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  • 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 […]

  • Data Security

    How Much Credit Monitoring Are You Entitled to After a Data Breach?

    Data Security Privacy Identity Theft 

    Given all of the big-name data breaches that have occurred during the past few years, there’s a good chance your personal or payment information has been compromised. There’s also a chance you’ve been offered some type of identity protection, usually in the form of free credit monitoring, by the company that suffered the breach. But how much (and what type of) protection are they legally required to provide? Well, chances are, the answer is zero. The […]

  • The New Black Friday: Green Monday?

    Money Technology 

    Black Friday and Cyber Monday may be the best-known days to get holiday shopping deals, but one of the biggest shopping days of the season is happening right now: Green Monday. Digital research company comScore defines Green Monday as the last Monday at least 10 days before Christmas, and last year, it was the third-biggest online shopping day of the season (after Cyber Monday and the day after Cyber Monday). What Is ‘Green Monday’? Perhaps […]

  • holiday identity theft

    Your Holiday Identity Theft Checklist

    Column Blog Identity Theft 

    The holiday season is a busy time of the year for identity theft and other kinds of identity-related fraud. Scams abound, but if you follow a few simple rules, you can sidestep some avoidable holiday blues. There is so much personally identifiable information floating around — readily available on the dark web where information black markets thrive — that it truly is a wonder more people are not becoming victims. That said, Javelin Strategy and […]

  • Credit Cards

    What’s a ‘Good’ Debt?

    Financial Literacy credit Personal Finance 

    Thanks to the economic downturn and its lingering effects, the word “debt” predominantly carries a negative connotation. But you may have heard in the midst of balancing your budget or planning for retirement, that not all financing is created equal. In fact, some debts, experts suggest, may be good for you. But what exactly does this mean? What Is Good Debt? Simply put, good debt “is any debt that offers a return on the investment,” […]

  • Mistake

    5 Credit Mistakes You’ll Regret Immediately

    credit Personal Finance 

    We all make mistakes and have regrets — those extra pieces of pie over Thanksgiving come to mind! — however, some regrets last longer than others. Credit mistakes can make you regret the error of your ways for years to come. Avoid these common credit mistakes and you’ll have one less area of regret in your life. Plus, you can start 2016 with a fresh start for your finances. 1. Opening a New Account Before Closing on Your Mortgage One […]

  • Homeowners

    Freelancers: Here’s What You Need to Know About Buying a Home

    Financial Literacy Personal Finance 

    One of the main things you need in order to qualify for a mortgage is an income to support the payments—you’ll need documents showing this income when you try to get pre-approved. But self-employed and freelance workers don’t always have that option. Without work stubs, what can they do? “In general, the qualifying criteria are the same for a self-employed borrower as it would be for a wage earner,” says Jesse Gonzalez, a mortgage broker with North Bay Capital in Santa Rosa, Calif. “The only real […]

  • The Simple Way to Keep Your Tax Refund Safe

    Column Blog 

    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 Debt

    Financial Literacy Mortgages 

    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 […]

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