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

  • Best Way to Win the Gas Game: Don’t PlayBlog, Personal Finance


    Earlier this week, the New York Post shouted the headline “US Credit Card Debt Nearing Toxic Levels.” The article was referring to the latest report from the Fed that in December, total consumer debt, which is the sum of both non-revolving and revolving debt, increased by 9.3 percent to almost $2.5 trillion. The increase in revolving debt, principally consisting of credit card balances, was at an annual rate of 4.1%. Thus, despite the fact that […]

  • Identity Theft: Are We Doomed?Blog, Identity Theft


    Opening my e-mail reminds me of walking through the bazaar of a third world open air market — the pickpockets are everywhere. In the last 30 days I have received spam purporting to be from the Better Business Bureau, the Internal Revenue Service, the United States post office, the FBI, and most recently (this morning) even one from the AICPA — the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, a group of which I am not […]

  • Mortgages, Greece & Obama’s Budget: The Global Financial Literacy CrisisFinancial Literacy, Government, Politics, Blog, Personal Finance, Money


    Seven days, three seemingly disconnected announcements, and one subtle theme: what we have here is a failure to communicate… or more to the point, a failure to educate. America and much of the world is in the midst of financial literacy crisis that goes well beyond one’s ability to manage his or her own money. Consider what’s going on at home and abroad. First, the attorneys general of 49 states agreed on a $26 billion […]

  • Eastwood Meets West Wing: No Permanent Foreclosure Crisis?Mortgages, Blog, Personal Finance, Money


    I am a New Yorker. I am a Giants fan. They made my day last Sunday. Sorry, Gisele. Like over 100 million of you, I saw the Chrysler commercial and, for the record, Clint Eastwood made my day. Now, in the interest of full disclosure — my college flame was the granddaughter of a famous Chrysler design engineer — so I confess that I have a warm spot in my heart for those guys, but […]

  • Google’s New Privacy Policy: Close But No CigarData Security, Blog, Privacy


    Last week was a pretty good one for the notion of privacy in America, which has increasingly become forlorn and tattered as a result of the advancement of digital technology. First, the Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Jones that warrantless GPS tracking of a criminal suspect by the FBI was unconstitutional, and then later in the week Google announced its new privacy policy, a model of simplicity and fairness with one sizeable flaw. […]

  • The Real SOPA Opera Should Be ID TheftBlog, Identity Theft


    The Stop Online Piracy Act, and its sister legislation in the Senate, the Protect Intellectual Property Act caused quite a stir in Silicon Valley, Hollywood and Washington. The two bills were intended to put a hard stop on theft of intellectual property on the Internet, by means that are controversial in terms of the First Amendment. Big players from the overlapping worlds of movies and music pushed for this bill. So did their high priced […]

  • The S&P and the EU: Timing Is EverythingGovernment, Banking, Blog, Money


    In keeping with a tradition firmly established in the 20th century, Europe suffered a late-night bombing raid on Friday evening. This time the attacker was Standard & Poor’s, everybody’s favorite rating agency, which announced well after the markets closed in New York it was downgrading the debt of no fewer than nine European countries. France was dropped one notch and therefore lost its prized AAA rating, and Italy and Spain both dropped two notches. Portugal’s […]

  • Hey Romney, It’s an Inauguration, Not a CoronationGovernment, Politics, Blog


    Can’t you just feel the temperature rising? Feel the rush of adrenalin as the political gladiators enter the arena and begin to slash each other to pieces. Doesn’t it feel a bit like Spartacus, but with suits replacing loincloths? (Think blood-stained Starz Sparacus, not the more refined Kirk Douglas one.) The GOP presidential primary campaign is becoming more strident and colorful lately — especially as the debates are getting almost more TV airtime then reruns […]

  • Is Obama’s Cordray Appointment Unprecedented? Not By a LongshotFinancial Literacy, Government, Banking, Politics, Blog, Personal Finance


    President Obama “manned up” Wednesday, exercised his executive authority and announced the recess appointment of Richard Cordray as the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau—ending months of partisan bickering and obstructionism by 45 Republican Senators and their patrons in the financial services industry. I read the comments of GOP leaders in the House and Senate (which we all expected) and could only shake my head. I felt like I was reading the script of […]

  • The First Annual Most DisCREDITed AwardsFinancial Literacy, Blog, Personal Finance, Money


    Welcome to the first annual “Most disCredited Awards.” In a bad-economy year full of silly laws, mortgage miseries, political gaffes, Hatfield-McCoy feuding, credit downgrades, mysteriously rising prices, fee gouging of every description, and art-project political campaigns — whew(!) — I thought you might like a guide to help you to weed out the ridiculous from the truly tragic. So what follows are the awards for the worst ideas, policies and personalities of 2011. Most disCredited […]