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Blogs and article by Adam K Levin about credit, identity theft, data security, and consumer protection.


  • How the Government Is Doing a Terrible Job Protecting Your Social Security NumberColumn, Data Security, Blog

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    The Social Security Administration sent 352 million notices by snail mail in 2015. With volume like that — much of it containing valuable fraud-enabled information — you’d think the SSA would have a great system for protecting sensitive personally identifiable information from the constant threat of identity-related crime. Think again. Recently, the Office of the Inspector General of the SSA published a report entitled “Social Security Administration Correspondence Containing Full Social Security Numbers.” While it […]

  • Retirement

    How to Delay Taking Social Security Benefits Until You Absolutely Have ToRetirement, Personal Finance

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    I recently heard about a man who was retired longer than he worked, retiring at 52 and living well into his 90’s. There’s a life worth living. And it’s not that far-fetched. Life expectancies continue to inch upward, particularly for those who make it to retirement. For those who reach age 65, life expectancy stretches to 82 for men and 85 for women. For married couples who reach 65 together, the news is even better. Odds are […]

  • Social Security Identity Theft

    Oops. I Gave My Social Security Number to a StrangerConsumer Protection, Identity Theft

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    Life can get hectic and, while media attention on big data breaches has certainly put folks on high alert, there are times when you slip and give some of your personal information away. Lots of this info, like your credit card account and health insurance ID, can be changed with relative ease. There are nine little digits you’re stuck with, however, that can cause a whole lot of headaches when they fall into the wrong hands. Those digits, of course, are […]

  • Student loan

    Parents Increasingly Expect Kids to Pay for CollegeEducation, Personal Finance

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    With college tuitions skyrocketing, it’s no surprise parents are worried whether they have enough to cover the cost. According to the fifth annual survey from Discover Student Loans, nearly half (48%) of 1,000 adults surveyed with kids aged 16 to 18 expect their child to pay for most or all their education, up from 39% in 2012. “While a vast majority of parents still report that they want to help their children pay for college, it’s clear that […]

  • Data Breach

    Nearly All Data Breaches Happen in Minutes, Report FindsData Security, Technology

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    Most data breaches happen fast — in a matter of minutes, according to a new Verizon report — but the impact on you and your credit report could make for a very long lasting financial headache. Cybercriminals institute data breaches to steal your Social Security number, credit card number, bank account information and many other forms of personal financial information. And according to the latest Verizon 2016 Data Breach Investigations Report, these thieves still find success with […]

  • mortgage

    How Your Credit Card Can Keep You From Buying a Homecredit, Personal Finance

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    New changes coming to Fannie Mae’s automated underwriting system next month could have prospective homebuyers rethinking how they pay their credit card bills. Here’s why. Lenders generally use Fannie Mae’s automated underwriting system for every single mortgage loan sold in the secondary mortgage market. This system has always reviewed the mortgage applicant’s credit history, credit score, debt-to-income ratio, reserves (a fancy term for savings) and occupancy in order to determine whether they should be approved […]

  • credit score

    The New FICO Score: What It Means for Youcredit, Personal Finance

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    If you’ve always maintained a strong payment history with your cellphone and cable bills and want a little credit for it, you may be in luck. Credit-scoring giant FICO just announced a new scoring model designed to give credit scores based on people’s payment history with their phone, utilities and other bills. LexisNexis Risk Solutions and Equifax introduced the FICO Score XD to help lenders assess consumers who may not have a traditional credit history but have a strong record of paying […]

  • Why You Need to Check If Your Child Has a Credit Reportcredit, Identity Theft

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    Imagine a 9-year-old swimming in credit card debt. Or a 13-year-old being hounded by bill collectors. Sound ridiculous? Well these are very real scenarios. It turns out adults the only demographic credit fraudsters threaten. Even children are at risk of having their identity stolen. In fact, child identity theft impacts 1 in 40 households with children under the age of 18, according to a 2012 survey by Javelin. Children’s credit reports are especially appealing to credit thieves, because […]

  • Divorce

    8 Steps to Rebuild Your Financial Life After DivorcePersonal Finance, Money

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    If you’ve gone through it, you don’t need me to tell you how financially devastating divorce can be. Many people lose half (or more) of everything they’ve saved over their lives. This includes their home, retirement, business and investments. If that isn’t bad enough, divorced people often see their income wither while their expenses explode. No doubt about it, divorce is bad news financially. Having said that, all is not lost. In fact, there are plenty […]

  • Foreclosure mortgage

    Worst-Case Scenario: What Does Foreclosure Actually Do to My Credit?credit, Personal Finance

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    A foreclosure can lead to a litany of problems, financial and otherwise, for homeowners and their families. And, as people work to keep their home or simply get through the filing, they often don’t have time to consider their credit score. In fact, for a time, perhaps they shouldn’t. “If a person is going through foreclosure, they have very serious financial issues that are probably reflected in very poor scores,” Rod Griffin, director of public education […]

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