When my son was 16, I made a decision that many of my friends with teenagers thought was a little "out there": I let him have his own credit card.
While you're shopping for the hottest tech and sweetest deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, fraudsters are shopping for something far more lucrative: your personal information, including your login ids and passwords for popular shopping sites, credit card details, security information, and other valuable bits of information they can use illegally.
I found out awhile ago that a favorite password had been compromised in a data breach. Yes, I'm hanging in my head in shame because I know now that I shouldn't have a favorite password. But I did, and my punishment was a few hours of my time spent changing all of my passwords to reduce the risk of being hacked in the future. (If you're wondering why it's a bad idea to reuse passwords, it's because once a hacker knows a password, they'll use it to try to break into other accounts you own.)
If you're establishing direct deposit through your employer, ordering checks, or transferring money between financial institutions, you'll be asked to provide a routing number along with your personal account number to execute the transaction.
A routing number is a 9-digit code identifying a financial institution, such as a credit union, bank, or investment firm. This number helps reduce confusion between financial institutions that may have similar names and allows money to flow between these institutions without glitches. Sometimes an institution may have more than one routing number depending on its size and the type of account (checking account vs. investment account, for example).
Active duty military and National Guard members take note: effective October 31, the three major credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — will provide you with free electronic credit monitoring services to help you spot and combat identity theft.
You're ecstatic. You've found a vintage handbag in a Facebook Marketplace listing, a bag you've been searching for for years. And it's only $250! The seller asks you to pay her through Venmo, and because you can see she's got a Facebook account with a photo and positive reviews, you figure she's legit and initiate the payment.
Then the package arrives a few days later. Not only is the bag not vintage, it's clearly a cheaply made fake that's damaged and not the bag you saw in the photo. The seller isn't answering your Facebook messages so you go to your financial institution and inquire how to get your $250 back. That's when you learn there's not much you can do about getting a charge reversed once you've paid through a peer-to-peer (P2P) payment service like Venmo. Here's why:
The voice on the other end of the line informs you they're a "security officer" at your credit union, and they want you to confirm some suspicious transactions on your account.
Sounds fishy? It's not just fishy, it's a form of vishing (or sometimes called vhishing, short for voice-based phishing) and we've been informed that fraudsters are using this phone scam to steal money from members and customers of other financial institutions. Here's how the scam plays out, what you should watch out for, and what you should do if one of these scammers gets your personal information.
This week, it was scams, scams, scams...online scams, dating scams, and phishing scams. Read on to learn how to protect yourself from crooks eager to rip you off.
If you're applying for a home equity loan or HELOC (home equity line of credit), you'll want to make sure you get approved for the maximum amount you can. That figure will hinge on the appraised value of your home. Even if your property needs a lot of work — one reason why you might be applying for a loan in the first place! — a little TLC ahead of an appraisal can ensure you're approved for the loan amount that helps you achieve your goals.
Topics: Home Equity