save for retirement, and provide a college education. When measured by these standards, fewer Americans may fit within the middle class category than they believe. Let’s look at the ability to pay bills. The primary driver of the debt for many Americans (besides mortgages) is credit card debt. Discerning trends in credit card defaults is difficult. The major credit card companies report lower default and delinquency rates in February, 2011 than their historic highs in 2009 (SmartCredit, 2011). However, patterns are always difficult to discern in credit card defaults as credit restrictions have tightened thus reducing the prospect of future delinquencies. Various sources report that the average household credit card debt has increased to approximately $15,000. There is little doubt that Americans continue to finance their quality of life with credit.

Another way to look at quality of life is through the lens of spending. The Congressional Budget Office (2011) also reports that real personal consumption spending has eroded dramatically and consistently since the 1960s.

Homeownership has always been called the American Dream. However, is this American Dream still part of the middle class equation? The foreclosure crisis has been documented extensively and foreclosure rates are at all-time highs. Personal savings rates are also down from a moving average of 8.1% for the entire period from 1955-2008 to an average of 2.9% for 200-2008 (Safe Haven, 2010).

Middle class employees always planned on having a retirement nest egg to rely on. However, the Employee Benefit Research Institute reports that nearly half of all late baby boomers are at risk of not having sufficient savings upon retirement.

Middle class Americans also dream of a better life for their children. Draconian cuts to higher education in many states threaten the ability of middle class families to send their children to college. In my home state of California, cuts to the California State University system have eliminated nearly 30,000 slots for incoming freshmen. This forces many prospective students into the community college system where cuts to classes have resulted in students finishing their Associates degrees in three to four years instead of two.

The quality of life dimensions to defining the middle class tend to show that the numbers of Americans truly living a middle class lifestyle are shrinking. Finding an acceptable definition of the middle class is further complicated by the contextual nature of quality of life. An income of $60,000 may help a family in rural Mississippi to realize most if not all of the quality of life indicators discussed above yet woefully insufficient for a family in metropolitan New York or Los Angeles. Therefore, the categorization of someone as ‘middle class’ is also contingent on where he or she lives and the choices that individual makes.

Whatever definition one chooses to use, it is clear that, at the least, the middle class faces great challenges in almost every facet of quality of life. At worst, the middle class is not what it used to be.

By focusing on saving the middle class, both parties may be missing the bigger picture. The real issue is the quality of life for Americans and how to improve this quality of life regardless of the categorization that one uses. It is readily apparent that the Obama campaign will focus its efforts on pointing out the income and wealth disparities between upper income wage earners and the middle and working class. The primary approach to accomplish this is the ‘Buffet Tax’ on upper income taxpayers. The campaign has its poster child for this type of attack in Mitt Romney, hence the reason why the Romney campaign was so hesitant to release the Governor’s income tax information.

For their part, the Republicans’ theme has already been sounded by three of the remaining four candidates, namely, that nearly half of Americans pay practically no income taxes. It is true that a small portion of taxpayers pay a large amount of tax liabilities. The Tax Foundation reports that the top 5% of wage earners pay more in income taxes than the remaining 95%. It also reports that in 2009, the bottom 50% of taxpayers paid an average rate of 1.85% while the top 1% paid an average rate of over 24%.

Therefore, the general election will be a battle for the hearts and souls of the middle class. The battle will be fought over the politics of envy (as Governor Romney characterizes it) or the politics of disdain. Middle class voters will be asked to either penalize upper income taxpayers through an increased tax rate, which the Republican candidate will likely call the politics of envy, or force lower income taxpayers to pay more, which will be characterized by the Obama campaign as Republican disdain for lower income Americans. Whether middle class voters choose the politics of envy or the politics of disdain is trumped by a larger question – Is there a middle class left to care?

www.safehaven.com/article/18027/tax-rates-business-investment-personal-saving-rates-we-report-you-decide

www.smartcredit.com/blog/2011/03/16/credit-card-default-rates-up-down-and-flat-in-february/

Dave Powell is a Professor of Public Policy and Political Science. His blogs can be found at powellonpolitics.com.

Car Dealerships

April 27th, 2015 by admin

Introduction

Car dealerships are just as important as the car themselves. You may know a lot about the car you intend to purchase and you should also know about the car dealerships to. Here are some tips that will help as you are buying a car.

Article1-obtaining car loans

Before one can be able to buy a car, they actually need to have a source of finance. There are several ways which this can be done and one of them is through the use of car loans. Auto loans come in various shapes and sizes and one of them is through the use of auto refinance loans. There are plenty of Companies that offer this service so it is up to the car buyer to make sure that he gets the best deal. The best deal in this instance is the one that will allow him or her to able to pay a low interest rate. (Dauglaus, 2007)

Most car buyers actually think that it is only possible to get a good refinance when they have good credit. But these days there are alternatives that allow one to be able get some good deals at despite cases of sub prime loans with high interest. Car dealerships these days have become so expensive. It is therefore appropriate to find some other alternative in the market that allows one to save up; these are car refinances.

When one is given several offers, they should first check for some issues to make sure that all the aspects necessary are dealt with before hand. First of all, one should know what the value o the vehicle they would like to purchase. This should then be followed by checking for the offer in writing. Besides that, a potential car owner should make sure that the value of the car to be bought will have a higher value than what he will owe the auto lenders. Payment should be done in due time and on top of that one should make sure that they have been holding their loan for a period of twelve months. The potential buyer should make sure that he or she monitors their credit rating such that they get reports for every year they have been paying.

Interest rates are also an important thing to watch out for. One should make sure that they choose a refinance loan that offers interest rates that at least one percent less than what they have been offered by their car lenders. (Dauglaus, 2007)

It is quite easy to get a refinance loan. Most companies have their websites in the internet and one can be signed up at the touch of a button. One should approach these Companies with caution though because it is so easy to seal a deal. It can be finished even after just fifteen minutes.

Article2- car dealership tactics

This article talk about all the basic things one needs to know about car dealerships before they purchase a car. First of all, one should note that there is a lot of information out there about car dealerships. But most people normally get their information from advertisement on the net. But what they normally overlook is that you can be able to get fantastic deals at web blogs.

As you are looking for a car dealership, you should go directly to where they are. You can start with three car dealerships. Then asses the way those people give you information and whether they have good services. Little attention should be paid to price at this point because you are not buying yet, you are simply looking for a good car dealership. (Hoffman, 2007)

When you have found an appropriate car dealership, then it is necessary to state your case before hand. There is no need to waste hours and hours of precious time trying to settle on a price which you already know.  You should move out as soon as you realize that the car dealership’s offer is not going to change.

Car purchasers should take advantage of rebates. This is because they offer exceptional prices that may lie anywhere between five hundred to three thousand dollars below their invoice price. This normally occurs when the car to be purchased has stayed for very long in the store room and the car dealers simply want to get rid of it. But it should be noted that not all car dealerships can go below their invoice prices because sometimes these may be the only way that those dealerships have to make profits. (Hoffman, 2007)

Article 3- What to do when negotiating with car dealers

It is advisable to finance the car elsewhere rather than getting it from the dealership. As one shops for finance, it is crucial to find good rates. On top of that, buyers should beware that salesmen at car dealerships will try to get you to buy as many things on offer as possible; from financial services to car spare parts. One should only buy what is absolutely necessary since these people are simply trying to do their job. (Lorio, 2007)

It is advisable that if one is going to purchase a new car, then they should first sell their previous car on their own. This is because they might be counting on profits gained from the old one to set off expenses for the new car. Yet the deal might not go well.

Buyers should also beware that there are some car dealers that take advantage of their position as the first party to access a given car when I has been released for sale by the manufacturers. These car dealers get some parts of the car and sell them separately for very high prices yet those parts are supposed to be part of the entire car package. One car part that most dealers take advantage is the car alarm. This is what most car dealerships might tell you; we sell the car alarm to you as part of the entire car finance and all you will have to pay is say fifteen dollars a month. What they are not telling you is the fact that you will end up paying a total of one thousand two hundred instead of about three hundred dollars at an electronics store. I you are to tell the car dealers about this, they will probably try to discourage you from pursuing that line because they claim that installing foreign parts not designed for the car would damage others. They will also tell you that the part has a warranty that falls under the one offered for the car. This is just a gimmick to make more cash from you so do not fall prey to this. (Lorio, 2007)

A car dealership should only offer cars that are in tip top shape. Make sure that you only buy cars whose mechanical conditions are flawless. This is because in case the car breakdowns, then the good deal which you worked so hard to get has no meaning.

Article 4-governement car auctions

The article talks about how to purchase a used car. I know you can probably ask why would l go for a used car. Well, there are plenty of reasons why this is a suitable alternative. First of all, you get great bargains; it is not uncommon to find cars that may cost as low as one thousand dollars when you would purchase them at a local car dealership for ten or twenty times that price.

It’s advisable to consider government auctions as a suitable alternative to purchase a used car. You might ask yourself where those cars in the auctions come from. Well, most vehicles are the ones that have been captured by branches of the government like the DEA or the Federal Bureau of Investigation. These auctions charge a small fee like say thirty dollars; these are peanuts compared to the savings you will get from such a deal. On top of that it is possible to find that most of these auctions display vehicles that are in almost new status. However buying any item from auctions is always a risk because you are basically swimming into unknown waters. They normally tell you that you are purchasing items in the as- is state. That is, you may not get a chance to see it all the fine details for yourself before the purchase. But chances are most of the vehicles will be in quiet good condition. Here’s something you did not know; most used car dealerships normally come to these types of auction to get bargains. It is not uncommon to find a car dealership that bought a certain car for a reasonable price and then find them selling it at say five times more than what they bought it for. (Aguirre, 2007)

If you are probably asking where these government auctions can be found, well the internet is a God send. All you have to do is visit websites such as http://realtimeauction.com/ which is a government car auction website. Besides that, there are numerous advertisements normally placed on radio, television and other forms of media. They usually give details about where the car auctions will be, time, types of vehicles sold there. One should take their time to select the exact make of car they would.

There are also other options for finding used vehicles. One of the most obvious places to look for is EBay or other sources like Crag lists. When you decide to settle for EBay, then you may not get the exact car you like at an instant. It is therefore necessary to take your time and keep checking until you finally get what you need. (Aguirre, 2007)

There are certain things that need to be examined when purchasing a used car whether it is obtained from government auctions or simply from any type of dealership. One should start with the vehicle’s body work. Never choose car that has too much repair done on it. This will normally ooze out through the paint job done. Through the paint on the body, you can still see what kind repair work has been done. If it is quite visible then this is a big no- no. Otherwise such vehicles simply tend to fall apart after you have bought them.

If you are not very familiar with vehicles, it is advisable to bring a friend who knows lot about mechanics. Here’s what you should look out for. First, the general appearance, then make sure that there is no oil leaking out of the car. There should be no leaking gaskets either. Also, make sure that the car does not make any funny noises as this is normally a sign that there is something that has gone wrong somewhere. On top of that make sure that there are no weird smells either. Nothing should go unchecked. If anything is where it should not be, or you are just not sure about it, then the best thing is to simply let go.

After checking out the exterior, it is quite advisable to get inside the car. Make sure that all the systems inside are in perfect condition. These include the air conditioner, radio; electronics and any other system necessary to get the car working properly. Avoid cars that have been poorly maintained by their previous owners. Make sure that they are not torn or that they do not have a dashboard that is just aching for attention and repairs. On top of that, it is also necessary to smell it. Avoid cars that have quire smells even if it was a smoker’s vehicle. It is also possible to find that some vehicles have been damaged by water. These are all cars to stay away from because they will only complicate your motoring experience. (Aguirre, 2007)

If the car is being bought from a private arrangement rather than a government auction, then make sure that you obtain all the necessary receipt work that put down the repair work previously done to the car. This will go a long way to show how rugged the car has been or what kind of condition it is in. If the repairs were too many, then it is an indication that the car will damage you financially. Also make sure that you ask as many questions as possible. This is because most owners selling their cars actually have good intentions. They would like it if they sold their car to someone who did not seem reckless or to someone who was bound to take good care of vehicle. Besides, it is your right, if that car is going to be part of life for a while, you might as well know as much about it as you can.

Article 5- avoiding car dealership scams

When getting yourself a new car, it is crucial to remember that there are plenty of people out there who are not as legitimate as you are. So you should exercise discretion and caution. Cases have been reported of car dealerships that involved themselves in scams. The thing is, car dealerships scams are so easy to do and do not involve a great deal of wit. You might be asking yourself what is all the fuss about. Are these scams really worth all the fuss? Well, reports have been found in the papers and other news sources about car dealers that have committed title fraud, where title fraud is failure to adequately transfer ownership of property from one party to another without the knowledge of the buyer. In the year 2006, there were cases of title fraud committed by car dealerships. One such example is a dealer in Mitsubishi vehicles located in Escondido California. This owner was found guilty of title fraud and was given a punishment of spending a day in jail, paying forty thousand worth of restitution and would be kept on probation for a period of three years. There was also another case of someone who had been accused ten times for this kind of fraud and was investigated and found guilty. (Serge, 2007)

Title fraud has become a common phenomenon because some car dealerships may be getting desperate. Maybe they had mismanaged their funds and did not have any sort of cash flow to fall back on. This means that the car dealer did not have a means to pay his employees and settle all other expenses. He therefore opts for a scam as an easy target for money. Other car dealerships just want to get what they do not deserve; they are greedy and will look for money any away they can.

