March 22, 2012

Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft

Yes, I know this does not seem like the type of post you expect to find on the KidsFormal.com blog…or any formal wear provider’s blog. However, after a recent incident I had this morning, I felt the need to share a few tips for how you can protect yourself from identity theft. So, I’ll start with what happened this morning that led me to post this article.

This morning, my husband and I went to a local diner for breakfast and on a whim I decided to pay with my credit card…which I very rarely use. After two attempts the cashier told me that a message “call customer service line” kept appearing and the card was declined. So, I went ahead and paid with my check card and came home.

When I called the credit card company I was transferred to the security department who wanted to verify a few transactions. Naturally, I got out my statement and was shocked to see that my card had been used 5 times in one day at a Dunkin Donuts shop in Brooklyn, NY! Thankfully, all of the combined charges totaled less than $20 and the credit card company put an emergency security hold on the card. Right after that, the thief tried to use the card number again at a CVS Pharmacy for $117.42, but thankfully, the hold was already in place and that was denied. There have been no further charge attempts on the card since.

However, that scared me so I naturally checked with all my other open accounts to make sure no fraudulent charges have been made. I also checked with Experian.com to make sure no new accounts have been opened in my name. There haven’t been. So, at the moment it appears that the incident was a close call for me, but identity theft is on the rise and a real problem.
As we (Kids Formal) provide our customers with fine children’s formalwear, both online and offline, I feel it is necessary to share a few tips for protecting yourself from identity theft.

1.    Online Purchases – It doesn’t matter if you are ordering an Easter dress from KidsFormal.com or a book from an individual seller online, you need to make sure that the URL for the ordering page begins with “https:”  - the “s” is critical…it means the site is secure. Do not place an order for anything online without checking to make sure the site is secure. Also, it’s a wise idea to only use one credit card for all of your online purchases…no matter where they’re from. In fact, if you have a dedicated credit card used solely for online purchases, it will make it easier to catch any fraudulent charges that may occur. (NEVER use a bank card when making online purchases…credit cards are much easier to stop and recover the money from, whereas, bank accounts are an entirely different story.)

2.    Properly Dispose of All Receipts – Many of us have left receipts in our vehicles or carelessly tossed them in the trash. Don’t do this! Many identity thieves know that some receipts print out the entire credit card number, making it easy to steal. The proper way to dispose of receipts is to shred them at home in a cross-shredder.

3.    Drop Bill Payments Off at the Post Office – A lot of people have their identities stolen by mailbox thieves. These people go around and look in people’s mailboxes and steal payments in order to gain the credit card information, as well as, a new identity. Therefore, drive your bill payments to the post office and drop them in the outgoing mail slot. Or, sign up for automatic bill payment or set up an online payment plan with your bank and eliminate the manual/mailed payments altogether.

4.    Keep Your Social Security Number Locked in a Safe Place – Do not carry your social security number with you, and do not have it written down either. Your social security card (and all of your family member’s cards) should be locked in a fireproof safe or another safe place in your home. Some people even keep them locked in a security box at their bank to ensure they aren’t stolen. As far as the government goes, your identity is your social security number, so protect it well.

5.    Cancel Unused Cards/Accounts – If you have open credit card accounts or store accounts that you never use, cancel them immediately. There is no need to keep these accounts open. You’re more likely to forget about them, which makes them easier to be stolen and used without your knowledge.

6.    Purchase Identity Theft Insurance – I hope that you never have your identity stolen, but if it does happen it can be a very time-consuming/expensive problem to fix. Identity theft insurance is now available and will assist you in rectifying the problem if it occurs…it will also help you with the financial aspect of fixing the issue.

March 19, 2012

Personalized Bridesmaid Gift Ideas

It doesn’t matter if you have one or ten bridesmaids in your wedding, it’s a good idea to let each of them know how much you appreciate their willingness to attend you on your wedding day. There are a lot of expenses associated with being a bridesmaids when you consider the cost of the dress, travel expenses, hotel fees (if out-of-town), hair and makeup and all the accessories needed to go with the dress. Therefore, as the bride, you need to give your bridesmaids a token of your appreciation as it is the proper thing to do. Below are a few personalized bridesmaid gift ideas to help you out.

1.    Jewelry – The majority of women love jewelry, making this an easy gift to give. In addition to making a nice gift, you can give it to your bridesmaids the night before the wedding and explain that you thought it would look nice with their dresses the next day. For instance, you can have a necklace, earrings or a bracelet made for your girls. There are numerous ways to personalize them, simply ask the jewelry for some ideas.

2.    Cosmetic Bags and Jewelry Rolls – A couple of other great personalized bridesmaid gift ideas include cosmetic bags and/or jewelry rolls. Every girl needs a place to keep her makeup and a cosmetic bag is the perfect solution. You can find an assortment of cosmetic bags online that are able to be monogramed with your bridesmaids’ initials. You can do the same thing with jewelry rolls.

3.    Personalized Totes – As with jewelry, shoes and clothes…a girl can never have too many totes or handbags. Therefore, surprise your bridesmaids with a personalize tote bag that’s large enough to carry a beach towel, laptop or several books. This bag will definitely come in handy and be appreciated for years!

