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  • 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 […]

  • 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,” […]

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