Posts filed under ‘Money’

How to Generate Credit Card Numbers

By Chad Upton | Editor

First of all, I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea; although the credit card numbers you generate are valid, they’re not active and aren’t for making (fraudulent) purchases.

So, what’s the point?

red amex

Just like you may use a junk email address to sign up for special offers, you may want a junk credit card number too. That’s because free things are rarely ever free and that’s especially true of free trials.

Companies frequently offer “free” trials in exchange for your billing info. They’re betting against you — hoping you’ll forget to cancel your subscription so they can get some money out of you for at least one month, maybe a couple months if it’s only a few bucks and you’re too busy to cancel at the moment you notice the charge. Then you’ll probably forget about it until you see it again next month. (more…)

February 5, 2013 at 1:00 am 4 comments

2012 Olympic Gold Medals are Mostly Silver

By Chad Upton | Editor

A gold medal has been awarded to the top Olympic athlete in an event since the 1904 St. Louis Summer Olympics. Although this tradition has stuck, many things have changed since the St. Louis games.

I hadn’t planned on writing much about the St. Louis Olympics, but some of the research proved too bizarre to hold back. For starters, the games were supposed to be in Chicago; but, the World Fair organizers in St. Louis promised to hold their own sporting event that would eclipse the Olympic games, unless they were awarded the games. So, the games were awarded to St. Louis.

During the marathon, Frederick Lorz dropped out of the race after nine miles and rode a car back to the start/finish to collect his clothes. But, the car broke down so he had to run the rest of the way. Officials thought he was the first to finish and he went along with it, but was later caught and banned for a year. The following year, he did win the Boston Marathon fair and square.

The actual winner of the marathon, Thomas Hicks, had a bit of help from his trainers who gave him a mix of brandy and strychnine sulfate — a poison which isn’t lethal in small doses and “stimulates” the nervous system. A postman from Cuba, Felix Carbajal, also ran in the marathon. He he snacked on rotten apples in an orchard, took a nap and then finished in fourth place. (more…)

July 25, 2012 at 2:00 am 5 comments

Movies are Corporations (Hollywood Accounting)

By Chad Upton | Editor

One of the most interesting classes I took in College was taught by a film producer. He only taught that one class, for two hours, once a week. He shared learnings from the entire film making process, from writing a script and getting funding to shooting and distribution.

From this class, I learned is that each film is incorporated as its own corporation and there are a number of reasons why they do this.

For one, it offers limited liability. If someone sues the production, the people who financed and produced the film have some legal separation between the film and their personal assets and other businesses.

It also offers financial abstraction from the people and companies who financed the film. Here’s a little math test to help explain this concept: if it costs $300 million to make a product and then you sold $1 billion worth of it, how much was your profit? $700 million right? Yes. Unless, your product was a film or TV show.

This is almost exactly what happened with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007). The studio invested just over $300 million to make the film and it grossed almost $1 billion from the box office and other distribution deals. But, instead of making $700 million, it actually lost $167 million (on paper). So, what happened to all of that money? (more…)

May 19, 2012 at 4:00 pm 4 comments

How to Fix a Stubborn Credit Card

By Chad Upton | Editor

Have you ever worn out a magnetic card? You can ask your bank for a new one but it usually takes a few days. In the meantime, you can put a piece of clear tape or use some receipt paper from the cashier to cover the magnetic stripe while the card is swiped.

Usually, the cashier will do this for you, but if not then you can ask them to try it. Some may even use a plastic bag, but any thin barrier may work. Be sure it’s very thin so it doesn’t get jammed in the card reader.

Many people know about this little trick; the real secret is why it works… (more…)

April 13, 2012 at 2:00 am 4 comments

Credit Cards Reveal Hidden Symbols Under Black Lights

By Chad Upton | Editor

Many people know that paper money has markings that illuminate under a black light. These markings make it more difficult to counterfeit and thus easier to spot counterfeit money. Also, regular paper glows wildly under a black light, while currency paper does not, another dead giveaway. The same also applies to credit cards.

For this demonstration, I rounded up one card from each of the major issuers and tore my basement apart looking for my standard issue college black light. I eventually found it, but only after creating a small pile of retro items for this year’s halloween costume.

The black light’s strong purple glow catalyzed the American Express card to reveal “AMEX” spelled across the card, with a picture of a globe between “AM” and “EX.”

MasterCard was hiding “MC” on theirs:

The Visa card revealed the V logo.

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August 12, 2011 at 2:00 am 4 comments

Up to 40% of Online Clothing Purchases are Returned

By Kaye Nemec

Online shopping is popular for people who don’t have the time to shop in stores or who simply feel browsing through a mall is actually a waste of time. With websites like Ebates.com, which gives you cash back for all your purchases, and PayPal.com, which allows you to pay without using your credit card, it’s ridiculously easy to add a few items to your cart and hope you get what you paid for.

Unfortunately, online shopping results aren’t always what we hope for. In fact, 15 to 40% of all online clothing purchases are returned (depending on the source). One in four loose fitting clothing items like t-shirts are returned when they’re purchased online. Almost half of all form fitting clothing items purchased online are returned.

Twenty percent of computer software purchased online is returned and 15% of books purchased online are returned.

If companies don’t have “return to store” or “free return shipping” options then our great, upfront deals could turn into a total loss in the end. Of the returns made from online purchases, 59% receive refunds, 27% are exchanged for another item and 11% are given a store credit.

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Sources: Shine, The Business Link

May 6, 2011 at 2:00 am 1 comment

The Signature Line on Checks is Not a Line at All

By Chad Upton | Editor

Although personal checks are antiquated by modern payment standards, they still have some valid uses. For example, they’re still popular for personal and bill payments by mail. They’re also used to dodge online transaction fees to pay friends or submit payments for online auctions.

Turning a blank line into any amount of money has obvious fraud potential. Unlike most currency, the paper itself is not particularly special. However, the print on the paper has some security features built in.

Photocopying is thwarted in a couple of ways. First, the light blue ink is a specific color of blue that does not photocopy well.

There is also a feature called micro-security print, usually indicated with an “MP” (micro-security print) logo on the signature line. The logo indicates that very tiny print is present. While the signature line looks like an ordinary horizontal line, it is actually made up of very small repeating print, “AUTHORIZED SIGNATURE.” This text is extremely small; so small that it will become completely blurry and unreadable if it is photocopied.

The next time you see a check, try reading the fine print.

Broken Secrets

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Sources: 4checks.com, Yahoo! Answers

May 4, 2011 at 2:00 am 5 comments

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