Medical Data Breaches: Why Your Doctor Might Need a Check Up

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Think about the last time you went to the doctor’s office. Did you fill out a form with your Social Security number (SSN)? Were you prescribed any medicine? Did you disclose past allergic reactions?     Now think about what an identity thief could do with that kind of information. There’s a myriad of options, which is one of the reasons why medical identity theft impacted almost half (43%) of all identity theft victims in 2013. To get your information, an identity thief might hack your doctor’s digital filing system, find records leaked on file-sharing sites by an employee, or simply steal your doctor’s laptop. No matter how the data breach occurs, you’re left cleaning up a potentially life threatening mess. Here are just three potential … [Read more...]

Word on the Web: March

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      Spring is well on its way which means it’s time to plan for summer fun. Here are our top blog picks from March that will help you budget and save for a joy-packed summer.     8 Best Mobile Coupon Apps to Save Money Shopping on Your Smartphone Drop the scissors and toss the coupons—there’s a better way to save. MoneyCrashers.com reviews the best coupon apps out there so you can take your extreme couponing into the digital age.     Save Money on a Great American Road Trip Hoping to do some travelling this summer? Instead of spending loads of cash on plane tickets, consider a road trip. Wisebread.com shows you how to get the most bang for your buck while touring the nation.     5 Tips to Save Energy (and … [Read more...]

5 Credit Spring Cleaning Tips

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After the holidays and long winter, it’s not just your house that needs a deep clean. Your credit reports, balances or savings might be looking a little dirty, too. While you’re making a checklist of things to throw out, clean or redo, we recommend adding a few credit items to the list. In the name of the season, we’ve got 5 spring cleaning tips for your credit!   1.       Check your credit reports for any errors   It’s extremely important to make sure there aren’t any errors on your credit report. An error is usually the result of a clerical typo made when processing an application, but it could also signify identity theft. Order all three of your credit reports and make sure you don’t see anything suspicious. Learn how to dispute an error on your credit reports, and … [Read more...]

Your Beginner’s Guide to Playing the Credit Card Game

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The credit card game is a little bit like a choose-your-own adventure. Do you want airline rewards? Take the path to your left. More interested in cash back? The door is behind you.  Sure you might meet some villains along the way, but there’s a treasure chest at the end.  If you act responsibly rather than impulsively, you can take advantage of some great rewards. To get you started, here’s a beginner’s play book.   Step 1: Choose your goal If you have credit card debt already, you’re best bet might be credit debt consolidation. Look for a card that has a lower interest rate than your current credit cards and that waives the balance transfer fee for the first few months. Consolidating your credit card debt can help you manage your monthly payments, save on interest rate costs … [Read more...]

5 Smart Ways to Use Your Tax Refund

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Wondering what to do with your tax refund? First of all, resist all urge to frivolously spend it on small purchases you don’t need. A Nordstrom’s shopping spree won’t help you pay off your bills or retire. And that large TV you’ve been coveting? Don’t even consider it unless you’re completely debt free. A good rule of thumb: If you couldn’t afford it before your refund, you shouldn’t be buying it now.   Instead, treat your tax refund, and any large bonus for that matter, as an investment opportunity. That doesn’t mean you can’t spend a dime. In fact many experts recommend spending a small percentage of it to help you stay motivated to save. Go for a small splurge—somewhere in between a new toothbrush and a new motorcycle. Then, do something smart with the remainder of your … [Read more...]

Paranoid, Apathetic or Empowered:
Your Smart-Consumer Action Plan

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Protecting yourself as a consumer is pragmatic, not paranoid. I by no means encourage you to obsessively guard all traces of your personal information. If you take that approach, you’ll end up a recluse with a hoarding problem. But the reality is, how we transact has changed—we’re mobile, online and nationwide. So we’ve got to change the way we protect ourselves.   National Consumer Protection Week might be coming to end, but being a smart consumer means developing lifelong habits. That’s why we’ve provided a smart-consumer action plan. Print these tips, reference them often. Eventually, these steps should become habits so that every time you purchase, share, invest, donate or borrow, you will be better protected.   Your Smart-Consumer Action Plan   1. … [Read more...]

The IRS & You: Why Your Tax Refund Needs a Body Guard

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With all the major breach announcements in the last few years, I think I can safely assume that this has become common knowledge: Identity theft is a serious threat. If you’re still skeptical, consider this: someone became an identity theft victim every two seconds last year.   With that said, identity theft is also a broad and complex crime that’s hard to defend yourself against. Thieves have dozens of ways they can steal your personal information, and countless crimes they can commit with it. Sometimes they’re after your money; sometimes they’re after your good reputation. During tax season, they’re after both.   Why Identity Thieves Like Tax Season a Lot More Than You Do   Oh tax season, that wonderful time of the year where millions of Americans gather … [Read more...]

Word on the Web: Best of February

Let's face it, financial habits make relationships complicated. Similarly, relationships make financial habits complicated. Before you find yourself in a financial feud, learn from people who have been there. In ode to the most romantic month of the year, this month’s Word on the Web is dedicated to relationships. Check out our favorite February blogs on love and money.   How Money Can Affect People and Change Their Behavior Studies suggest money can change behavior – and not always for the better. Money Crashers writer, Jaqueline Curtis, analyzes the social pitfalls of wealth and how to detect the warning signs of money-related addictions.   10 Financial Tips for Couples Marriage and long-term partnerships create a fuzzy line between mine, yours and ours—and … [Read more...]

5 Ways to Take Advantage
of America Saves Week

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What do primetime TV commercials, Pinterest and Starbucks have in common? They all entice you to spend, spend, spend. In the name of America Saves Week, the overspending stops here.   The annual event is designed to spread the word about healthy financial habits while providing tips and tools to take control of your own savings plan. You can take their savings plan assessment, download a poster to keep your goals in focus or test your savings knowledge.   If nothing else, consider this a good time to evaluate your spending habits and savings. Whether you’re starting from scratch or well on your way, we’ve got a tip for you.  Open a spreadsheet or log in to your favorite finance app, and take advantage of America Saves Week. Here are 5 ways to update to your savings … [Read more...]

Infographic: FICO High Achievers Show You How to Get Your FICO Score Above 800

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Our studies consistently show that people with FICO® Scores over 800 have strikingly similar credit habits. We like to call these people FICO High Achievers, and you can learn from all 36 million of them. Check out this infographic and compare your credit habits to theirs. How do your credit habits measure up?   … [Read more...]

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