Here’s how to make sure that one does not fall into the trap of car dealership scams. Taking an example of a car to be traded in to the car dealership for the purchase of another, let’s say the car to be traded in has been in use for the past two years and that the car dealership will give me a total of fourteen thousand dollars for the car. Maybe the past car payments are still not complete after the bank asked me to make installments of four hundred dollars every month for the next ten months. The car dealership will clear any accrued payments to the bank and still get their remaining ten thousand. A good car dealership will settle the remaining credit owed to the bank within a period of about three to five days. However, when dealing with a fraudster, they will not complete those payments owed to the back because they want to use the money for themselves. According to the bank, the car owners are the ones who asked for the loan and they will still be the ones held responsible for clearing the debt of four thousand. Such car dealerships will tarnish your credit record and will deny you chances from accessing another loan from them. Most car dealers doing this sort of thing normally keep lying to the car seller and to the bank that they will clear payments very soon but that doesn’t happen and time simply keeps on accumulating. (Serge, 2007)

Article 6-how to discourage car dealership fraud

Here’s another classic case that could be a potential loss for you as you purchase your vehicle. There are some car dealerships that contract mainly with floor plan lenders. These are lenders who will give the car dealership a number of cars to stock up their premises. Then the car dealerships will pay up interests and then finish off the whole amount after selling a car. This normally occurs because the car dealership may not want to owe too much in terms of inventory. If they had about 100 cars and each of those cars is about twenty thousand dollars, then they would have to pay a total of two million in stock. So to go around this, car dealerships look for a floor plan. They are supposed to pay of the floor plan lenders as soon as a customer purchases a car. But when one comes across some car dealerships who intend on committing a scam then they keep delaying payments made to these car dealerships.

Taking an example of someone who may be purchasing a car that costs about twenty thousand dollars, if it happens that this person is using auto finance from a bank then there is a window of opportunity for the fraudsters. Let’s say that the car dealership requires a down payment of three thousand dollars and the remaining is settled by the bank. You as the person making the car purchase may think that you are getting a good settlement for your payment but that may not be the case when dealing with crooks. What these people may do is that they may refuse to transfer ownership to you. They delay registering you and fail to notify their floor plan lender about the purchase. What normally happens is that the bank that was supposed to finance the purchase will send its money to you. But this will be used for other purposes. (Lorio, 2007)

There are a number of problems that could arise from this. First of all, if one falls into an accident, while using the car and it happens that they get seriously injured, and then insurance can become a very difficult issue to deal with. First of all, insurance Companies cannot offer compensation for a car that is registered. This is because the floor lenders still believe that their car has not been purchased and it is still in their name. The driver of the vehicle will be forced to pay for damages from his own finances. As if that is not enough, one might be forced to pay their own medical expenses and this may total up to around one hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Let’s not forget the fact that you will have tarnished your credit record with the bank.

There are a number of things that can be done in order to avoid such an awkward situation. First of all, one can make sure that they find out if the car dealership they are buying from has a floor plan dealer and who they are. After completing the down payment and all the necessary paperwork, it is advisable to call the floor plan lender and tell them about the transaction. It is also necessary to make sure that one gives them all the relevant details needed in transfer of ownership like one’s address, name etc. These are all essential details in making sure that the floor plan lender will expect payment from the car dealership after a period of three to five days. The car dealer will be discouraged from trying anything funny because their lenders already know. One should also call the given bank that lent them the money for financing the car purchase and should similarly give them all their details. One should also write letters to these latter two parties so that they can have evidence in case any questions arise.

Article 7-what to consider before making a car purchase

There are number of payments that have to be cleared before a certain purchase can be made. First of all, one has to make sure that they have a title for their car purchase. This means that the car dealership transfers the name of the vehicle from them to you. One also has to pay fees for getting a license. These fees depend on what state one stays in and what laws govern these payments. On top of that, one also has top clear with the dealership concerning the issue of paying up document preparation fees and also paying up notary fees. It should be noted that all these fees are stipulated within the laws. However charges differ from car dealer to another so it is up to the buyer to make sure that they get a good offer. (Law Guru, 2007)

In formation concerning these payments can be found from a license bureau within ones location. These are the ones that will be able to clarify on the limits that are allowed within that location. It should be noted that the car dealerships are the only ones with the legal mandate to complete all the requirements so one should make sure that no other third parties comes in.

Article 8- Can a car dealership refund car parts

There are times when one has purchased second hand car, and not long after using the vehicle, they experience some problems with it. For example if you bought a car around two weeks ago and its tires got worn out such that you cannot use them anymore, then one should not assume that they can get the car dealership to do something about it. The thing is the purchase of a used car is a risk on its own. So it is essential for one to make sure that all the parts are in perfect condition otherwise it will be up to that given person to finance the payments of purchasing the new tire or any other repairs that may come with the tire. However, one may sometimes get lucky and find a car dealership that will take responsibility especially if the vehicle in question has flaws that were made a short while after purchase. (Bellows, 2006)

Article 9 – which option is better trade- in’s or auto finances

If one has an old car that they purchased through auto finance and they would like a new car, it is a better idea to wait until one has finished paying of all the amounts owed to the given Company. Most people would rather trade in their old vehicle and then the rest of his payment owed to the bank will be left to the car dealership. This choice is not a very wise decision because of the following reasons. First of all, it leaves a lot of room for all sorts of scams and cons. This is normally because some car dealers may not notify all due parties about the transactions made. Secondly, selling the car yourself will always get you a better deal. This is because you will only settle for what is comfortable with you. When you are seller, you are at a better standing than when you are a buyer as the case would be for someone who is doing a trade in. Besides that, it is always better to deal with one loan before jumping into another when the other one is still left accrued. (Lorio, 2007)

Article 10-how to negotiate

The first thing you need to do before you go to a car lot is do loads and loads of research. Make sure that you find out everything about the car you want to purchase. This means that you should know the model you want, the color and most important the price you will pay for it. Remember that it is not a rough idea of the price but the exact price you will pay for it. If undecided, check out all the prices on offer at websites, car magazines and the like. Make sure that you know exactly what other additional payments car dealerships charge. These include taxes, inventories etc. Do not wait until you are at the car dealership with your check in hand before you find out the prices of these offers. (Saleman, 2007)

On top of that, it is crucial that you understand the psychology of a car salesman. Make sure that they do not have an undue advantage over you. This normally occurs when any of the following things occur. First of all, most customers make the biggest blunders when they feel that they are need to make the purchase as soon as possible. Choose a day in the week when few people are buying cars like say on a Tuesday. Saturdays are definite no because the salesroom will be packed and there will be no salesman to attend to you. This means that you will run out of patience when they finally get to you and you will be too tired to bargain. It is also crucial to make sure that you go over all the nifty gritty details with the salesmen at the car dealership. Most people may simply want to get- it-over with and this could be the point at which the car dealership takes advantage of you. Most car dealerships claim that the highest sales made are the ones where someone felt like they had a sense of urgency. (Saleman, 2007)

There are some things that you should do to create an impression within the first ten minutes of your encounter with the salesman at the car dealership. First of all, you should already know everything about the car you are looking for that is its features what kind of engine it has and many other futures. But let the salesman do his job. If you act too eager, he may be tempted to think you read desperate and may inflate prices. But also do not look awed by the car. This will normally be revealed by uttering words like ‘oh my god’. It is essential to remain calm because the work of a salesman is to read his customer and place him in a category. Ask some questions about the vehicle and other models but stick to what you came for. The problem with trying out other models is that you may not know their price ranges, charges for extra installations, fuel consumption rates etc. These may spell doom for you in the end because you will purchase something you had not planned for. Next, go for a test drive and, make sure that you check on all the details of the car. After the test drive, you may want to start talking about payments; this may be through a trade-in (a bad idea) or other auto payments. The first ten minutes will go along way in making sure that you are on the right track to purchasing your dream car. (Saleman, 2007)

Conclusion

Buying a car is an investment. This is something that should not be done abruptly or on impulse. Make sure that you do your homework thoroughly and this will place you at an advantage when you go to the dealership. It is important to ensure that al the aspects are counterchecked; from the form of auto finance charges by the dealership, makes or models available and all other necessary items. This will ensure a good deal. (Lorio, 2007)

Reference

Dauglaus Hondo (2007): Getting a good loan for your car; retrieved from http://www.modernautoloans.com accessed on 8th February 2008

Gary Hoffman (2007): Car dealership Tactics; retrieved from http://autos.aol.com

accessed on 8th February 2008

David Bellows (2006): Confessions of sales man, a journal on cars for 2006 (2nd March)

Luis Aguirre (2007): Government Car Auctions; retrieved from http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Luis_Aguirr accessed on 8th February 2008

Richard Serge (2007): A car dealership scam to avoid; retrieved from http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Richard_Serg accessed on 8th February 2008

Law Guru (2007): Bill of Sale Car; retrieved from http://www.lawguru.co accessed on 8th February 2008

Tony Lorio (2007): Inside Car Buying Tips; retrieved from http://www.insidercarsecrets.com accessed on 8th February 2008

Tony Lorio (2007): Some information about car dealership fees; retrieved from http://www.car-loan-quotecom accessed on 8th February 2008

Lawrence Saleman (2007): How to save money at a car dealership from an ex-salesman; retrieved from http://www.salberg.org accessed on 8th February 2008

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How to Prevent and Respond to Computer Crime Worldwide

April 24th, 2015 by admin

Computer Crime (cybercrime, e-crime) refers to criminal activity that involves the use of a computer and the internet. Could be traditional or innovative when a person is victimized by a cyber criminal, then he needs justice.

Computer Crimes across the world are growing at a rapid pace and Criminals or hackers are just one set in the ever growing list. But the real threat to your security is from Scammies or Scamsters who lure you into wonder worlds and let you wander there for some time, before they throw you into a deep ravine, from which, to come out takes time. In such cases not only money is lost, but also one faces humiliation coupled with mental trauma. The law enforcement agencies and Justice Departments globally are periodically updating to curb the hi-tech crime. What is most alarming is the various modus operandi adopted by these perpetrators to lure innocent victims’ worldwide?

Cyber-crime, a topic that has gripped the world of cybernetics, law enforcement agencies and Justice Departments of late in the wake of hacking of high profile websites across the globe. The main reason is more and more, companies and individuals rely on the services and resources provided through networks and computers. Companies may be dependent on the data to conduct business, while individuals may store information that is important to their personal or work-related activities. Due to this, it becomes vital that steps are taken to protect computer systems and the data that’s stored on them.

And of course courtesy to our social networks all our details are strewn across the info highway and that gives us a higher chance of vulnerability. The internet has come to stay and as mankind evolves through its evolutionary pathway, it is going to play a crucial role in all facets of human endeavor. Presently the internet is mainly used for issues of commerce and communication. But as time passes more and more utilities are springing up to pace up this innovative and economical medium. As the use of the internet becomes ubiquitous so would the prevalence of cyber-crime increase is imminent.

The alarming aspect of the situation is that no matter how many security measures you adapt, you are vulnerable and only presence of mind saves you from this precarious situation. But a few of these are important aspects to adhere, so atleast you are on guard and eventually would be able to get over crisis if at all it knocks your door.

The Cyber criminals jargon could be anything among the following. Cyber-hoodlums Hackers, fraudsters, cyber-bully, cyber-hypnotist, Internet Pedophiles, cyber-dissidents, disseminators of racists and xenophobic materials, cyber-gangsters and homicide criminals, internet human organ racketeers, internet dating sites scammers, unemployed youth, pranksters, Cybernetic insider, phishing group, cyber-extortionist, cyber-blackmailer, cyber-defamer, cyber-stalker and spammers.

Computer Safety: Install a genuine anti-virus on your system and periodically scan your systems. The virus definition file for the anti-virus software should be updated periodically, because new viruses are discovered every day. Maintain backups as they also offer protection from more common (and less exotic) threats such as accidental deletion of a file by an authorized user or failure of a hard disk drive. It is good practice to erect a ‘firewall’ between parts of a computer system that an external user can access (e.g., via modem or Internet or voice mail) and parts that are supposedly accessible only by a local user.

Internet Safety: For your internet accounts have valid passwords, which are unique and alpha-numeric. Change them at frequent intervals. Avoid spam mails, these mails generally contain malicious programs often contains ungrammatical text, punctuation errors, or misspelled words, because the author is a non-native speaker of English. To avoid online harassment, never give out your real name, address, city, telephone number, or other identifying information to a stranger in a chat room, computer bulletin board, or other public place. Be wary avoid Phishing mails they are fraudulent e-mail that typically purports to be from a bank, credit card company, or other financial institution. The e-mail might mention something about your account is suspended until you ‘verify’, ‘update’, or ‘validate’ some information. The e-mail invites you to click on a link in the e-mail. The link typically takes you to a web server located in a foreign country and operated by criminals, who display web pages with the logo and trademarks of a bank, credit card company, or government agency, which makes the webpage appear legitimate.

Reporting Cyber Crimes after doing some preliminary enquiry, to gain evidence is an extra precaution that has to be upheld. Try tracking locating and identifying culprits by doing a Whois.com search of the IP address. Also you could contact the Internet Service Provider for detailed information. In case of severity of the issue then contact your attorney, local sheriff or Police Department, Secret Service, Justice Department and cyber-detectives or Webmasters, as deemed necessary.

Once you are confident that the perpetrators are untraceable and are upto mischief, then it is time report the crime, depending on the type of cyber-crime committed, you can report the matter to any of the following agencies, The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), The United States Secret Service, The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), The United States Postal Inspection Service, The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), Internet Crime Complaint Center, The National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), United States Department of Justice, Stopfakes.gov, DMCA agents of various firms and institutions, Department of Homeland Security’s National Infrastructure Coordinating Center, Attorney’s of firms and institutions, U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (U.S. CERT), or your individual government bureau or its appropriate law enforcement agencies and Justice Departments

When a criminal perpetrates a crime, his attorney is likely to say that the criminal did everyone a favor by calling attention to lapses in security of computers. It is a criminal defense attorney’s job to put the best possible spin on the client’s horrible activities. However, recognize that ‘blaming the victim’ for the crime is a cheap shot. Even if the   behaved in an imprudent way, a victim never invites a crime.

