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


  • Un-Warrented: American Consumers Lose Their Biggest DefenderFinancial Literacy, Banking, Blog, Money

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    At long last, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau launches officially this week. Unfortunately, so far it seems that what happens on Thursday, July 21st could be more of a lurch than a launch. As has been rumored over the past few weeks, President Obama bypassed the chief architect and advocate of the Bureau, Elizabeth Warren, to be its first director. He nominated Richard Cordray, the former Attorney General of Ohio, who rose to national prominence […]

  • Child Identity Theft: The 17-10 SolutionBlog, Identity Theft

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    This week I had the opportunity to attend a fascinating forum in Washington, DC, to explore the myriad issues surrounding child identity theft, including foster care identity theft (a particularly cruel malady foisted upon children who already begin life behind the eight ball) and identity theft within families. The event was sponsored by the Federal Trade Commission and the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, and was attended […]

  • The Morgan Stanley Smith Barney Breach: Losing Client Data the Old Fashioned WayData Security, Blog, Privacy

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    A few days ago, a friend of mine received several letters dated June 24, 2011 from Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, where he has kept brokerage accounts for himself and his children for many years. It began with the now familiar, “we care about you” phrase: “At Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, client satisfaction and information security are critical priorities.” Then it segues into the sickeningly familiar, “but perhaps not enough” phrase: “We are writing to inform […]

  • The Weakest Link: Feds Fail with Cyber Security ProposalData Security, Blog

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    Last week I expressed my concern over efforts in Congress to delay, defang and ultimately defund the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. I called upon consumers to rebel against being treated as little more than pachyderm toe-jam and to send a clear message in 2012 to those in Congress who have been the spear carriers for business. My consternation over the GOP’s crusade to derail the first truly powerful and focused national consumer protection agency, however, […]

  • The Elephants in the Room: The GOP’s War on Consumer ProtectionGovernment, Consumer Protection, Blog

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    Saturday, June 25th, represents a seminal day for Bank of America credit card holders. It is Penalty Rate Increase Day. From that day forward, the penalty rate for card holders who pay their bill as little as one day late could rise to 29.99% on all future purchases. This is in addition to a late fee of up to $25 for the first time and $35 if there is a second slip within six months. […]

  • In Defense of Consumer ProtectionGovernment, Consumer Protection, Blog

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    The Minority Leader of the U.S. Senate, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) wants to prevent President Obama from appointing Elizabeth Warren, Raj Date (or frankly anyone other than the ghost of Adam Smith or Old Man Potter from “It’s a Wonderful Life”) to be the Director of the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau unless and until Democratic leaders agree to essentially defang the agency and permit Congressional oversight and authorization of its budget. He has convinced […]

  • Daddy, Make the Bad Man Go AwayGovernment, Consumer Protection, Blog, Personal Finance, Privacy

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    So, it’s 10:15 PM and your eight-year-old just woke up with a nightmare. While you’re tending to him, the phone rings and of course your 13-year-old daughter gets to it first. A minute or two later she bursts into her brother’s room crying, and blurts out to the two of you that the nasty man on the phone just told her that mommy and daddy would go to jail if they didn’t pay their old […]

  • Debt

    Play It Again, SAMGovernment, Mortgages, Blog

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    This country is in the midst of a housing crisis — a devastating housing crisis reminiscent of the 1930s — and no one, not the government, not private industry, seems to be able to fix it. Well, there is a strategy out there that has quietly been proposed that could stop the bleeding, and incredibly no one seems to be talking about it. First, let’s set the stage. Right now, there are reportedly 4.8 million […]

  • Herding Cats: Regulating Online TrackingData Security, Blog, Privacy, Technology

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    There was a time, when the World Wide Web was young, that many entrepreneurs counted on the idea they could make money the old-fashioned way–by charging cyber-customers on a per-use basis, the same way they charged traditional brick-and-mortar patrons. Most print magazines, for example, felt they could make a seamless transition from paid print subscriptions to paid Internet subscriptions. Newspapers believed that some of their traditional departments, such as classifieds, would become huge profit centers […]

  • The Michaels & Fox Data Breaches: Coincidence or Cohesion?Data Security, Blog, Privacy, Identity Theft, Technology

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    Well, two fascinating—and repellant—things happened in the last few days, which but for the broadest possible subject matter connection, would seem to be unrelated. On May 6, a group calling itself LulzSec hacked Fox Entertainment network computers and released personal information about people from the database of potential contestants for the popular Fox show “X Factor.” Five days later, the same group announced in quite caustic terms that it also had hacked Fox.com computers to […]

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