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  • Beware: Scammers Love Valentine’s Day, Too

    Consumer Protection Identity Theft 

    Valentine’s Day can certainly be stressful. Whether you’re at a loss for what to buy your love or you’re the lamenting the lack of one, you also have to watch out for scammers this time of year. “Scammers play on emotion … and romance is certainly a strong emotion,” the Better Business Bureau said in a recent scam alert. “Any time people are vulnerable, scammers will find opportunity.” Here are a few ways to avoid […]

  • Identity Theft Is Dead. Long Live Identity Theft!

    Column Blog 

    Incidents of identity theft held fairly steady last year, according to a new report by Javelin Strategy and Research. It would seem with time-honored methods of ripping people off going the way of Bonnie and Clyde, fraudsters — ever sophisticated, creative and persistent — scrambled to find new ways to increase revenues in 2015. Of course, they did. They always do. If I could drive one point home after reading the latest Javelin report, “2016 […]

  • Credit Card

    Are Chip Cards Exposing You to a Deeper Form of Identity Theft?

    credit Identity Theft 

    U.S. consumers have finally been liberated from archaic technology that used to protect them and their credit cards from identity theft. Millions of Americans now have chip-enabled credit cards, and the results of this sweeping change are in. An estimated 13 million consumers fell victim to identity theft fraud in 2015, according to Javelin Strategy and Research’s latest annual Identity Fraud Study. That represents a small (3%) increase over the firm’s 2014 findings, but a more […]

  • Identity theft

    Identity Theft Complaints Are Up 47% in Just One Year

    Identity Theft 

    Reports of identity theft shot up in 2015, largely driven by an increase in tax- and wage-related fraud, according to the Federal Trade Commission. People made 490,220 identity theft complaints to the FTC in 2015, up from 332,647 (a 47% increase) in 2014 and 290,102 in 2013. From 2014 to 2015, there were 51% more complaints related to tax and wage identity theft, which isn’t all that surprising. All thieves need is a Social Security number […]

  • Why the IRS Should Push Tax Day to June 15

    Column Blog 

    The only way to stop tax refund fraud is to change the way the tax filing and refund system works, and while this may be a painful process for employers and taxpayers alike, it’s necessary. The Problem With Data Unless you’ve been hiding out in the Unabomber Suite at the Loon Lake Lodge, you know that data-related crimes are legion, but what you may not know is that data-related tax fraud specifically is increasing geometrically. […]

  • Empty pocket

    10 Financial Choices You’ll Regret in 10 Years

    Financial Literacy credit Personal Finance 

    Life is full of financial decisions, some simple, some complex, but all with the potential to make a real impact on your life. In a decade, your world can look quite a bit different than it is today – all because of these decisions. Today I’d like to focus on some financial choices you’re likely to regret in 10 years. I’d like to save you from the pain, the chaos and the heartache that occurs when […]

  • Hacker

    Forget Credit Cards — Hackers Want Your Uber Account

    Data Security Identity Theft Technology 

    Your Uber account is about 17 times more valuable to a hacker than your credit card credentials, according to a report security company Trend Micro compiled for CNBC. They found that stolen Uber credentials sell for an average of $3.78 per account on underground online marketplaces, while bundles of credit card data are sold for 22 cents, at most. Lots of accounts are more valuable than credit card info. PayPal accounts with a guaranteed balance […]

  • How Mega-Breaches Could Literally Kill You

    Column Blog 

    It was not very long ago that information shared with your doctor was sacrosanct, at the same remove from exposure as utterances made under the protection of an attorney-client relationship or pillow talk in a spousal bed. That may no longer be the case — and the fallout could be life-threatening. Unless you are living off the grid in a log cabin on Loon Lake, you have heard about the mega-breaches responsible for this paradigm […]

  • Homeowners

    How to Make Sure Your Taxes Are in Shape So You Can Buy a Home

    Financial Literacy Personal Finance Money 

    How’s your income? That’s the first question a lender is going to ask when you apply for a home loan. And, at some point during the application process, the lender will likely use your tax returns to validate your answer. Here is how your tax returns may play a role in your ability to obtain a mortgage. What Do Lenders Need to See? If you’re a full-time, salaried employee, paystubs and a W-2 will likely […]

  • Afraid woman

    Help! I Just Found Out I Have Bad Credit

    credit Personal Finance 

    If you’ve gone a long time without checking your credit (or if you’re checking it for the very first time), you may be in for a surprise. A whopping 56% of Americans had bad credit scores, per a survey from early 2015. Fortunately, you don’t necessarily need to panic if your score is below 600 (the generally accepted definition of subprime.) Instead, you can follow these simple steps in order to unearth what’s going on — […]

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