Alpha-numeric, Cyber-hoodlums Hackers, fraudsters, cyber-bully, cyber-hypnotist, Internet Pedophiles, cyber-dissidents, disseminators of racists and xenophobic materials, cyber-gangsters and homicide criminals, internet human organ racketeers, internet dating sites scammers, unemployed youth, pranksters, Cybernetic insider, phishing group, cyber- extortionist, cyber-blackmailer, cyber-defamer, cyber-stalker, spammers, vulnerability, internet, Cyber Crime, hackers, Scammies or Scamsters, mental trauma, The law enforcement agencies and Justice Departments, Cyber-crime, cybernetics.

Paul Petrus The Empire State Building, 350 Fifth Avenue Suite No: 3601 New York Pin Code: 10118 United states Phone No: 212.385.1961 Website: http://www.petruslaw.com

Anti Poverty

April 21st, 2015 by admin

%26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26

Anti Poverty in USA

%26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26

%26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 Even the wealthiest nation in the world like the United States does not escape the problem of poverty. This paper takes a critical look at poverty and anti-poverty policies in the United States. In this paper, I have argued that poverty is caused by several factors. This paper also discusses the liberal and conservative perspectives for reducing poverty in America. The conservatives have focused on individual factors such as wide wage gaps, breakdown of family, racial factors and other reasons while the liberals have focused on the structural transformation of the American economy to explain the persistence of poverty. %26 Since 1960, both the federal and state governments have been responding with policies that address the problem with mixed results. In this paper, I have analyzed the policies and have also recommended the possible ways to deal with this intractable nature of poverty.

%26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 According to Sen (1981), %26lsquo;the poor are those people whose consumption standards fall short of the norms, or whose income lie below that line%26rsquo;. The word %26quot;poverty%26quot; suggests destitution, an inability to provide a family with nutritious food, clothing, and reasonable shelter. Over thirty-six million Americans live below the official U.S. poverty line (Blank, 2007). This means a family of three earns less than less than $ 16,000 or a single individual earns $10,300 per annum (Blank, 2007, p. 17). Millions more struggle each month to pay for basic necessities, or run out of savings when they lose jobs or face health emergencies. Job cuts, high rates of unemployment, foreclosures and high food and gas prices continue to stimulate policy formulation designed to improve the condition of the poor.

%26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 Poverty is integrally associated with misery and suffering. The lost potential of children in poor households and the lower productivity and earnings of poor adults are all intertwined with poor health, increased crime and broken neighborhoods. Childhood poverty typically leads to poor health care and high crime neighborhoods. Persistent childhood poverty is estimated to cost the United States $500 billion each year, or about 4% of the nation%26rsquo;s gross domestic product (Blank, 2007, p.1).

%26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 One in eight Americans lives in poverty and poverty in the United States is far higher than in many developed nations (Rebecca Blank, 2007, p1). Inequality has reached record high. The richest 1 percent of Americans in 2005 held the largest share of the nation%26rsquo;s income (19%) since 1929 (Rebecca Blank, 2007, p. 2). At the same time the poorest 20% of Americans held only 3.4% of the nation%26rsquo;s income (Rebecca Blank, 2007, p.2).

%26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 Colorado in spite of being surrounded by the beautiful Rocky Mountains and experiencing a cool, mountain climate has many homeless people. Scholars have identified that, a growing number of single parent households, a shortage of jobs for lower wage workers and a low rate of high school graduation have contributed to the growth of poverty in Colorado. The Colorado poverty rate has increased from 9.2% in 2000-2001 to 10.6% in 2005-2006 while the poverty rate of United States has increased from 11.5% in 2000-2001 to 12.5 % in 2005-2006 (Center on Law and Policy, 2006, p.1).%26 Most of these ill-fated poor people suffer from mental and health problems.%26

Causes of Poverty

%26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 Policy analysts are trying to explore numerous perceived direct and indirect causes of poverty in the United States to formulate effective policies to alleviate poverty. The work of scholars such as Corley (2003), Sowell ( 2004), Iceland (2006), Jencks (1992), James Tobin (1993) and others have shown that the intractable nature of poverty is a result of not any one factor but of the interaction of a variety of causes. The breakdown of family and other social causes as well as the structural changes in the economy, have all contributed to society%26rsquo;s failure to eradicate poverty inspite of ardent efforts by policy analysts.

%26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 Individual Explanation of poverty mainly stresses the attitudinal or motivational factors and human capital factors. Thus lack of motivation among indigents causes poverty. Generous welfare programs sometimes affect the mind-set of recipients and they prefer to stay at home and enjoy the benefits rather than work outside. Murray (1984) argues that individuals prefer to remain on welfare because of insufficient motivation to come out from public welfare programs.

%26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 Formulation and proliferation of policies to alleviate poverty has been a major concern of the United States Government since 1960. Educational attainment is necessary to get a high paying job. Elementary school education, as well as lack of adequate skills and motivation among indigents to come out of the situation is the major causes of poverty. People well equipped with technical skills get high salaried jobs while people who are school drop outs get low pay on an hourly basis. During the 1960s when the then- President of United States Lyndon Johnson began to implement the United States %26lsquo;war on poverty%26rsquo;, he placed great emphasis on education (Jencks, 1992). The Lyndon Johnson administration even invested in programs like Head Start and occupational training to upgrade the skills of the poor and also to prevent future generations from working in low-paying jobs. Scholars like Sowell (2004) and Corley (2003) have emphasized individual level factors as the central causes of poverty. They argue that a person%26rsquo;s compensation is based on his or her educational qualification and marketable skills. Sowell (2004) argues that the lack of appropriate skills has affected the ability of many indigents to climb out of poverty. He also argues that there has been an increase in the poverty rate of unskilled Americans, who have lost jobs to Asian immigrants. Corley (2003) also supports the above argument and regards %26lsquo;lack of educational attainment%26rsquo; as one of the entrenched sources of poverty. Low quality education from poorly funded inner-city schools results in few marketable skills which leads to low-wage jobs and other miseries associated with it such as less ability to pay for housing, food, clothing, medical care, bad neighborhoods, funding problems for schools, and increased risk of serious illness (Corley, 2003).%26

%26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 Many scholars have argued that structural changes are the primary reason for the persistence of poverty in the United States. Structuralists emphasize issues such as joblessness, discrimination in education, institutional racism and economic transformations in explaining the causes of poverty. Scholars argue that the inability to provide decent paying jobs for some American families and the ineffectiveness of American public policy to reduce poverty are basically the result of structural failures and processes. Poverty is rooted in the structure of American society. Rank, 2004 supports the above view and argues that lack of human capital tends to place individuals in a vulnerable state when events and crises occur. The incidence of these events like loss of a job, family break-up and ill-health often result in poverty. These ill-fated people unable to handle these situations often end up in paying more. Scholars also argue that the acquisition of human capital is strongly influenced by the impact of social class on this process (Rank, 2004). Apart from poor family, race and gender also play a role in the acquisition of human capital (Mark Robert Rank, 2004).

%26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 Globalization, the expansion of credit markets leading to greater indebtness and foreclosures leading to recession in 2008 all point to the growth of poverty. %26 Iceland (2006) primarily focused on economic factors and has argued that poverty is also the product of deindustrialization. As the U.S. shifts from a manufacturing, industrial society to a service-oriented, high-tech society, many of the blue-collar jobs that required little education but paid well are disappearing or are being outsourced. Rural areas, such as Appalachia, suffer losses of mining jobs, and cities such as Detroit lose many manufacturing jobs to automation or overseas factories. Some people are unable to follow the jobs or commute to work are left in neighborhoods without employment or tax-basis to support needed social functions, such as schools, public transportation, police departments, and so forth. Others simply cannot find jobs because of the shift towards a service-based economy; in economic terms these people are structurally unemployed due to the changing skills needed. Tobin (1993) supports the above viewpoint and emphasizes on the disappearance of jobs in the 1900s as the main reason for the country%26rsquo;s failure to eradicate poverty. Recent employment data shows that the US housing slump and the crisis in America%26rsquo;s credit markets are threatening to increase poverty levels. Isidore (2008) mentions that the job losses%26 are widespread, with the battered construction sector losing 51,000 jobs and manufacturing employment falling by 48,000 in the year 2008 . Retail employment dropped by 12,000 jobs, and business and professional service employers cut staff by 35,000. The unemployment rate jumped to 6.1% in September from 4.9 % in January (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2008).

%26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 Kelso (1994), argues that over the last forty years, there has been a major shift of American firms first to the west and then to the south. Part of this shift was due to the rise of the Cold War and the decision of the government to enlarge U.S. military power (kelso, 1994). He argues that as America elected to invest more in defense and in the aerospace industry, cities like Seattle and Los Angeles on the West Coast began to boom while the growth of a high technology and information based technology led to the growing affluence of California and the San Francisco Bay area. Later with the expansion of inter-state highway system and growth of jobs, markets were created in the south.

%26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 Iceland (2006) also argues that although the service sector of the economy has generated millions of jobs, but again polarized earning distribution based on educational attainment separates better paying jobs from poorer paying jobs. He supports a Marxian analysis of class conflict and exploitation and emphasizes on business owners favor hiring inexpensive labor to maximize profit. This also accounts for the inflow of cheap labor to the United States from Mexico and other countries. Greater access to credit has put cars, computers, credit cards, and even homes within reach for many more of the working poor. But this remaking of the marketplace for low-income consumers has a dark side. Roubini notes that, %26quot;Having access to credit should be helping low-income individuals, but instead of becoming an opportunity for upward social and economic mobility, it becomes a debt trap for many trying to move up (Grow and Epstein, 2007).

%26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 Inspite of public assistance and wide initiatives taken by both Federal and State governments, poverty still exists. Meticulous analysis of the situation and effective formulation of policies is needed to solve the problem of poverty in the United States. Scholars like Rank (2004), Blank (2007) and others have shown that the United States Government spends fewer funds addressed towards poverty than any other industrialized country. Thus a major structural failure is found at the political level (Rank, 2004). Most European countries provide a wide range of insurance programs, unemployment assistance, and wide universal health coverage along with considerable support for child care (Rank, 2004). Such social programs are far more generous than those in the United States (Rank, 2004). While, low-income families in the United States work more than those in other countries, they are still not able to make up for lower governmental income support relative to their European counterparts (Blank, 2007, 141-142).

%26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 The gross disparities among impoverished people in the United States along racial lines have led many scholars to speculate that institutional racism is responsible for much of the poverty in the United States. Racial discrimination in employment and%26 %26 education contribute to the growth of poverty. Some scholars like Massey and Denton (1993) interpret the statistics in terms of institutional racism while others like Kelso (1994) interpret the statistics as evidence of deficiencies and suffering of blacks. %26 %26 In spite of efforts to remove racism, slavery and Jim Crow segregation, Massey and Denton (1993) argue that racial segregation still exists and that the fundamental cause of poverty among African Americans is segregation. They argue that segregation has created and perpetuated a black underclass by limiting educational and employment opportunities. Massey and Denton (1993) have shown that Blacks were shown homes in racially mixed areas or areas adjacent to predominantly black areas.

%26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 Also, changing patterns of family formation are more pronounced among racial and ethnic groups. Family patterns are also one of the causes of poverty in the United States. There is a wide gender gap in wages. In 2004 the median income of FTYR male workers was $40,798, compared to $31,223 for FTYR female workers (DeNavas-Walt et al, 2005) Pearce (1978) argues that %26lsquo;poverty is rapidly becoming a female problem%26rsquo;. Iceland (2006) supports this statement and showed that in 2000, the female poverty rate (12.5%) was 26% higher than the male poverty rate (9.9%) (Iceland, 2006). According to Iceland, women have fewer economic resources than men, and they are more likely to be the head of single- parent families. It also leads to the greater likehood that single, divorced or widowed women will be poorer than their male counterparts because of less social security income or other retirement income in addition to higher female life expectancies. Women%26rsquo;s lower wages, lower retirement benefits and the increasing number of single mothers have led some scholars to talk about the %26ldquo;Feminization of Poverty.%26rdquo;

Federal policies

%26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 After the Second World War, by 1963, creation of jobs by President John F. Kennedy%26rsquo;s tax policies could not remove the problem of poverty. Poverty was still recognized as a major national problem. President Lyndon B. Johnson%26rsquo;s War on Poverty led to a host of programs that included Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, Aid to Families with Dependent Children, and others. These entitlements eventually consumed half the federal budget and could not alleviate poverty. The U.S. economy had been devastated by the recession of 1979-83 when the United Statess manufacturing infrastructure was shattered by the Federal Reserve%26rsquo;s skyrocketing interest rates causing unemployment to shoot up by sixty-five percent in four years (Cook, 2007). By the end of the 1980s the economy was in another recession, leading to the election of Bill Clinton who in 1992 replaced the incumbent George H.W. Bush. The investment boom of the 1990s was fueled by foreign capital lured in by the Treasury%26rsquo;s strong dollar policies. Jobs were created as the dot.com bubble expanded, trade barriers fell, and utility trading giants like Enron took off. NAFTA was enacted to promote free trade, welfare-to-work brought low-income women into the job market, and the Earned Income Tax Credit was extended. The party ended when the stock market crashed in December 2000 and millions of people lost their retirement savings and other investments. Recession was returning even as George W. Bush was being declared president by the U.S. Supreme Court in December 2000. The economic crisis deepened after the September 11, 2001 attacks when $1.4 trillion in wealth vanished during the worst five days of the stock market since the Great Depression (Cook, 2007). Cook (2007) argues that today, poverty is becoming a national catastrophe. Cook (2007) argues that from 2002 through 2006 the economy was floated by the housing bubble, with many lower income people getting into homes of their own through the proliferation of sub prime mortgages. With the financial woes in late 2008, many American citizens are left with inflated home prices and no way to pay for them.

