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  • 12 Resolutions That Could Save Your Identity in 2016

    Column Blog Personal Finance 

    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. 31

    Financial Literacy Lifehacking Personal Finance 

    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, […]

  • Cyber thief

    2015: The Year in Data Breaches

    Data Security 

    Every year at about this time, technology reporters typically recount the big computer crimes from the past 12 months and proclaim “The Year of the Hacker” or some such moniker. This year, it fits. Two years ago, the Target hack ushered in a new era of credit card theft awareness and ultimately helped inspire a big change in the way Americans use plastic. But as we all know, theft of credit and debit card information has a limited impact on consumers […]

  • Debt

    4 Ways to Jump-Start Your Debt Repayment Plan in 2016

    Financial Literacy Lifehacking credit 

    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 Christmas

    Column Blog Identity Theft 

    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 Homebuyers

    Financial Literacy Mortgages Personal Finance 

    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 […]

  • Credit Card

    5 Credit Card Mistakes You Repeat Every Year

    credit Personal Finance 

    The approaching new year gives us all an opportunity to remedy financial mistakes — or at the very least, learn from them. But if you find yourself repeatedly visited by the ghosts of credit cards past, there’s a good chance you don’t know exactly where you’re going wrong. To help you break the cycle in 2016, here are some common mistakes consumers repeat every year. 1. Forgetting the Basics Credit cards come equipped with a lot of bells […]

  • Tax return

    5 Tax Mistakes Newlyweds Make

    Personal Finance 

    If you said “I do,” in 2015, cut your cake and hopefully settled into marital bliss, how you file your federal income taxes is going to change in a big way. In order to avoid more than the usual headaches and frustrations that loom large around April 15, make sure you don’t do the following. 1. Trying to File as Single It might seem ridiculously obvious, but some people do get confused about this and cause […]

  • malware

    The IRS Request That Could Help Identity Thieves

    Column Blog 

    More than a year ago, Federal Trade Commission Chair Edith Ramirez asked Congress to strengthen her agency’s data security powers. “Never has the need for such legislation been greater,” she said during a hearing in early 2014. Nearly two years later, never has a statement like “never has the need been greater” remained an accurate description of a systemic failure when it comes to real advances — at both the government and enterprise level — […]

  • Scam Alert

    The Top Scams of 2015

    Consumer Protection Review 

    Scams cost consumers more than $1 million this year, according to a roundup of reports by the Better Business Bureau. Since that figure only accounts for incidents reported to the BBB, actual losses may be even greater. The good news is 85% of consumers who reported these scams realized what was going on before it was too late. Then again, the best defense against scams is to know the signs. Most scams on the BBB’s list happened over the phone and involved asking consumers to […]

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