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  • Debt collection

    Will a Debt Take Longer to Drop Off My Credit If Another Debt Collector Buys It?

    credit Personal Finance 

    When a debt goes into collections, it may change hands several times. Creditors may sell the debt or contract another agency to collect it and this could happen more than once, depending on how much time has gone by with the debt remaining unpaid. It’s important to keep track of who is managing your debt so you know who to pay back and when. (You can find tips for negotiating with a creditor here.) Having a […]

  • How the Government Is Doing a Terrible Job Protecting Your Social Security Number

    Column Data Security Blog 

    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 To

    Retirement Personal Finance 

    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 Stranger

    Consumer Protection Identity Theft 

    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 College

    Education Personal Finance 

    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 […]

  • Tax fraud

    Why the IRS Needs to Stop Letting Taxpayers Use Stolen Social Security Numbers

    Personal Finance Identity Theft 

    While you’d never know it if you listen to politicians on the right and left argue, there are some truths out there, things that don’t yield to debate. I’m talking basics, like it’s easier to walk through an open door, and the Internal Revenue Service shouldn’t be in the business of providing open doors to pervasive forms of fraud. Are you rolling your eyes? Well, it’s happening once again at everyone’s favorite punching bag, the […]

  • Data Breach

    Nearly All Data Breaches Happen in Minutes, Report Finds

    Data Security Technology 

    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 Home

    credit Personal Finance 

    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 You

    credit Personal Finance 

    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 […]

  • Ransomware Is a Real Threat (Even to You, Apple Users)

    Column Data Security 

    Maybe the thought actually occurred to you that something was “phishy” about that link, but that’s so 30 seconds ago. You clicked and now your computer screen is locked. Behind that frozen screen lie your personal files — everything from photos to tax documents — all of it encrypted by a third party that promises to return access for a ransom, which is usually between $200 and $5,000, according to the FBI. Encryption can be […]

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