%26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 The 1960%26rsquo;s policy initiatives and declaration of %26lsquo;unconditional war on poverty%26rsquo; by the then president Lyndon Johnson marked a discrete change in the federal government%26rsquo;s willingness to intervene for the purpose of improving the economic situation of poor Americans. Despite the billions of dollars spent on programs like CETA (Comprehensive Employment Training Act), The Manpower Development and Training Act, Head Start, and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the government efforts to deal with the origins of poverty have met with minimal success. During this period, implementation of the Social Security old-age program insured virtually all retired workers against the risk of outliving their savings. The Social Security Act of 1935 sought to protect the incomes of those who did not work because of age or a poor economy by establishing a federal framework for unemployment insurance, old-age benefits, and assistance to women. In early 1964, the two most pressing priorities of President Johnson%26rsquo;s antipoverty agenda involved passing a massive tax cut designed to stimulate the economy and organizing a task force to shape the %26lsquo;War on Poverty%26rsquo;. The Economic opportunity Act (EOA) signed by Johnson created a long list of programs designed to help individuals develop marketable skills, political power, and civic aptitude. But this anti-poverty legislation oversaw other programs like Community Action Program, Job Corps, VISTA, Head Start (1965), Legal Services (1965) which were not included in its framework. While extensive programs like the Food Stamp Program, Medicare for elderly, Medicaid applied to qualified poor residents, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act for poor students overshadowed the EOA. The Higher Education Act eased the financial burdens of millions of college students. The Civil Rights Act opened up new spaces in the American marketplace, while the Voting Rights Act did the same for the political marketplace. The Fair Housing Act established an important base of law to combat housing discrimination. As a result the EOA slowly lost importance. Again, Murray (1984) argues that welfare benefits had soared so high so as to make living in poverty a meaningful option for the poor. Even Burton (1992) has supported the above viewpoint and argues that the programs have done more to cause poverty than to alleviate it.

%26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 When Nixon assumed power, he tried to deal with poverty in a more direct way than emphasizing social programs. . Although President Nixon expressed dislike for much of the War on Poverty, his administration responded to public pressure by maintaining most programs and by expanding the welfare state through the liberalization of the Food Stamp program, the indexing of Social Security to inflation, and the passage of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program for disabled Americans (Rank, 2004). The Nixon administration also endorsed a %26ldquo;New Federalism%26rdquo; in which the federal government shifted more authority over social welfare enterprises to state and local governments. His plan to implement the %26lsquo;Family Assistance Plan%26rsquo; (FAP) consisted of various income provisions, work provisions, and training provisions for those below the poverty line (Rank, 2004). It failed to pass the Senate much like the %26lsquo;Programs for Better Jobs and Income%26rsquo; initiated by President Carter in later years.%26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 Welfare reform continued as a focus of federal policy debates even after the legislative defeat of FAP. Even though a cash %26lsquo;Negative income Tax%26rsquo; (NIT) for all poor persons never passed, the Food Stamp program provided a national benefit in food coupons that varied by family size, regardless of state of residence or living arrangements or marital status. The number of AFDC recipients increased from about 6 million to 11 million and the number of food stamp recipients, from about 1 million to 19 million during the Nixon administration (Danziger, 1999, p. 8). Danziger (1999) also argues that as higher cash and in-kind benefits became available to a larger percentage of poor people, the work disincentives and high budgetary costs of welfare programs were increasingly challenged. The public and policy makers came to view increased welfare recipients as evidence that the programs were subsidizing dependency and encouraging idleness.

%26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 Despite the failure to enact a guaranteed income program, both the number of recipients and the amount of money spent on welfare programs increased substantially during the 1970%26rsquo;s (Rank, 2004). Rank (2004) has given an overview of Reagan%26rsquo;s policies and noted that Reagan emphasized individual action unhampered by government interference, rejected the social engineering of the 1960%26rsquo;s and also supported federalism, that is, returning power to the states rather than centralizing them within the federal government. Reagan tried to address the problem and set the tone for welfare reform that occurred in 1990 during his successor%26rsquo;s administration. The Reagan administration thought eligibility for welfare benefits had increased so much, that many persons who were not %26ldquo;truly needy%26rdquo; were receiving benefits. The Reagan Administration opposed simultaneous receipt of wages and welfare benefits. Rather, it proposed that welfare become a safety net, providing cash assistance only for those unable to secure jobs.

%26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), enacted in 1975, provides families of the working poor with a refundable income tax credit (i.e., the family receives a payment from the Internal Revenue Service if the credit due exceeds the income tax owed). Thus the EITC raises the effective wage of low-income families, is available to both one- and two-parent families, and does not require them to apply for welfare. The maximum EITC for a poor family was $400 in 1975 and rose to $550 by 1986 (Danziger, 1999, p. 14). The 1986 Tax Reform Act increased the EITC so that by 1990 a low-income working parent received a maximum credit of $953 (Danziger, 1999, p. 14). The number of families receiving credits increased from between 5 and 7.5 million families a year between 1975 and 1986 to more than 11 million by 1988 (Danziger, 1999, p. 14). Danziger, 1999 argues that as the expanded EITC supplements low earnings, it became easier for policy makers to emphasize welfare reform policies that could place recipients into any job, rather than training them for %26ldquo;good jobs.%26rdquo; Thus he argues that if a nonworking recipient took a low-wage job, a substantial EITC could make work pay as much as a higher-wage job would have paid in the absence of an EITC.

%26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 The Family Support Act (FSA) of 1988 expanded the scope of the AFDC program for two-parent families, instituted transitional child care and Medicaid for recipients leaving welfare for work, and added funds and required states to establish programs to move greater numbers of welfare recipients into employment. When the welfare rolls jumped in the late-1980s and early-1990s, from about 11 to about 14 million recipients, dissatisfaction with welfare again increased ( Danziger, 1999). %26 %26 %26

%26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 President Nixon identified the two main economic problems, inflation and unemployment, that justify the need for economic recovery to the American worker. Reagan has emphasized despair caused by unemployment combined with high inflation. Reagan%26rsquo;s rhetorical construction of welfare recipients and the welfare system was aimed at reducing anxiety among Americans caused by increasing taxes, inflation and the continuous fear of losing jobs. To end this victimization, Reagan proposed a plan for economic recovery (Rank, 2004). Apart from cutting government spending, specifically spending on social programs, Reagan also proposed to have State governments assume control of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and the food stamps program in exchange for the Federal Government control of Medicaid. Although this proposal failed to reach the Congressional floor, his presentation of the proposal to exchange AFDC and food stamp program with Medicaid made poverty a local concern (Mark Robert Rank, 2004). %26

%26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 Liberals and conservatives still disagreed on other goals of welfare-to-work programs. Liberals thought welfare reform should expand opportunities for welfare mothers to receive training and work experiences that would help them raise their families%26rsquo; living standards by working more and at higher wages. Conservatives emphasized work requirements, obligations welfare mothers owed in return for government support whether or not their families%26rsquo; incomes increased (Mead, 1992).%26

%26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 In later years President Clinton%26rsquo;s approach also emphasized empowerment as a way of helping welfare recipients and to accumulate more savings without being penalized and expanding the earned income tax credit (Blank, 2007). By the mid-1990s, the focus of policy concern shifted from fighting poverty to reducing welfare dependence. President Clinton%26rsquo;s signing of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (the PRWORA) ended the entitlement to cash assistance and dramatically changed the nature of the social safety net. The Act created the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families Program (TANF). TANF began on July 1, 1997, provides cash assistance to indigent American families with dependent children through the United States Department of Health and Human Services (The Center for American Progress Task Force on Poverty, 2007).%26 Danziger, 1999 argues that each state can now decide which families to assist, subject only to a requirement that they receive %26ldquo;fair and equitable treatment.%26rdquo; %26 In instituting a block grant program, the PRWORA granted states the ability to design their own systems, as long as states met a set of basic federal requirements. The bill’s emphasis on ending welfare as an entitlement program, places a lifetime limit of five years on benefits paid by federal funds, and also aims to encourage two-parent families and discourages out-of-wedlock births. In granting states wider latitude for designing their own programs, some states have decided to place additional requirements on recipients. Although the law placed a time limit for benefits supported by federal funds of no more than 2 consecutive years and no more than 5 years over a lifetime, some states have enacted more stringent limits. All states, however, have allowed exceptions with the intent of not punishing children because their parents have gone over the time limit. Federal requirements have ensured some measure of uniformity across states, but the block grant approach has led individual states to distribute federal money in different ways. Certain states more actively encourage education, others use the money to help fund private enterprises helping job seekers. The PRWORA offers no opportunity to work in exchange for welfare benefits when a recipient reaches her lifetime limit of 60 months of federally-supported cash assistance. But the reform has certain limits. States may not use federal block grant funds to provide more than a cumulative lifetime total of 60 months of cash assistance to any welfare recipient, no matter how willing she might be to work for her benefits, and they have the option to set shorter time limits. States can grant exceptions to the lifetime limit and continue to use federal funds for up to 20 percent of the caseload. The extent of work expectations has also been increased. Single-parent recipients with no children under age one will be expected to work at least 30 hours per week by FY 2002 in order to maintain eligibility for cash assistance (Danziger, 1999, p 20). States can require participation in work or work-related activities regardless of the age of the youngest child. Thus PRWORA emerged from research that sought both to reduce poverty and welfare dependency (Danziger, 1999). %26 In the 1990s, following Clinton%26rsquo;s call to %26ldquo;end welfare as we know it,%26rdquo; policy makers escalated their demands for recipients to work and reduced government obligations toward and funds to serve them (Danziger, 1999).

%26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 When Bush took office in 2001, the U.S. was experiencing a national surplus, unemployment and poverty had been on the decline for years, and the economy was booming. Now, almost six years later, poverty is on the rise, healthcare coverage is on the decline, and the country is faced with the largest national deficit in history. Lower middle class families are slowly slipping below the poverty line and the poorest are becoming even more destitute. Most of these families are headed by women.

%26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 President Bush has extended the TANF. There has been a general economic stimulus policy initiative during the Bush administration but nothing targeting low income Americans has been enacted. President Bush signed the economic stimulus package (H.R. 5140) into law with the hope that it will provide a much-needed boost to the lagging economy. The package includes tax rebates for individuals, tax breaks for businesses, and a temporary increase of the Federal Housing Administration loans from $417,000 to $729,750 (White House report, 2008). More than 130 million people are expected to get tax rebates ranging from $300 to $1,200 per household for individuals earning $75,000 or less and couples earning up to $150,000 (White House report, 2008). While the stimulus package will provide much needed financial help to millions of people, it fails to target those most in need as it will not include an extension of unemployment benefits, energy assistance, food stamp benefits, or fiscal relief to states for Medicaid. %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26

%26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 From the above analysis, the question arises whether poor are responsible for their own condition. The above analysis implies that recipients become dependent and lethargic due to vast welfare measures. Scholars such as Murray (1984) and Kilty and Segal (2006) have emphasized on individual factors. They argue that welfare measures and lack of spirit and motivation among indigents contribute poverty. Danziger, 1999 argues that during the Nixon era increased welfare measures encouraged idleness. Kilty and Segal, 2006 also argues that poor people can come out into a state of self-sufficiency from dependency by learning proper work attitude and skills. Kilty and Segal, 2006 argue the importance of welfare reform and a %26lsquo;tough love%26rsquo; approach would ultimately help the poor by making them conscious of their condition and forcing them to take their own responsibility. Bill Clinton%26rsquo;s emphasis on %26lsquo;personal responsibility%26rsquo; and measures to %26lsquo;end welfare as we know it%26rsquo; in 1992 all supports the above argument.