Flower girl dresses by KidsFormal.com

March 16, 2012

Newsletter Marh 15, 2012 - Kids Formal

Dear Valued Customer,

Can you believe that March is almost over and spring is practically knocking on our door? Although this time of year reeks allergy havoc on many of us, it’s such a pretty, fun and exciting time of year. As the grass turns green and the trees and flowers begin to bloom, we automatically begin thinking about summer and all the fun we will be able to have with our family and friends. However, before you can get to all the fun spring and summer has in store for you, there are a few things you may want to do first.

1. Go Through the Closets – This is a good time to go through all the closets in your house and get rid of all the clothes that you and your kids no longer wear. A good rule of thumb is if it wasn’t worn more than once during its proper season, it needs to go.

Now, for kids it’s a bit different. They may have worn every piece of clothing in their closets, but with kids growing as fast as they do, you need to get rid of the clothes that they’ve outgrown. Take out the old and make room for the new. This also, means you need to take a look at your kids’ formalwear too. If they can’t fit into any of their dresses or suits, then it’s time for new ones!

2. Deep Clean the House – Generally, there is at least one person per household that gets sick during the winter. As spring approaches, it’s a good idea to deep clean the house to get any left-over germs out and just tidy up a bit. Does this mean you have to do it alone? Absolutely not, get everyone in the family to help out with it. After all, you aren’t the only one who lives there, right? Or, if you are stretched for time, consider hiring a professional to come out and deep-clean your house for you. This is a good time to have all of your carpets shampooed too!

3. Have a Family Meeting – Finally, schedule a family meeting to discuss what everyone’s hopes are for the summer. Get an idea of the types of activities that your kids want to do during the summer. For example, do they want to join a summer sports team, go to summer camp or just hang out with friends? What do you and your spouse want to do this summer? This meeting should make it possible that everyone in the family gets to do something they wanted to do during the summer.

Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed today’s newsletter and we’ve got you thinking about what you can do to prepare for summer. We would like to help you restock your children’s formalwear wardrobe this year. And, as one of our valued customers, we are currently offering you a coupon for $10 off any $100 or more order. Simply use coupon code “10off100” at checkout.

Sincerely,

Your Friends at KidsFormal.com

Planning for a wedding? Read these articles by Kids Formal below:

March 1, 2012

March 1, 2012 - Newsletter




Dear Valued Customer,

Can you believe March is already here? In 31 short days, a quarter of the year will already be gone! That’s pretty crazy, if you ask me…seems like yesterday we were helping customers make their final selections for the holidays and here we are heading into spring and summer. As you know, at KidsFormal.com, you will find some of the best formal wear clothing the internet has to offer…all for exceptional prices.

In addition to the formal dresses, tuxedos and dress shoes, we also carry a wide variety of girls’ hair accessories too. Now, if you have little girls then you know how quickly the number of hair accessories they have can add up. While there are a ton of places that sell hair accessories for girls, it can be quite a task finding a good way to organize and store them. Below are a few ideas to help you organize your daughter’s hair accessories, if you haven’t already found a method that works for you yet.

     1.   Picture Boards – You’ve seen those cork boards that are wrapped prettily in material and criss-crossed with ribbon for the purpose of holding pictures, right? Well, these make great bow organizers. Instead, of putting pictures on the boards – clip your daughter’s hair bows to the criss-crossed ribbons. It will add a splash of color to your wall and keep the bows organized.

     2.  3 or 4 Drawer Storage Containers – Stores like Wal-Mart and Target have tons of these storage systems. They work great for organizing hair accessories. You can keep bows in one compartment, ribbons in another and headbands in the other one. The only drawback to this system is that you may have to dig a little to find the exact accessory you’re looking for. However, if you have a little girl (3, 4 or 5) then this organizational system may be more age appropriate.

     3.   Over-the-Door Shoe Organizer – Yes, you read that right…an over-the-door shoe organizer. You know, the ones that have about 20 small, clear plastic “shoe” compartments that conveniently attaches to the back of a door? Those are perfect for girls who have a lot of hair accessories. Not only will the hair accessories be neatly stored away (and off the countertops) but you and your daughter will be able to see all of the hair accessories at a glance, and quickly grab the one you need.

While we don’t sell hair organizers, we do have a great assortment of girls’ hair accessories to complete your little one’s special outfit. As far as the hair organizers, hopefully one of the ideas above is the affordable organizational solution you’ve been looking for!

As a “thank you” for signing up for our newsletter, you will receive 10% off your next order when you enter coupon code “Extra10” at the time of checkout. This coupon is only available to you, our newsletter readers at this time – so take advantage of it! In addition, we are currently offering free shipping to all of our customers during this time through our website, so you’ll be receiving two discounts in one by placing an order now!

We look forward to working with you in the future! Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions regarding our clothing. Also, once you receive your order be sure to take pictures of your kids and upload them to our Facebook Fan Page before February 29th for a chance to win a $50 gift certificate!

Have a wonderful day!

Sincerely,

Your Friends at KidsFormal.com

Planning for a wedding?  Read these articles by Kids Formal below: