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Author Archives: Guest Blogger

  • 5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Hide From Your DebtFinancial Literacy, Personal Finance


    Debt may have become so ingrained in your life that it seems natural. Maybe your plans to pay off debt have failed and you’ve even begun to ignore it. Maybe it’s because your debt is so long term (like a 30-year mortgage), it feels like you will never be without it. It’s important, though, to stay motivated to push forward in the repayment process. This is true not only because you have a moral and […]

  • 5 Things Identity Thieves Don’t Want You to KnowIdentity Theft


    Identity thieves don’t want you to read this article. They’ve made an entire industry out of living off of other peoples’ good names. And when you know their typical tricks, stealing your identity is much harder. Unfortunately, not enough people know what puts their identities at risk for theft. And that has helped keep identity theft the No. 1 consumer complaint to the Federal Trade Commission for 15 years running. Do you like the idea of thieves […]

  • social media hack

    Fraudsters harvest data from social media to target grandparentsPersonal Finance


    The harvesting of personal details blithely posted on social media sites continues. Some of the parties doing this harvesting have criminal intent. One manifested outcome is a rash of scams targeting grandparents. This is yet another example of how the obliteration of privacy—which underpins the business models of Google, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat— has proven to be a boon for scammers. Fraud investigators at IDT911, which sponsors ThirdCertainty, are helping victims recover from a rash […]

  • Can Search Engines Stop Student Loan Scammers?Consumer Protection, Personal Finance


    If you’ve checked your spam folder recently, you know that offers of student loan debt relief have exploded right along with the student loan debt problem. You probably know it’s a bad idea to answer spam in a quest to lower your loan payments, but you might be more inclined to answer an advertisement you see on a major search engine like Google, Yahoo or Bing. If you do, you’ll likely get a bad deal, […]

  • 4 Important Things You Need to Know About Social SecurityFinancial Literacy, Personal Finance


    Retirement sounds exciting, but it can actually be a difficult landscape to understand and navigate. A retirement calculator can help guide your savings goals, both with a total target you are trying to hit and a monthly amount to include in your budget. But figuring out how much you can expect to get in Social Security benefits can be a little more difficult. (You can get a personalized estimate from the Social Security Administration here.) For […]

  • Tax return

    The IRS Is Beefing Up Security. Will Your Taxes Be Affected?Personal Finance


    In the past several years, millions of U.S. taxpayers have experienced the frustration of attempting to file their taxes, only to find that someone beat them to it: Tax-related identity theft is a common crime, in which people use stolen information (mostly Social Security numbers) to fraudulently obtain tax refunds. Then, when the rightful owner of that Social Security number attempts to file taxes, the IRS flags the return as a duplicate, and consumers end […]

  • Debt Collector Left Consumers Hanging on Medical Bill Disputes, Says CFPBFinancial Literacy, health care


    A debt collector with ties to one of the nation’s largest private hospital chains spent yearsviolating basic provisions of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act, federal regulators say. Consumers who dispute a debt are entitled to a response within 30 days, according to federal law. Medical debt collector Syndicated Office Systems took, on average, more than 90 days to respond to disputes, and in some cases, took more than […]

  • Student loan

    Private Student Loan Co-Signers Rarely Let Off the Hook, CFPB FindsPersonal Finance


    The CFPB also warned parents about other provisions of private student loans. Some lenders have a list of criteria that permanently bars co-signers from release, such as any request for loan forbearance. Meanwhile, many agreements call for “auto-default” if the co-signer dies or declares bankruptcy, meaning the student is required to repay the loan in full immediately. “Parents and grandparents put their financial futures on the line by co-signing private student loans to help family […]

  • Rep. Jim Langevin: What We Should Be Doing to Protect Our Kids’ Creditcredit, Identity Theft


    An 18-year-old looking to purchase his first car. A young woman applying for the student loan that will put her through college. A foster youth aging out of the system and eager to get a place of his own. These are exciting milestones in the lives of young people, turning points that mark new beginnings and the start of independence. Now imagine you’ve reached this crossroads only to discover that your identity had been stolen. […]

  • Identity

    OPM breach lends urgency for new laws to protect individual privacyPrivacy


    When it comes to losing data to hackers, the federal government appears to have much more leeway than private corporations in deciding what to disclose—and when. That point has been driven home by developments in the breach of Uncle Sam’s human resources agency, the Office of Personnel Management. On Friday, as major news outlets wound down for the weekend, an unnamed U.S. official disclosed to The Associated Press that data thieves took records for up […]