%26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 Due to the implementation of TANF, the numbers of people on welfare have decreased. As a result more funds are accumulated. In 1996 the number of ADFC recipients was 12,644,076 while in 2001, the number of TANF recipients was 5,91, 811 and the poverty rate also reduced from 13.7 to 11.3 ( Kilty and Segal, 2006) and while in 2008 it is 1,628,422 %26 ( US Dept of Health and Human Services). The share of single mothers on welfare (based on administrative caseload counts divided by population numbers) rose from 38 percent in 1969 to 48 percent in 1980, but had fallen to 30 percent by 1998 ( Kilty and Segal, 2006). These caseload changes are widespread, with every state in the country experiencing substantial caseload decline. This decline has been widely hailed by politicians as an indication that policies designed to reduce dependence on public assistance and move less-skilled adults into the labor market have been extremely effective ( Blank, 2007). But however Blank argues that declines in welfare do not affect the poverty rate. The poverty rate in 2007 was 12.5 percent, increasing slightly from its level of 12.3 percent in 2006. The poverty rate increased for four straight years from 2000 to 2004. In 2007, the poverty rate was 1.2 percentage points higher than it was in 2000 (Blank, 2007). %26 %26 %26 %26

States welfare initiatives

%26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 Most states took a significant decision about reform, and this decision was sensible in light of state goals and experience. A few states did not seriously make reform policy. New York was so deeply divided that it took no serious decisions about AFDC (Mead, 2002). Alabama and Missouri were pushed into reform by federal action and appeared to have little welfare policy of their own (Mead, 2002). In several other Southern states (Florida, North Carolina), policymaking appeared to be casual and personalized, with the governor or legislators offering reform plans with, apparently, little inquiry or evidence behind them( Mead, 2002) . Texas policymaking was incoherent as the state claimed to pursue work first but based its policy on an experimental program and focused far more on education and training (Mead, 2002). States have always emphasized on reform. But sometimes lower contribution towards these plans result in total failure of the program. Mead (2002) argues that in Florida and Georgia, however, officialdom was dragged into reform but showed little commitment to it. In Arizona and California, the agency or major localities had been heavily committed to a skills-oriented approach to welfare and resisted the shift toward work first. In Texas, welfare reform was a lower priority to administrators than rebuilding non-welfare employment programs and other initiatives. In Colorado and New Jersey, local agencies had a history of defiance toward the state government, and this prevented them from fully endorsing reforms decided in the capital. Mead (2002) argues that inspite of establishment of Employment Service (ES), a federally-funded job placement agency, and training programs under the federal Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA), poverty rate did not improve. After national welfare work programs were first enacted in 1967, the ES engaged in welfare practices. But because the ES%26rsquo;s routine stressed serving job seekers who came to it voluntarily, it generally performed poorly with welfare clients (Mead, 2002). These jobseekers came to it on a mandatory basis, as a condition of receiving aid. To succeed with them, the agency had to enforce work but also support employment with special services. The ES often found both these roles uncongenial (Mead, 2002). The ES was denoted to the role of contractor to welfare and later in 1988 the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) merged the ES, JTPA, and other non-welfare work programs. But this merging also created confusion. The problems included lack of clear procedures to refer clients to WIA, to serve them there, or to report results back to welfare. The states that lacked coordination and inadequate management information systems (MIS) were Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Washington, West Virginia, Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee. %26 %26 %26 %26 %26

%26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 Colorado%26rsquo;s public reform has been associated with decline in poverty rate. By the close of 2000, Colorado%26rsquo;s unemployment rate dropped to 2.6 percent, personal income showed steady gains, state welfare cases declined dramatically, and State legislators wrestled with an estimated $833 million revenue surplus (Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute, 2001). But inspite of all the above facts poverty still persists as expenses like child care, out-of-pocket medical expenses and geo-graphic differences in housing costs increased. The increases occurred even after adjusting for income support such as tax relief, food stamps and school lunch programs, housing subsidies and energy assistance. A report published in 2001 by the Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute determined that a single parent with two small children living in Denver County would need to earn an annual salary of approximately $39,924 in order to meet their basic needs such as housing, food, health care, childcare and transportation without public or private assistance. Even child poverty rate is high in Colorado. About 180,000 children, 15.7 percent of the state total was living in poverty in Colorado in 2006, a 73 percent increase since 2000 (Frosch, 2008). The state of Colorado purchases childcare for income eligible families through the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP). The state allows individual counties to set the purchase price of childcare and make payments to providers from a combination of parental fees and federal, state and county funds. However, the Colorado Office of Resource and Referral Agencies (CORRA) found in a 2001 study that the average county payment fell below 75 percent of market value (Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute, 2001, pp 9). As a result counties forced providers to subsidize the cost of service to low-income families, which many were simply unwilling to do when limited slots could be filled with families that could afford to pay full rates. Other providers that chose not to simply refuse service to CCCAP families saved money by limiting the number of children on CCCAP that they would accept, cutting programs, or reducing workers%26rsquo; wages. All of these actions limited availability and sacrificed quality of care to low-income children. Poverty still exists in Colorado despite initiatives to alleviate poverty as too many working families lives with incomes below the poverty line and more families earn wages simply too low to afford their basic needs. The Colorado government started the Common Good Caucus in 2007 to develop a 2009 agenda, emphasizing on K-12 education and determined to bring technologies out of the laboratory and into the marketplace by investing $4.5 million dollars in bioscience industry, supporting the Clean Energy fund to reduce high family utility costs , creating the Colorado Solar Incentive Program with $2 million to provide rebates for photovoltaic and solar thermal systems to help Coloradans join the new energy economy and cut their utility bills ( State Rep. Kerr Andy, 2008).%26 Poor people cannot pay the full cost of heating and lighting their homes. Governments and social service agencies have long assisted low-income ratepayers in paying their bills through such programs as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), charitable fuel funds, levelized billing, discounts, home weatherization, energy efficiency, energy usage education and debt management. If all Americans live in weatherized and energy efficient homes and have the income to pay their full share of utility bills, all other ratepayers would save nearly $6 billion in poverty costs, including fuel assistance, lifeline and other rate assistance, weatherization and efficiency costs, the costs of late payments and service disconnections (Oppenheim and MacGregor, 2007).%26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26

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Recommendations%26 %26

%26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 From the above analysis it is clear that poverty remains pervasive due to the economic system, social stratification and welfare measures. According to Iceland (2003) on one hand, economic growth and technological changes contribute to increase in wages and overall standard of living. Economic growth accompanied by rising education levels improves the condition of people. On the other hand, the market economy often exerts a contrary effect on poverty levels (Iceland, 2003). To maximize profits,businessesusually seek to pay low wage to workers which increase inequality and poverty. Again policy may increase or decrease the harmful effects of inequality. Combining the factors emphasized by both liberals and conservatives, poverty is multifaceted. I believe that a strong national effort would alleviate poverty. Employment opportunities for all so that that worker and their families can avoid poverty, meet basic needs and save for the future. Increasing hourly wages would definitely improve the condition of these people. A smaller share of unemployed low-wage workers, receive unemployment insurance benefits. I believe that states (with federal help) should reform %26ldquo;monetary eligibility%26rdquo; rules that screen out low-wage workers, broaden eligibility for part-time workers and workers who have lost employment as a result of compelling family circumstances. Workers should use this period of unemployment and the money received from the Unemployment Insurance System and upgrade their skills and qualifications. Thus adults should have opportunities throughout their lives to connect to work, get more education, and live in a good neighborhood and move up in the workforce.

%26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 Child care assistance to low-income families and emphasis on K 12 education would definitely reduce the rate of poverty in the United States. %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 %26 Low-income youth hardly attend college than their higher income peers. Pell Grants play a crucial role for lower-income students. Simplification of the Pell grant application process, and encouragement of institutions to do more to raise student completion rates would definitely improve the condition. Expansion of Pell Grants would make higher education accessible to residents of each state. The states at the same time should also develop strategies to make postsecondary education affordable for all residents. Expansion of the Saver%26rsquo;s Credit would encourage saving for education, homeownership, and retirement. As a result all Americans would have assets that would allow them to weather periods of volatility and to have the resources that may be essential for upward economic mobility. Apart from Saver%26rsquo;s credit, expansion of Earned Income Tax Credit would raise incomes and helps families build assets. Thus there should be opportunity for all so that children grow up in conditions that maximize their opportunities for success.

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References:

Blank Rebecca (2007); Poverty to Prosperity; Center for American task force on Poverty;

www.americanprogress.org/issues/2007/04/pdf/poverty_report.pdf – Similar pages

Colorado Statewide Homeless Count (2007), School of Public Affairs, University of Colorado, denver.www.dola.state.co.us/cdh/Publications/Winter_2007_Statewide_PIT.pdf – Similar pages

Cook Richard (2007), Poverty in America

www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va%26aid=5905 – 61k – Cached – Similar pages

Corley Mary Ann (2003); Poverty, Racism and Literacy; ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult Career and Vocational Education

Danziger Sheldon (1999), Welfare Reform Policy from Nixon to Clinton, Institute for %26 for Social Research, University of Michigan.

De Navas-Walt, et al., %26ldquo;Income, Poverty and Health Insurance in the United States: 2005.

Diana Pearce Diana Pearce (1978) %26quot;The Feminization of Poverty: Women, Work, and Welfare,%26quot; Urban and Social Change Review.

Iceland John (2006); Poverty in America; University of California Press

Isidore Chris (2008); the Trillion-Dollar Mortgage Bomb,

money.cnn.com/2008/04/21/news/economy/fannie_freddie/?postversion=2008042103 – 66k %26ndash;

James Tobin (1993); Poverty in Relation to macroeconomic Trends, Cycles and Policies; Cowles foundation discussion paper.

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Garima Dasgupta
Graduate student

Factors influencing consumers towards online shopping

April 18th, 2015 by admin

by Milad salimi and mehrdad salehi Introduction

The term Internet, as a business tool for companies and individuals, is nowadays the most widely used Non-store formats. According to Magee (2003), the number of online shopper’s growth is larger, Compared to those who are just using internet, which means more users comprehend the convenience of online shopping. In addition, not only the number of users grows, but also the capacity of their purchases would be increased. (Monsuwe, et al, 2004. The two most frequently mentioned reason for online shopping are convenience and price (Chen and Zhang, 2003).

Increasing numbers of individuals are gravitating towards more intensive use of the Internet as the accessibility of technology, the availability of information, and the capability to interact through the Internet increase and evolve. Apparent capabilities of the Internet involve directions for gathering information, purchasing a product, or rendering a service.

These advances in Internet technology permit for the extension of shopping options beyond traditional methods that may be more time consuming. Matters with having to physically obtaining information with offline shopping methods are alleviated, and customers are better able to efficiently use their time. For example, except of having to physically visit various stores to compare prices or rely on circular pamphlets in newspapers, a consumer is able to search and retrieve required information through the Internet. 

The internet utilization has grown at the rate of 20 percent per year since 1998, according to the US Department of Commerce; in the 13 past months to September 2001, over 26 million more American got online (Iwaarden, Wiele, Ball %26 Millen, 2004, p. 947). The Internet explosion has opened a wide range of ways to a new electronic world. Consumers are now able to utilize the Internet for a variety of targets such as research, communication, online banking, and even shopping. With these advantages, the Internet is quickly becoming the main technique of communication and of running business conveniently. With a growing number of individuals turning towards the Internet and the world of e-commerce to shop, enterprise, make payments, and carry out online banking, new technological advancements will have to come about to make these transactions secure. However, not all consumers are participating in online transactions as a section of the Internet huge expansion. As more and more businesses continue to establish an online presence, they are finding that some consumers are still reluctant to switch in that same direction.

Background of study

                

Ability to buy without leaving your place is one of the most enthusiastic of many consumers. In addition, the use of Internet tools to search and compare prices provides an additional advantage regarding to the final decision of the consumer, because they can buy their products in favorable lowest available price (Haubl and Trifts, 2000).

Silverman, S.N. Stem, D.E. (2000). Limited to identify the characteristics of those taking the possible influence on the acceptance of Internet shopping that The study has been assumed that people with the goal of Internet shopping than they used new version as individuals in all areas and new version in certain areas, more interest in using the Internet have to buy. On the other hand the rate of innovation moderating relationship quality people uses the Internet and shopping online. It should be noted that in addition to feature a custom product aspects also be considered. Based on the findings of Liang, T. P., %26 Huang, J. S. (1998). should be careful which products to offer in electronic markets are more suitable . Because different types of products will influence acceptance of Internet shopping.

To attract customers for the company’s who following e-commerce method for Internet activities should be profitable. It must be also presented to the various services. Services and facilities that cause the customer’s motivation to buy (in the present and future).Therefore, website content  services that are provided on the website should be the customer’s needs and interests intended to create facilities and even

private sectors to provide. 

According to Nielsen Global online survey ‘ Internet shopping Habits Globally’ (2007), more than half of the internet users have made at least one purchase online. Among internet users, the highest percentage shopping online is found in South Korea, where 99 percent of those with internet access have used it to shop, followed by the UK ( 97%),  Germany (97%), Japan (97%) with the U.S. eight, at 94 percent. Online shopping behavior refers to the process of purchasing services or product through internet, this process encompasses five steps. In online shopping process, when consumer recognize their need for particular product or service they refer to internet and seek for need-related information. In addition,  purchasing product without leaving your place is one of the great interest to many consumers and another advantage of online shopping for buyers is they can use internet tools for searching the product or service price and then comparison with each other and finally they are enable to choose the lowest available price. Regarding to studies, online shopping has been emerged quite recently as an interface for transactions between consumers and firms.

Internet shopping is changing the way consumers buy goods and services, and quickly evolved into a global phenomenon. Many companies have begun to use the Internet to reduce marketing costs, and consequently reducing the prices of their products and services to maintain a competitive market in the future. Companies also are using the internet to convey and communicate well the information and actually to present their products as well as taking feedback of their performance and enhance their turnover and also customer`s satisfaction. Customers use the Internet not only to buy products online, but also to compare prices, products, aspects and service facilities; they will receive the products they buy, from a specific store.

. For various consumers there are still numerous concerns about security and transferring personal data through the Internet. There is a difference among the number of consumers who visit a website and the number of real purchases being made. Despite the large number of people who utilize the Internet everyday and observe various shopping sites, the number of consumers who do not quit their shopping carts but actually complete a purchase averages to only about three percent. This leaves a large segment of the Internet population as non-participants in online transactions compared to those who completely accomplish transactions online and make purchases. Instead, these non-participants could abandon the purchase completely or accomplish the transaction in an offline setting.

Problem Statement

In contrast, one of the great concerned is trust and security. For instance, recent statistics shown that in Malay people approximately is about 30% did not commit with the online shopping, while one of significant factors in electronic commerce is trust. In order to increase online shopping in Malaysia  , understanding consumer online shopping behavior and factors influencing this behavior when shopping online should be given priority. Researches indicate that majority of Malaysian (76%) specially young people were using internet for non-shopping activities such as seeking for information , entertainment , playing games and communication with others.

