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


  • The Simple Way to Keep Your Tax Refund SafeColumn, Blog

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    The holiday season is just getting underway, a time dedicated to finding the perfect gift for loved ones and a steady procession of festive events that ends when we ring in the New Year. Unfortunately, it’s also a busy time for people dedicated to the commission of identity-related tax fraud. I’ve written more extensively about this issue in my book Swiped: How to Protect Yourself in a World Full of Scammers, Phishers, and Identity Thieves, […]

  • Home ownership

    The Loophole That Could Help You Buy a Home Even If You Have a Lot of DebtFinancial Literacy, Mortgages

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    It’s not impossible to buy a home when you have existing debts. Homebuyers do it every day, in fact. But you have to know how your existing debts are affecting your standing with the lender and the ways you may be able to exclude some debts from your loan approval process. When you apply for a mortgage, the lender takes into consideration your credit score, the cash you plan to use on a home, your […]

  • Credit Cards

    The Hidden Bonus of Paying Off Credit Card DebtLifehacking, credit, Personal Finance

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    In theory, nobody wants to be in debt. But when credit card bills arrive, we don’t exactly rush to pay them. And when we do, we may not pay the full balance. Understandably, we don’t want to be separated from our money. We earned that money, it’s hard to see it come into your bank account and exit just as quickly. But racking up high balances on your credit cards, even if you continue to […]

  • Cyber thief

    Should You Be Worried About Identity Theft on Cyber Monday?Identity Theft, Technology

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    Two years ago, hackers planted malware in Target’s point-of-sale system and stole 40 million credit card and debit card numbers, in addition to 70 million names, addresses, email addresses and phone numbers of Target shoppers. Worse data breaches have occurred since then, but because the Target breach happened during the Black Friday weekend and early December, it will long be associated with the security risks of holiday shopping. Those risks are present when you shop in […]

  • Facebook “Most Used Words” App as Privacy LessonColumn, Data Security, Blog

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    If you have an account on Facebook, you may have noticed posts featuring a nicely designed cloud comprised of the words that your Facebook friends use most often. It’s powered by an app from a company called Vonvon, and it’s been getting a lot of attention this week from consumer privacy experts. The reason this app has privacy hawks screeching is simple. It grabs an enormous amount of personally identifiable information and private details about […]

  • Credit Card

    Why Gift Cards Aren’t As Secure As Your Credit CardsConsumer Protection, credit, Technology

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    It’s holiday season, which means you are almost certainly going to receive (and give) a plastic gift card during the next few weeks. When you (or they) try to spend it, a familiar process will occur: You will swipe the card’s magnetic stripe, even if you are shopping at a major retailer like Target or Walmart. This action might give you pause to ask a question: “Where’s the chip?” The past several months have been dominated by talk […]

  • Credit Cards

    Nearly Half of Americans Feel Obligated to Buy Holiday Gifts They Can’t AffordFinancial Literacy, Personal Finance

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    The majority of Americans who responded to a holiday shopping survey said the season is a strain on their finances, with 41% of shoppers saying they feel obligated to spend more than they can afford. The data comes from an Experian Consumer Services online survey of 1,035 adults living in the U.S., though it’s important to note that the survey is not nationally representative. Respondents said they plan to spend an average of $806 on […]

  • Debt

    There Are 6 Kinds of Borrowers: Which One Are You?Consumer Protection, credit, Personal Finance

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    Most Americans have only one kind of debt, if they have any at all, according to a new report from the Urban Institute. By analyzing five years of credit-report data of more than 5 million Americans, researchers identified many trends among U.S. debtors, including the most common kinds of borrowers. About 89% of consumers with credit reports fell into one of the following six categories. 1. No Debt This is the most common type of consumer. […]

  • How to Keep Your Smart Devices From Exposing Your DataColumn, Data Security, Blog

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    In 2015, somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices will be purchased, an increase of 60% over the previous year. There will be 10 billion IoT devices connected to the Internet this year. A couple of years ago, a survey found that three out of four Americans had no clue that there was such an animal as the Internet of Things, and many likely still don’t know (until you tell […]

  • Responsible financial decision

    The One Word That Can Improve Your Financial StandingFinancial Literacy, Retirement, Personal Finance

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    Many motivational speakers demand we say “yes” to life. Whether it involves going back to school, taking an educated risk or meeting new people, “yes” gets heavily promoted. But you know what? “Yes” doesn’t always work out so well. There are times when “no” is a more appropriate answer – especially when it comes to improving your financial standing. Today, I’d like to share with you some financial situations in which it’s good to say […]

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