PII at Risk Part 2: Why Your Phone Number is Valuable to Hackers

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Last time we met, I explained why your email account is valuable to hackers—what value it has and how it could be used to gain access to more of your coveted personally identifiable information (PII) than you might think.   But it’s not just your email that hackers want; they want your phone number, too. Cell phone numbers are particularly valuable, as they have become the modern-day equivalent of your wallet. Your mobile device contains valuable information like your contacts list (a great way to get a list of your friends—future identity theft targets), affinity account and reward numbers  (frequent flyer miles have value that thieves can cash in on), web history, and other equally valuable information. Using your phone number, two tactics are then commonly deployed. Let’s see … [Read more...]

Word on the Web: June 2014

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  Ah, June. Home of the summer solstice, last days of school and the beginning of summer fun. It was also a great month for summer savings tips and budget planning. We scoured our favorite personal finance blogs looking for the best blog posts of June. Here’s what we found.       10 Simple all natural bug and mosquito repellents Maybe the worst part of summer is those relentless, blood-sucking bugs. But bug repellents can get expensive, especially if you’re constantly restocking. Plus, putting all those chemicals on your skin is more than a little disconcerting. Luckily, Wisebread has you covered. Check out these 10 natural bug and mosquito repellents for a budget-friendly and pest-free summer. Payment showdown: Race to a $0 balance Managing your … [Read more...]

5 Things to Do Before You Go House Hunting

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Looking for your first home to buy is an exciting time in anybody’s life.  It’s also a very daunting process, after all this is likely to be the biggest purchasing decision you’ll make in your entire life (no pressure). Avoid the most common mistakes made by first-home buyers with these five steps.     1. Get a copy of your credit report from all three credit bureaus and check for errors You can get a free copy of your report from TransUnion, Equifax and Experian once per year for free from the government endorsed site annualcreditreport.com. Before you start looking for houses it's vital you check all three of these reports for any errors. An error on your credit report could affect your chances for being approved for a loan or the rate of interest a … [Read more...]

PII at Risk Part 1: Why Your Email Account is Valuable to Hackers

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Identity is a funny thing. I used to think I knew exactly what it was made of—Social Security number, date of birth, and first and last name. Period. But then came the Internet and the notion of identity began to change and evolve along with the latest technology. Now I’m also known by my Twitter handle, Facebook name, and even my Xbox gamertag. Increasingly, in an online world, people know not only my name, but also my email address.   The miscreants of the “dark web” (anonymous, virtually untraceable global networks used by criminals) are looking for email addresses to harvest. Why? Because they make money selling consumer’s online credentials—usernames and passwords to online accounts for companies like iTunes, Groupon, dell, overstock, Walmart, BestBuy, etc[i]. These login … [Read more...]

Review: Why “My Job Chart” Is Perfect For Your Child

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myFICO Kids – Making financial awareness, protection & health a part of the entire family.   My Job Chart, a free online website, was created by a father of six with the goal of teaching his children about money management and the meaning of good work ethic. It’s designed to build organizational and computer skills, and teach responsibility and work ethic.   My Job Chart is a great program to help parents manage household chores and reward their kids for completing them. The program is essentially a free online chore chart and reward system that ties into a built-in rewards store. This program can be accessed online or via your Android or iPhone app. Parents can stick to the old paper and pen chore chart by printing out chores, or they can let their children … [Read more...]

Cash, Credit or Bitcoin—which payment option do you choose?

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While it is unlikely your local grocery store is currently accepting payment in bitcoin, you may have heard of this new emerging form of currency and may be wondering what is it; how does it work; and should you have some bitcoin stashed in your wallet?     Bitcoin is a new form of currency created in 2009 that only exists in digital format. At its core, bitcoin functions like other payment forms—you can purchase goods online or offline using your bitcoins as long as the seller accepts that form of payment. At present, not that many entities take payment in the form of bitcoin (coinmap.org is attempting to track physical locations that accept the currency), and people are likely buying bitcoins more as an investment with hopes they’ll go up in value over … [Read more...]

The real-life effects of data breaches and identity theft

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Due to what feels like a constant flow of data breach announcements, the threat of identity theft has become common knowledge. We hear of personal information being stolen or exposed, but how that stolen information is used remains somewhat of a mystery unless you’ve actually experienced it. So let’s take a minute to imagine what it would really be like to become a victim of identity theft. Here are three scenarios.   1. Your favorite store gets hacked Hundreds of businesses are affected by data breaches every year, and these data breaches can expose your personal information. The real victim is the consumers, not the businesses themselves. Only a few weeks ago EBay suffered a data breach affecting its millions of consumers. It appears the hackers didn’t get any financial … [Read more...]

6 Tips to Cut the Cost of Your Job Search

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Are you currently on the hunt for a new job or career? If so, you're not alone. According to a survey conducted by CareerBuilder, 21% of full-time working Americans plan on changing jobs this year.   In your zest to find a new position though, it can be easy to let expenses get the better of you—and if you're unemployed, of course, conserving money is absolutely essential. Regardless of your current situation, here are six ways to cut the cost of your job search.   #1. Carefully Consider the Benefits of Headhunters Back in the day, headhunters provided invaluable services to job seekers. However, with the expansion of the Internet, you can actually do a lot of this legwork on your own now.   Of course, if you're juggling too many responsibilities to tackle a … [Read more...]

Trouble in paradise: Quarrels over credit

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Ah, summer, the season of romantic adventures and lazy mornings. It’s the perfect time to take your special someone on a romantic getaway or relax together by the pool. Sounds blissful.     Now say you’ve been with this special someone for a while now. Say the honeymoon period is over and things are starting to get a bit serious. When you used to talk about dropping everything and traveling the world together, now those hopes and dreams have taken on more than a touch of reality: buying a car, owning a home, starting a family. And you know it won’t be long before that special question arises: “What is your credit score?”     Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Financial health has always been a consideration in relationships. But in recent years, credit has … [Read more...]

3 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Credit

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Understanding your full credit picture is usually a learning process. One category of common confusion is the why, what and how surrounding your three credit reports. If you don’t understand how all three of your credit reports affect your financial health, you might be facing some surprises next time you apply for a loan. Here are three things you should know:   #1.Your credit reports are fraternal Your credit reports aren’t identical triplets. In fact, the information on each report may vary greatly. That’s because lenders aren’t required to report to all three bureaus—or any bureaus for that matter. Plus, each bureau processes data differently, so the information reported could vary. For example, a small local lender may only report the credit obligation to one of the three … [Read more...]

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