There are some barriers which have contributed to the unwillingness of Malaysian people because they afraid that their personal information will be stolen by others. Despite the potential in Malaysian people, there is still lack of understanding towards online shopping in Malaysia.

Objective of study

This research conducted to find factors influencing consumers towards online shopping. It seeks for understanding and examining whether or not factors such as website quality and internet advertising influence consumer choice of online buying. The study is also determine to examine the perceptions of adopters and also those who are reluctant of online shopping in respect of demographic profile, consumers’ expectations of online stores, as well as, its particular advantages and problems. It is worth mentioning that adopters are Internet users who have purchased online, while it is more likely that a group of people have never purchased online.

The study is based on previous research carried out by Teo (2006). Besides, by understanding the reasons why consumers buying online or not, online stores would be able to compound appropriate marketing strategies, moderate consumers’ concerns and convince even more people being moved from offline to online shopping (Teo, 2006). In the first portion, the literature review regarding consumers’ online buying behavior and the elements that encouraging or discourage online shopping is presented.

Significance of the Study

Attitude directly influence decision making and so the group with more positive attitude should be the target market. The significance of the study actually is about assessing and understanding factors and also different facets in which playing a fundamental role in online shopping and predominantly is vital in order to shop online. The number of individuals should be increased in terms of those who have intention to carry out online shopping because the expansion of internet is nowadays more observable in the people`s life. So the whole world is going to behave in this way to store their time and cost and enhance their technological status and used to purchase their requirement in online setting.

Literature Review

As Internet usage is increasing, so is online shopping especially in those countries whose marketing infrastructures are well developed. Consumers can shop at anytime and have access to products not available in their geographic region. Furthermore, they are now able to access the Internet, not only from their personal computers, but from advanced electronic devices such as Palm Pilots and mobile phones. Also, due to an increase in high-speed Internet access connections, lower connection costs, and increasing consumer competence, e-commerce activity will continue to grow as the availability and ease with which the Internet provides consumers the ability to handle needed tasks increasingly develops.  In conjunction with the increases in Internet  capabilities, it is estimated that about 53% of Internet  users in the United States have made an online  purchase . However, not all consumers are turning to the Internet for shopping. While the  number of Internet users who have made a purchase  at one time is more than half in the United States, this  does not explain the disparity between the number of  visits websites recorded and the number of actual  purchases made online.

One report shows that although a web site may receive millions of visitors, only about 3% of those visits result in a purchase online, and according to another study, about 65% of online shopping carts are abandoned before a purchase is completed. An explanation of these occurrences is that the majority of consumers are going online to window-shop with plans to make their purchases in a more traditional, offline setting.  There have been several reasons examined in prior studies as to why some consumers have a preference for more traditional, offline means of purchasing products and services. One study found that consumers did not complete online purchases due to the intangibility of the purchase. Some consumers have to satisfy certain sensory needs such as touch, taste, or smell, before making a purchase decision.

Also, for some consumers, although visual images  are provided with products or services, their sight needs may still not be satisfied. Another study found that as uncertainty in consumers about purchasing goods due to an inability to satisfy sensory needs increases, perceptions of risk with transactions increase. Even with precautionary research into a good or service and its vending company, every online transaction is perceived to have a basic level of risk by consumers due to issues of intangibility that cannot be avoided, such as hackers and whether the actual purchase choice is satisfactory based on information gleaned.

Consumers have a basic wonder about the security and accuracy of their  online transactions. Especially for goods or services that consumers perceive to involve higher commitments, such as motor vehicles or computer cleaning services provided online, the intangibility of goods for some consumers can have a significant impact on their online purchasing decisions.  It has been reported that consumers have a low perception and trust of online merchants, making them unwilling to make purchases online. The results  of a survey of 9700 online consumers showed that three out of five respondents did not trust web merchants. Several studies also reported that consumers are concerned with their online security and privacy as online transactions still possess risk of information theft and fraud. This may be attributed to the fact that approximately 59% of online companies report at least one security breach each year.

 In addition, it has been shown that approximately two-thirds of Americans are concerned with possible threats of Internet hackers and are not satisfied with current systems designed to protect them from such attacks. A study of risk perceptions also indicates that consumers are concerned with undesirable outcomes and uncertainty of their purchases after purchasing a product online. Consumers, therefore, are less likely to make purchases online if they perceive a higher risk.  Offline settings are not hindered by some of the online perceptions of risk.

Offline settings are better able to provide some of the immediate satisfactions and sensory perceptions necessary to various consumers’ purchasing decisions that lower associated risk perceptions with transactions, such as personal shopping assistance by personnel and  immediate rights to a product or service. The availability of face-to-face interaction with business  personnel to address consumer concerns is less prevalent and immediate in the online environment.  Retailers are also finding that some consumers still prefer the offline ability to feel the immediate  benefits of products rather than having to worry about a product or service while they wait for  satisfaction via delivery by mail. This can increase the level of perceived risks with online transactions  and affect the consumer’s purchasing decision process . The perception of risk associated with a  company and their online presence can also be affected by previous encounters and also affect their  decisions to complete purchases without sensory perceptions available in traditional brick-and-mortar  stores. Consumers’ previous experiences with online purchases, or lack thereof, can be a significant  influence of levels of risk perception by consumers and their purchasing decisions . Negative  experiences increase levels of risk perception with online purchasing and hamper not only a business’s  likelihood of retaining customers but can make it more difficult for other online businesses to gain  initial customers .

 In order to identify the differences between consumers who prefer online shopping and those who prefer offline shopping, this study examines how  consumers perceive online shopping and which factors are perceived differently between consumers who prefer online shopping and consumers who prefer offline (physical store) shopping. The findings from this study will allow online businesses to be better informed of what draws consumers or prohibits them from coming to their websites. The better an online business understands the perceptions of these shoppers, the higher the chance that they can attract and retain customers.

References

1. Alomaim, N., Tunca, M. Z., %26 Zairi, M. (2003).  Customer satisfaction @ virtual organizations. Management Decision, 41(7), 666-670,

2. Attran, M., %26 VanLaar, I. (1999). Privacy and security over the Internet: how to secure your

Personal information and company data. Information Management %26 Computer Security, 7(5), 241.

3. Belanger, F., Hiller, J.S., %26 Smith, W.J. (2002). Trustworthiness in Electronic Commerce: the

Role of privacy, security, and site attributes. Journal of Strategic Information Systems, 11, 245-270.

4. Betts, M. (2001). Turning browsers into buyers. MIT Sloan Management Review, 42(2), 8-9.

PRIVACY AND SECURITY ISSUES IN ONLINE SHOPPING

Shopping online has never been so easy. With the flourishing numbers of online merchants, people nowadays have various choices to do their shopping. Big companies such as eBay and amazon.com have introduced many value added features to help the customers to decide what to shop for. With features such as price comparison, product photos and user reviews, consumers can shop easily and smartly without even going to the stores and having such a hard time looking for the products they want. All they have to do are just browse for the product they want in the website and within a few mouse clicks they are off. Such simplicity is what makes online shopping appealing for consumers. The question is why do many people still deny shopping online? Well, for most people, privacy and security issues are their concerns. Hence, here I will discuss customers’ perception of privacy and security issues, the reality of such issues and ways to avoid those issues, all based on some trustworthy sources I have found.

To know customers’ perception of customer and security issues, I reviewed a scholarly article entitled ‘Consumer Perceptions of Privacy and Security Risks for Online Shop’ produced in the Journal of Consumer Affairs. In the United States, more than half of the adult population uses the Internet and from that number, approximately half have shopped online (Sefton, qtd. in Miyazaki and Fernandez 28). Previous studies had shown that Internet users as a whole agreed that privacy and security issues are vital for them to shop online (Rohm and Milne, qtd. in Miyazaki and Fernandez 29). Most of them regard their personal information as their main concern (U.S. FTC, qtd. in Miyazaki and Fernandez 29). In the research conducted by Miyazaki and Fernandez, who are the authors of the articles themselves, privacy and security issues accounted for more than 65 percent of consumers’ main concern as oppose to the other 35 for shopping inconveniences and others (35). They also concluded that more experienced Internet users tend to have more concern regarding privacy issues but less concern on security issues (38). Nevertheless, consumers still consider both as their main concern for online shopping as suggested in the survey (35).

Now, after knowing that privacy and security issues are vital for consumers in online shopping, I would like to know the emphasis in the real world. From an article titled ‘The Myth of Secure E-Shopping’ published in PC World, the reality of such issue is revealed. While most consumers trust big and well established online merchant such as CD Universe, Travelocity, Columbia House and Ikea, these big companies still receive frequent security threats (Kandra 29). Joseph McDonnell, a CEO of online security firm IShop Secure even confessed that all online firms must have received threats of some sorts (29). He added by saying that hackers could easily infiltrate and get customers personal information online as online shoppers are not anonymous. Experts also discover that security measures taken by online retailers are insufficient (29). For instance, data encryption only applies in actual transfer of customer data but not in the database which is ironically the most common targets for hackers. Some other sites however, do not even have privacy and security policy posted implying that they do not protect their customers (Hairell 30). This is what happened to Bibliofind when it was hacked hence compromising its customers’ credit information (Kandra 32). Apart from the retailers themselves, credit card processing firms and third party sites also receive threats (Kandra 30). Creditcards.com once had disclosed that someone had infiltrated its site and posted more than 55000 credit card numbers on the Internet. So, from all these indications, I can see that online shopping is not totally safe.

However, customer rights and security aspects are not just the responsibility of online merchants. To uphold them, the consumers themselves need to act. According to ‘Ten Things Your Mother Never Told You about Online Shopping’ published in Yahoo! Internet Life, to be an ace consumer, online shoppers needs to prepare themselves with some basics (Halpin 61). As the prominent method of payment is credit card, consumers should be more aware in handling it (62). They should never disclose their credit information via e-mail. Some of the credit card issuers also have some sorts of protection that consumers should apply for. Apart from that, consumers should limit themselves from releasing unnecessary personal information such as age and income to protect their privacy (Hood, qtd. in Halpin 62). Also, as Todd Richter who is the president of Girl shop (an e-commerce site) had said, consumers should always be aware of the security technology used by merchant sites (62). Technologies such as Secure Socket Layer (SSL) and VeriSign play vital part in distinguishing one site from another. Nonetheless, consumers should always be alert of the privacy and customer policy in each site they tend to buy from (Halpin 62). Lastly, if there are still dissatisfactions, consumers could always report them to consumer-related agencies such as Better Business Bureau or Federal Trade Commission (Halpin 63).

Thus, after reviewing these three reliable sources related to the privacy and security issues of online shopping, I can see some interconnections between them. By common sense, anyone who tends to shop online will think twice before they buy anything as to consider the privacy and security issues related to it. This is proven in my first source (‘Consumer Perceptions of Privacy and Security Risks for Online Shopping’) through the survey. People are always conscious about their privacy and security. However, this is not the case in the real world. As my second source (‘The Myth of Secure E-Shopping’) has proposed, even though online merchants have tried their best to beef up the security, threats and attacks still prevail. For this reason, consumer should act fast to protect their privacy when shopping online. My third source (’10 Things Your Mother Never Told You about Online Shopping’) explains many ways that consumers could do to enhance the privacy and security aspect apart from what online merchants have done for the same reason. Taking all these contents as a whole, I would say that in any situation, people can still shop online safely provided they understand the reality and take some precautions above all.

There are many factors that market researchers have identified as determinants of a consumer’s buying decision (Goldsmith, Bridges, and Freidan, 2001; Jarvenpaa and Todd, 1996-97).    Jarvenpaa and Todd categorized these factors into four constructs of consumer perception as:  product perception, shopping experience, perceived risk, and service quality.    These constructs are surveyed below.

Product Perception

Product perception, sometimes called product understanding (Dillon and Reif, 2004) or product value (Crisp,  Jarvenpaa, and Todd, 1997), consists of price, product quality, and variety.    These are the most salient product perceptions mentioned in the e-market literature.   Price is the monetary payout of the customers and is the cost of purchasing; it is important since pricing strategy can be easily implemented over the internet.   Quality is generally defined as overall excellence or superiority of the products, as stated by Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry (hereinafter referred to as PZB) (1985) from the consumer ?s viewpoint. Product quality, which also accommodates service quality  if the purchasing target is service instead of physical product, should be distinguished  from the (supporting) service quality which is another construct to be discussed below; product quality has long been discussed in the literature from  different points of  view (Garvin, 1984;  Harari, 1993).   Product quality perception is a particular product’s ability to satisfy the consumers compared to alternative products (Monroe and Krishnan, 1985); it is also a consumer evaluation of a product’s outstanding value and performance (PZB, 1988).   Thus, perceived product quality can be defined as the customer’s perception or the judgment about the overall excellence or superiority of the products or service with respect to its intended purpose relative to alternatives (Aaker, 1991; PZB, 1988). Since the perceived product quality is a pivotal reason to buy (Aaker, 1991), price is the cost paid by the customers, and variety gives the customers more alternatives to choose the products and hence motivate the customers to visit the website; these three factors were empirically justified as important factors for internet shopping (Jarvenpaa and Todd, 1996-97; Dillon and Reif, 2004). Hence, we have the following hypothesis: Hypothesis 1: Product perception affects purchase intention.

