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


  • Afraid woman

    Help! I Just Found Out I Have Bad Creditcredit, Personal Finance

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    If you’ve gone a long time without checking your credit (or if you’re checking it for the very first time), you may be in for a surprise. A whopping 56% of Americans had bad credit scores, per a survey from early 2015. Fortunately, you don’t necessarily need to panic if your score is below 600 (the generally accepted definition of subprime.) Instead, you can follow these simple steps in order to unearth what’s going on — […]

  • Will Someone Else Be Cashing Your Tax Refund This Year?Column, Data Security, Blog

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    Here is the IRS’s phone number: 800-829-1040. With an anticipated $21 billion in tax refund fraud this year, you might need it. And that figure doesn’t include losses from dodges like the IRS phone scam, which has been enjoying a renaissance of late. IRS phone frauds aren’t terribly difficult to detect. You get a call from the IRS saying you owe money and that you must pay immediately. The threat of police intervention may or […]

  • Financial info

    The 5 Most Important Numbers in Your Financial LifePersonal Finance, Money

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    There are a lot of numbers in finances, so it’s understandable that some of us get confused from time to time. That said, there are some numbers that are essential when it comes to understanding our overall financial health. To help you get a better handle on the state of your finances, here are the five numbers you should know. 1. How Much Money You Have Coming In This might seem like a no-brainer, but […]

  • Filing taxes

    Why You Should Be Careful Who You Pick to Do Your TaxesFinancial Literacy, Personal Finance, Identity Theft

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    When you decide to work with a professional tax preparer, you’re trusting that person with your most sensitive personal information. As a quick Internet search for “tax preparer fraud” shows, those people abuse that information from time to time. For example, at the very end of 2015, a former tax preparer in Arkansas pleaded guilty to charges associated with a tax fraud and identity theft scheme that involved filing false tax returns using stolen names, […]

  • Credit Card Interest Rate

    How to Score a Lower Credit Card Interest RateFinancial Literacy, credit, Personal Finance

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    The Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the first-time in nearly seven years this December, citing improvements in the economy. That means anyone with a variable-rate credit card might see their annual percentage rate go up. But you don’t have to weather the storm: Depending on your spending habits and financial health, there may be ways to score a lower APR in 2016. Here’s how. 1. Raise Your Credit Score A good credit score entitles you to the best […]

  • 12 Resolutions That Could Save Your Identity in 2016Column, Blog, Personal Finance

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    Another New Year is upon us. Bring on another raft of resolutions I say! I mean, what would a New Year be in the absence of resolutions? As Aldous Huxley wrote in Time Must Have a Stop, “Hell isn’t merely paved with good intentions; it’s walled and roofed with them. Yes, and furnished too.” This year, I am advocating something simple: It’s high time we (as in all of us – business, government and consumers) […]

  • Tax return

    4 Last-Minute Tax Moves You Can Make on Dec. 31Financial Literacy, Lifehacking, Personal Finance

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    Why hello there, Procrastinator. I know you’re busy wondering how 2015 got away from you, but here’s some good news: 1. Clean Your Closet If you itemize deductions, you might want to take some time to round up unused clothes and household items, and donate them before Dec. 31. “Take a picture of what you’re donating, make a complete list of items and value, and get a receipt,” said Gail Rosen, a certified public accountant based in Martinsville, […]

  • Debt

    4 Ways to Jump-Start Your Debt Repayment Plan in 2016Financial Literacy, Lifehacking, credit

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    Paying down your debt is a popular and noble goal to work toward. Of course, getting to that zero balance is easier said than done. Fortunately, there are some ways you can make the task a bit easier and increase the odds you’ll stay on track. Here’s how to jump-start your debt repayment plan in 2016. 1. Keep Your Other Resolutions New Year’s can be a great time to rebalance your budget — which will in turn […]

  • Beware This Year’s Scams of ChristmasColumn, Blog, Identity Theft

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    While the concept “forewarned is forearmed” is true for every day of the year, it’s particularly true during the holidays. December is the time when most of us focus less on our day jobs and more on family, friends, gift giving and celebration. The holidays are a cause for celebration by scammers, phishers and identity thieves for a very different reason. Because we are their day jobs, our joyful distraction provides them bountiful opportunities to […]

  • Home ownership

    Why 2016 May Be A Great Year for HomebuyersFinancial Literacy, Mortgages, Personal Finance

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    The Federal Housing Administration continues its mission to help consumers realize the dream of homeownership. In today’s mortgage lending environment, there are three buckets of loan options available for borrowers, including conventional, FHA and jumbo loans. Of the three, FHA mortgages are significantly more flexible, especially in the following areas: Higher debt ratio allowance 3.5% equity Lower credit scores may qualify Spotty credit histories may be acceptable The fact that the FHA raised its loan limits in 188 counties nationally speaks […]

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