Shopping Experience

In this study, we quote the definition of shopping experience proposed by Arnold, Reynolds, Ponder, and Lueg  (2005).    They deemed shopping experience could be classified into two categories. The first one is the experience from  the  salesperson’s encounter, and  such interpersonal factors include  salesperson’s efforts, interpersonal  engagement,  problem resolution, interpersonal distance, and sale personnel’s time commitment; the other is non-interpersonal factors  which include unanticipated acquisition and value or vice versa.  In addition, Kerin, Jain, and Howard (1992) considered shopping experience as the store atmosphere, customer-related services and a set of policies. Since the two  definitions of shopping experience are quite similar and complementary to each other, by combining the two definitions, shopping experience will be defined as ‘the  set of  all  services and policies related to the  store-atmosphere and  customers, including interpersonal interaction, sales staff’s efforts and commitment and  relevant policies provided to  please or attract customers.’The shopping experience in the cyber world is quite different from conventional stores.   Effort, life style compatibility, playfulness have been mentioned (Baty and Lee, 1995;  Goldsmith, 2000; Hoffman and  Novak, 1997); social interaction was added by Jarvenpaa and Todd (1996-97). Effort is the amount of time and energy spent in locating merchandise and making purchase decisions. Life style compatibility considers the consumers? life style and shopping habits.   Playfulness refers to feelings of fun in website navigation when purchasing.  Social interaction means the interaction with people when shopping on the web, such as joining discussion groups, soliciting user experiences etc. However, convenience (in  inquiring, in ordering), consistency (between expected and actual  product/service), and playfulness were identified as the most salient factors in Taiwan’s online shopping (Cheng, 2000);  in this study, we adopt  Cheng?s  operational definition of shopping experience for accommodating Taiwan?s internet  environment. Since consumers with happy shopping experience are obviously more satisfactory and since it has been shown to  influence consumers? value perception (Kerin, Jain, and Howard, 1992) and repurchase intention (Jarvenpaa and Todd,  1997; Arnold, Reynolds, Ponder, and Lueg, 2005), thus hypothesis 2 is proposed as: Hypothesis 2: The shopping experience affects purchase intention.

Service Quality

We may call service in question as ‘supporting service’ which accompanies the main product/service and facilitates the purchasing process.   The concept of service quality whether the quality meets or exceeds the consumer’s expectation; therefore, the consumer’s perception of service quality is the perceived gap after comparing the consumer’s  expectations of service and the actual feeling of the service (PZB 1985).  While the consumer’s expectation of service  quality is often  affected by  the influence of four sources:  past experience, word-of-mouth communication, personal  needs and external communication, service quality is a subjective attitudinal response showing the consumer’s overall  superiority assessment of the service itself. PZB considered service quality as a long-term overall judgment on service and can be evaluated from the attitudinal viewpoint. Service quality results from comparing the consumer’s expectations of service and the actually perceived service performance. In 1998 they further stated that the service quality is the excellence level generated from the interaction between the service provider and the customer in the service delivery process; they also emphasized service quality should be defined from the customer side, rather than from the vendor side.  A conceptual model was proposed on service quality (PZB 1985) and 10 determinants of service quality were put  forward; they were reliability, responsiveness, competence, access, courtesy, communication, credibility, security,  understanding/knowing and tangibles and  a  measuring scale  containing 5 constructs  (SERVQUAL)  was developed (PZB 1988) and later corrected (PZB 1994). A direct measurement of consumers? service quality called SERVPERF was proposed by Cronin and Taylor (1992) and was shown to have better predictive ability, convergent validity, and discriminant validity than SERVQUAL. For online shopping, e-service quality was measured by different researchers.  Parvenpaa and Todd  (1996-97)  proposed  responsiveness, reliability, tangibility, empathy, and assurance as the factors that affect consumers? attitude.   Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Malhotra (2005) suggested efficiency, system availability, fulfillment, and privacy as the major factors to be considered.   Collier and Penstock (2006) recommend a scale containing the formative indicators instead of the reflexive indicators.  In this study, we followed Cheng?s (2000) scale which is essentially Parvenpaa and

Todd?s scheme (see Table 1 below)  except for  some adjustment on the indicators to reflect online bookstores? characteristics.    Service quality has long been recognized as an important factor in forming consumers? attitudes, intentions, and actions as poor service quality discourages any decision to buy (PZB 1985; Zeithaml, 1988; Zeithaml, ET.  Al, 1996).    Thus, the following hypothesis is suggested: Hypothesis 3: Service quality affects purchase intention.

Perceived Risk

Perceived risk was developed from psychology by Bauer (1967) and since then has been widely discussed in consumer behavior literature and regarded as one of the basic concepts.  Bauer pointed out that consumer behavior can be regarded as a kind of ‘risk-taking’, because the consumer cannot ensure the results from using the products at the purchasing moment, thus in fact, the consumer bears a certain risk.   Differing views were put forward by researchers as follows:Cox (1967) considered that perceived risks lies in the notion that consumer behavior is a goal-oriented activity,  and purchase of the product is associated with this goal; its acceptable expectation level is measured by the degree of  achievement to this goal.   However, the consumers may not be aware of any risk component so that their behavior may be affected sub-consciously and this may influence some direct actions.  Therefore, to identify the existence and the extent of the perceived risk, it is often required to infer from the behavior procedure.  Every time the consumers buy, there is associated a set of purchase goals; when the expectation level of purchase cannot be attained, the unexpected negative results from the perceived risk. The consumers themselves may not be aware of the purchase goals and the perceived risk, but their behavior is deeply affected by the perceived risk. Roselius (1971) believed the consumer’s most effective risk reduction strategies were ‘brand loyalty’ and ‘major  brand image’, and ‘purchasing expensive products’ was the least helpful.  In the meantime, he proposed four methods to solve it when the consumers were aware of the existence of risks, based on their preferences of the methods to reduce  risk: (1) reducing the possibility of failure, or to moderate the seriousness of the consequences; (2) converting a possible  loss into another more bearable loss; (3) deferring purchase, and (4) adopting purchasing and absorb the risk. For internet shopping, the risk types and/or contents are quite different from conventional ones due to dissimilar business models and transaction processes that induce more uncertainty for online shopping.   After analyzing the questionnaires, Jarvenpaa and Todd (1996-97) classified the risk types as follows.

Economic or financial risk: This is the monetary losses due to poor purchase choice, inability to return goods, etc. In this study, economic risk refers to credit card embezzlement. Social risk: This originally refers to the fact that shopping on the web will be considered as imprudent or socially unacceptable, but as online activity becomes popular, we refer it as the embarrassment of confronting people in purchasing private-oriented books.

Performance risk: This refers to situation where product/service fails to meet one’s expectation in online book shopping, in this study since the book quality is rather fixed, thus we refer to safety of payment methods. Personal risk: This refers to the harmful personal consequences to the consumer resulting from online shopping.  However, any losses can be attributed to this type according to the definition; thus, we regard this type of risk as transaction data leakage.

Privacy risk:  This refers to the personal private information leakage when offered to the online vendors. The aforementioned risks certainly cause negative utility for the customers since ‘uncertainty’, ‘discomfort’ and/or ‘anxiety’ arises from the above-mentioned risks when making an online purchase decision (Dowling and Staelin, 1994; Jarvenpaa and Todd, 1996-97; Bhatnagar, Misra, and Rao, 2000) and steps are taken to avoid such risks.  Hence, the following hypothesis is proposed: Hypothesis 4: The perceived risks affect purchase intention.

Advantage of online shopping:

24 hour accessibility
Comparison among the different product
Cheaper price

Disadvantage of online shopping:

Time to delivery
Unreliability
Difficult to Returns and exchanges

Research Methodology

Study design:

This study is based on hypothesis testing regarding the fact that data were collected only once to answer to research questions through questionnaire, concerning the fact of customer perceptions toward online shopping.

Main objectives:

To understand correlation between website quality and online shopping behavior.
To understand correlation between advertising and online shopping behavior.

Sources and Data Collection Method:

A structured questionnaire was used to collect the primary data to answer the research questions and objectives regarding to effectiveness of well designed and high quality website and Advertising for such a website on online shopping for Malaysian customer. Therefore the survey questions consist two specific sections in addition to demographic part and each of them contains questions to reflect different parts of the study. The Budget constraints in terms of time and cost and difficulty to access to the potential respondents in Malaysia lead us to use the convenience sampling method.

Therefore, some specific places inside the were chosen for distributing the questionnaires. For instance some places like SURIA KLCC, CAPSQUERE, and PAVILLION were chosen for separating questionnaire. The survey was conducted generally via face-to-face interview and also hands over the questionnaire.

Before we chosen face to face interview we sent the questionnaire through email to more than 75 people but unfortunately only 15 people replied in one week. Then we switch our data collecting method and we refer to personal interview.

Therefore, the survey responses provided us with the valuable inputs to this study for better understanding the online shopping practices in Malaysia

Total 75 questionnaires were distributed; while each of responses received was screened properly for error, incomplete and/or missing responses. . However, those responses that had more than 10% of the questions in the survey questionnaire that had been left unanswered or incorrectly answered were deducted from data analysis. Having done the appropriate screening process, returned questionnaires were considered as unusable and the rest 60 responses were used which were considered as complete and valid for final analysis and hypothesis testing.

Measures

We used questionnaire as an instrument to obtain required data for analysis of the hypothesis we developed.

In this study we used 1- LIKERT scale and

In Likert scale anchored from ‘strongly disagree’ (1) to ‘strongly agree’ (5) to measure relation between website quality and online shopping behavior and also correlation between advertising and online purchasing.

Hypothesis development

From the discussion of the theoretical framework, two hypotheses were formulated to test the relationship between each of the two independent variables and dependent variable. The two hypotheses which this study has been conducted on it are:

H1: High quality website positively associated with the online shopping

H2: Advertisement positively associated with the intention to online shopping.

Questionnaire

Please circle the numbers responding the most appropriate responses for you in respect of the following items:

1-      Gender :                                    Male                                                     Female

2-      Age:                         15-20                           20-25                            25-30                                0ver 30

3-      Marital status:                        single                         married                      widowed                         other

4-      Monthly income:            no income                        1000-3500RM                        Above 6000RM                              3500-6000 RM

5-      Occupation :                  student                                  business field

                                                       Housewife                              other

6-      Educational background:                vocational                        high school degree

                        

                                                             College degree                  professional degree

7-      How long have you been using internet services?

More than 10 years                                        5-10 years

1-5years                                                             less than 1 year

8-      How many hours a week do you devote to online visiting website?

Less than 5 hr                                                                1-5 hrs

10-16 hr                                                                           more than 16 hr

Website quality

Strongly  Agree

Agree

Neutral

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

10-Web site appearance is one of the important factor for attracting internet users

(Appearance)

11-The site should load quickly – even for dialup users

(Quick Loading)

12- The website must be including Privacy Policy up (especially if you collect data, email, names, and web analytics tracking cookies)

(Security)

13-Site Map must be available

(Sitemap)

14-All links (internal and external) must valid and active.

(Validity)

Advertising

Strongly Agree

Agree

Neutral

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

15-Special offer is important factor for attracting me to online purchasing via internet

(Promotion)

16-When you see an ad ( banner or pop-up), you are likely to click on it to get more information about the product/ service

(Attractiveness)

17-The claims made in the ads were believable

(Believability)

18-The ads should be original

(Originality)

19- On which of these media do you consider the advertisement is effective way for attracting people for online shopping?

             Internet                               Billboard                           TV                             magazine                       

Analyzing results and discussion

Below are analyses of demographic data: 1- gender, 2- age, 3- marital status, 4- monthly income, 5- occupation, 6- educational background, 7- internet using duration, 8- online visiting website.

As it obvious in this pie 46.67% of respondent were female and 53.33% were male

    

                                     

This pie chart shows that 35% of respondents were aged between 15-20years old, 30% were between 20-25, 18.33% were over 30 and 16.67% were age between 25-30 years.

Majority of respondents approximately is about 40% was single and 30% were married.

                                       

41.67% of respondent had monthly income between 1000-3500RM, 31.67% hadn’t income or maybe they had monthly income below 1000RM and 5% had over 6000RM monthly income.

   

                                              

Majority of respondent 46.67% were student and minority of them mention other without specifying their job.

                                         

As it display in this pie 38.33% of respondent had high school degree, 36.67% had answered vocational and just 6.67% had professional degree and 18.33% had college degree.

                                            

                                  

                                     

                                        

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Factor Analysis:

The following table at the beginning provides some descriptive analysis regarding to demographic information

Table 1 :Statistics

Gender

Age

Marital_

Status

Monthly_

Income

Occupation

Educational_

Background

Internet using_

duration

Online_Visiting_website

N

Valid

60

60

60

60

60

60

60

60

Missing

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

Std. Deviation

.503

1.112

.983

.864

.841

.910

1.066

1.112

Variance

.253

1.237

.966

.746

.707

.828

1.135

1.236

Following the conducting the factor analysis on all the items that measures ordinal variable, 9 variables extracted, each one representing a unique concept or in other word a specific perception of the respondents. Following table illustrate the mean for each item and corresponding standard of deviation. The first 5 items measure quality effectiveness of websites and the last 4 items measures advertising effectiveness toward using online shopping.

Table 2: Descriptive Statistics

N

Minimum

Maximum

Mean

Std. Deviation

Appearance

60

1.00

5.00

3.1333

1.08091

Quick Loading

60

1.00

5.00

3.2667

1.00620

Security

60

1.00

5.00

3.0167

1.08130

Sitemap

60

1.00

5.00

3.2833

1.13633

Validity

60

1.00

5.00

3.2000

1.05445

Promotion

60

1.00

5.00

3.0667

1.11791

Attractiveness

60

1.00

5.00

3.2000

1.20451

Believability

60

1.00

5.00

3.0167

1.12734

Originality

60

1.00

5.00

3.3000

1.07829

Valid N (listwise)

60

But because our scale for our main question is base of the likert scale we have to use the factor analysis. In this project factor analysis was employed to explore the underlying factors associated with 9 items by using Principal Component Analysis (PCA). Generally, KMO is used to assess which variables need to drop from the model due to multi Collinearity. The value of KMO varies from 0 to 1, and KMO overall should be .60 or higher to perform factor analysis. If not then it is necessary to drop the variables with lowest anti image value until KMO overall rise above .60. Result for the Bartlett’s Test of Sphericity and the KMO reveal that both were highly significant and concluded that this variable was suitable for the factor analysis (Table 3).

Table 3 : KMO and Bartlett’s Test

Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin Measure of Sampling Adequacy.

.716

Bartlett’s Test of Sphericity

Approx. Chi-Square

539.013

Df

36

Sig.

.000

It can be seen the KMO is more than 0.6 is acceptable and it’s in mediocre range, it means no need for drop any variables, besides P-value is less than 0.001, means we can proceed with factor analysis.

Table 4: Correlation Matrix

Appearance

Quick Loading

Security

Sitemap

Validity

Promotion

Attractiveness

Believability

Originality

Correlation

Appearance

1.000

.512

.491

.548

.407

.413

.461

.888

.445

Quick Loading

.512

1.000

.635

.630

.891

.511

.571

.474

.878

Security

.491

.635

1.000

.589

.666

.826

.635

.473

.577

Sitemap

.548

.630

.589

1.000

.560

.479

.887

.433

.483

Validity

.407

.891

.666

.560

1.000

.578

.475

.368

.781

Promotion

.413

.511

.826

.479

.578

1.000

.481

.456

.503

Attractiveness

.461

.571

.635

.887

.475

.481

1.000

.409

.371

Believability

.888

.474

.473

.433

.368

.456

.409

1.000

.456

Originality

.445

.878

.577

.483

.781

.503

.371

.456

1.000

Besides, the correlation of the items are between 0.3 to 0.9 which means all the items correlation is acceptable, in this case there is no duplication, and all have a association.

Correlation Matrix

Website Quality

Advertising

Intention to online shopping

Correlation

Website Quality

1.000

.728

.413

Advertising

.728

1.000

.133

Intention to online shopping

.413

.133

1.000

Moreover, we grouped the questions regarding to every hypothesis and again make a correlation between them and dependent factor, it can be seen although there is a good correlation between website quality and advertising and website quality and intention to online shopping, but poor correlation between advertising and  dependent factor is transparent.

Factor analysis was carried out on the effective factor on online shipping to group together the variables that are highly correlated.

The process of factor analysis involves two stages:

1-      Factor extraction to make an initial decision on the number of factors underlying asset of measured variables of interest

2-      Factor rotation for easy interpretability of factor extraction result and for making final decision about the underlying factors. The underlying structure of 9 items was analyzed using principal component analysis followed by varimax rotation because we have an independent variable. The factor analyses revealed two dimensions underlying effective factor on online shopping for Malaysian customers.

They are: (F1), High Quality websites (F2), Advertising. The total variance explained by factors is indicated in Table 5, which suggests that the two factors account for 74% of the total variance. Factor 1, which accounted for about 61% of total variance.

Table 5 : Total Variance Explained

Component

Initial Eigenvalues

Extraction Sums of Squared Loadings

Total

% of Variance

Cumulative %

Total

% of Variance

Cumulative %

1

5.524

61.376

61.376

5.524

61.376

61.376

2

1.153

12.810

74.185

1.153

12.810

74.185

3

.958

10.644

84.829

4

.754

8.376

93.205

5

.203

2.259

95.464

6

.167

1.852

97.316

7

.131

1.453

98.769

8

.072

.797

99.566

9

.039

.434

100.000

Extraction Method: Principal Component Analysis.

In fact, each of above component represents a factor that explains the total variances in all the 8 original items as listed above. As shown in the Table.2, the Eigen values for just the two components are above the value 1, thus they are to be considered significant. It can be seen in the Table 2, each of these components explains 61.376 %, 12.810%, of the total variance respectively, among the all 9 items.

It has been illustrated in Figure 1, There is a dramatic steep slope from component 1 to component 2, hence most of the variance is explained by factor 1 alone and small portion by component 2 and then again there is a steep slope to component 3, Whereas, the slop of the diagram change gently from component 4 to component 9 which again indicate that most of variance is explained by the first 2 components and subsequent factor do not contribute much in explained variance.

Figure 1

Now we founded that we have a two factor, so the question now is each item is regarding to which factor, for this we look at the component matrix table.

Factor Loading

 Rotated Component Matrixa

Component

Cronbach’s
alpha

1

2

Appearance

.704

Quick Loading

.653

Security

.829

0.801

Sitemap

.596

Validity

.828

Promotion

.774

Attractiveness

.514

Believability

.798

0.721

Originality

.750

Extraction Method: Principal Component Analysis.

 Rotation Method: Varimax with Kaiser Normalization.

a. Rotation converged in 3 iterations.

All the Cronbach’s alpha value for components is well above value of 0.721 which indicate to good level of internal consistency.

Seemingly, component 1 represents five first variances in the five first items in the questionnaire and it is designated as Security effectiveness. Moreover, the other components are designated as Believability effectiveness.

Hypothesis testing

Due to measuring the concept based on a five points Likert Scale which gives ordinal data, this study has been manipulated the Factor Scores to analyze hypotheses. 

 

 

 

H1: High quality (Secure) website positively associated with the online shopping

Correlations

Intention to online _shopping

Security

Intention to online _shopping

Pearson Correlation

1

.418

Sig. (2-tailed)

.002

N

60

60

Security

Pearson Correlation

.418

1

Sig. (2-tailed)

.002

N

60

60

Base of the Pearson correlation test, the r value between Security (high quality) and intention to buy is 0.418, which is more than 0.3, so there is a significant association between high quality (Secure) website and intention for online shopping. And p-value is less than 0.05, therefore the H1 is accepted.

H2: Advertisement (believability of ads) positively associated with the intention to online shopping.

The Pearson Correlation test applied to test the significance and direction of relationship. Results are illustrated in following table.

Correlations

Believability

Intention to online _shopping

Believability

Pearson Correlation

1

.073

Sig. (2-tailed)

.579

N

60

60

Intention to online _shopping

Pearson Correlation

.073

1

Sig. (2-tailed)

.579

N

60

60

Having considered above table, The Pearson Correlation Coefficient value equals to 0.73 which is lower than 0.3 indicating there is any neither positive nor negative association between Advertisement (believability of ads) and intention to online shopping. Thus, the hypothesis H2 is rejected.

ANOVA Test: (Optional)

All we are looking for through conducting this test is whether selected factors can be a good predictor for modeling an online shopping behavior or not, so we apply the ANOVA test. Usually it should be done at the beginning of projects.

Anova

Model

Sum of Squares

Df

Mean Square

F

Sig.

1

Regression

7.815

9

.868

.604

.000a

Residual

71.835

50

1.437

Total

79.650

59

a. Predictors: (Constant), Originality, Attractiveness, Believability, Promotion, Validity, Security, Appearance, Sitemap, Quick Loading

b. Dependent Variable: Online shopping behavior

The P-value from the ANOVA table is less than 0.001, which means that at least one of the variables can be used to model the online shopping behavior.

Model Summary

Model

R

R Square

Adjusted R Square

Std. Error of the Estimate

Change Statistics

Durbin-Watson

R Square Change

F Change

df1

df2

Sig. F Change

1

.313a

. 781

-.064

1.199

.781

.604

9

50

.787

1.549

a. Predictors: (Constant), Originality, Attractiveness, Believability, Promotion, Validity, Security, Appearance, Sitemap, Quick Loading

b. Dependent Variable: Dependent Variable: Online shopping behavior

                       

The R-Square value is 0.781, which means 78.1% of the variation can be explained by these factors, the Durbin-Watson statistic of 1.549 is not far from 2 and it’s correct.

Appendix: (Descriptive analysis)

These tables are some details regarding to demographic questions

Gender

Frequency

Percent

Valid Percent

Cumulative Percent

Valid

Male

32

52.5

53.3

53.3

Female

28

45.9

46.7

100.0

Total

60

98.4

100.0

Missing

System

1

1.6

Total

61

100.0

Age

Frequency

Percent

Valid Percent

Cumulative Percent

Valid

15-20

21

34.4

35.0

35.0

20-25

18

29.5

30.0

65.0

25-30

10

16.4

16.7

81.7

Over 30

11

18.0

18.3

100.0

Total

60

98.4

100.0

Missing

System

1

1.6

Total

61

100.0

Marital_Status

Frequency

Percent

Valid Percent

Cumulative Percent

Valid

Single

24

39.3

40.0

40.0

Married

18

29.5

30.0

70.0

widowed

13

21.3

21.7

91.7

Other

5

8.2

8.3

100.0

Total

60

98.4

100.0

Missing

System

1

1.6

Total

61

100.0

Monthly_Income

Frequency

Percent

Valid Percent

Cumulative Percent

Valid

No income

19

31.1

31.7

31.7

1000-3500RM

25

41.0

41.7

73.3

3500-6000RM

13

21.3

21.7

95.0

Above 6000RM

3

4.9

5.0

100.0

Total

60

98.4

100.0

Missing

System

1

1.6

Total

61

100.0

Occupation

Frequency

Percent

Valid Percent

Cumulative Percent

Valid

Student

28

45.9

46.7

46.7

Business Filed

23

37.7

38.3

85.0

Housewife

6

9.8

10.0

95.0

Other

3

4.9

5.0

100.0

Total

60

98.4

100.0

Missing

System

1

1.6

Total

61

100.0

Educational_Bachground

Frequency

Percent

Valid Percent

Cumulative Percent

Valid

Vocational

22

36.1

36.7

36.7

Highschool degree

23

37.7

38.3

75.0

College degree

11

18.0

18.3

93.3

Professional degree

4

6.6

6.7

100.0

Total

60

98.4

100.0

Missing

System

1

1.6

Total

61

100.0

Internet_using_duration

Frequency

Percent

Valid Percent

Cumulative Percent

Valid

More than 10 years

11

18.0

18.3

18.3

5-10 years

13

21.3

21.7

40.0

1-5years

20

32.8

33.3

73.3

less than 1 year

16

26.2

26.7

100.0

Total

60

98.4

100.0

Missing

System

1

1.6

Total

61

100.0

Online_Visiting_website

Frequency

Percent

Valid Perce

Ems_salehi64@yahoo.com

mehrdad.salehi64@gmail.com

Prevent Online Scams Guide to Online Shopping

April 15th, 2015 by admin

‘Shopping online has definitely cut down the hassles of going to the store and jostling in jam-packed malls. With the advent of the Internet, affordable online shopping is now at your fingertips. In just a few clicks of the mouse, you can purchase anything of your choice from the stuff on your computer monitor. Purchasing online is definitely the “in” thing because aside from getting a wide array of products, conducting transactions or payment can be done in a jiffy online.

Consumers across the globe are increasingly turning to the one-click convenience of online shopping thus its popularity these days.

Although online stores cast away the inconvenience that normally tail shopping, do you know that scam artists and fraudulent companies are predominant on the web? A recent consumer report of the Global Nielsen identifies the problems encountered by shoppers from cheap online shopping. These include “phishing” or “spoofing”, identity theft, non-delivery of goods, and fraud.

Online merchants are shrewder than what you thought. They sham as legit companies and hook customers with their very low priced commodities. Scammers cloak themselves under impressive marketing skills, and sweet-talk potential victims with goodies and freebies. However excellent in deceiving others, frauds can be avoided if consumers take measures to protect themselves from brick and mortar stores. In fact, Pay Pal, Better Business Bureau (BBB), and Global Nielsen have released safety precautions to those engaging in online shopping. Here are as follows:

Check carefully the website, products and services

Buying online is like purchasing your goods from a brick and mortar store. It’s best to conduct business with companies that the public knows about already. For example, if you shop for electronics online, visit reliable sites such as SONY, Radio Shack, Circuit City, and Tweeter.

Meanwhile, if you find an unfamiliar website, research about the company’s background, products, and services. Reliable companies should include their contact information such as business address and phone numbers. To check the store, call the listed phone number and ask questions to determine the legitimacy of its business. Ask how the merchant handles returned merchandise and complaints. Find out if it offers full refunds or only store credits.

If you’re still not convinced, check the yellow pages or search the Better Business Bureau listings, or a government consumer protection agency to ensure the validity of the company. After you’ve done everything but still feel uncomfortable with the idea of buying or bidding for an item on the web, then maybe you shouldn’t.

Understand the web site’s privacy and security policies

If you opt for online electronics shopping, don’t forget to read carefully the privacy policy. According to BBB, the Privacy Policy helps determine what information the seller is gathering from you, how the information will be used, and how you can stop the process. Or, look for merchants who are members of TRUSTe, Verisign, and BBB.

Scrutinize the company’s rules and regulations for the following: -Shipping costs and guidelines -Cancellation rules -Return and complaint handling policies -Payment guidelines

Keep your accounts safe

Pay with your credit cards every time you place orders. Payments made by credit cards allow you to keep the payment amount in your bank account. Also, some banks grant their clients extended warranties or other advantages for purchases made with the card.

Never use an ATM or debit card for they can expose your bank account to the thieves.

Never give financial and private information

The rule of thumb when making transactions or online shopping for electronics is never to give your Social Security Number and other financial information.

It’s okay to give information including your name, contact numbers, and address, but if the merchant asks beyond that, do not disclose it. Also, keep your password private. Do not use a password that is a giveaway such as your birth date, mother’s name, wife’s name, etc. The best password has at least eight characters and includes numbers and letters.’

Andrew Beene is web copywriter in a web design company associated with a company offering cheap online shopping.