identity theft http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/116/all en-US How to Get a Free Fraud Alert on Your Credit Report http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-a-free-fraud-alert-on-your-credit-report <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-get-a-free-fraud-alert-on-your-credit-report" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/fraud_business_concept_for_fraud_crime.jpg" alt="Fraud Business concept for Fraud Crime" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Placing a fraud alert on your credit report makes it harder for someone to steal your identity and open credit accounts in your name. If you have a fraud alert in place, businesses must confirm with you before issuing any new credit, typically by calling you at a provided phone number.</p> <p>Unlike credit monitoring or simply watching your statements for suspicious activity, placing a fraud alert on your credit report is a preventive measure. It cuts fraudulent activity off at the pass, before it can impact your credit. Fraud alerts provide less protection than a credit freeze, which prevents anyone from seeing your credit report without your permission, but are typically more convenient; fraud alerts are free and don't have to be lifted every time you apply for new credit. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-freeze-your-credit?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Freeze Your Credit</a>)</p> <p>The credit reporting companies provide three types of fraud alerts, each with different requirements to qualify and that stay on your credit report for different durations. Here are the types of fraud alerts you can request:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Initial fraud alert (90 days).</p> </li> <li> <p>Extended fraud alert (seven years).</p> </li> <li> <p>Active duty military alert (one year).</p> </li> </ul> <p>If you get a fraud alert from one credit reporting company, this company will share the fraud alert with the other credit reporting companies. Contact one of the three credit reporting companies listed below and provide the requested information to open a fraud alert:</p> <ul> <li> <p><a href="http://www.equifax.com/CreditReportAssistance/" target="_blank">Equifax</a></p> </li> <li> <p><a href="https://www.experian.com/fraudalert" target="_blank">Experian</a></p> </li> <li> <p><a href="http://www.transunion.com/fraud" target="_blank">TransUnion</a></p> </li> </ul> <h2>How to get an initial fraud alert (90 days)</h2> <p>If you are concerned that your personal information may have been stolen, but it has not yet been used to open a fraudulent account, you can place an initial fraud alert on your credit report. Here are some circumstances where you might want to get an initial fraud alert:</p> <ul> <li> <p>You have been notified that your personal information was involved in a data breach.</p> </li> <li> <p>Your purse, wallet, or financial documents have been lost or stolen.</p> </li> </ul> <p>An initial fraud alert is the easiest type of fraud alert to get. You will be asked to provide proof of your identity, such as a copy of your driver&rsquo;s license, and a copy of a utility bill or bank account statement.</p> <p>An initial fraud alert stays on your credit report for 90 days and can be renewed for 90 days at a time. When you get an initial fraud alert, you are allowed to order one free credit report from all three credit reporting companies. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-to-do-immediately-after-a-credit-card-breach?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Here's What to Do Immediately After a Credit Card Breach</a>)</p> <h2>How to get an extended fraud alert (seven years)</h2> <p>If your personal information has been used to open a fraudulent account, you may want to file an extended fraud alert. This means that your personal information is in the hands of criminals who are using it for identity theft. Here are some situations where you may want to request an extended fraud alert:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Your credit report shows a new account that you didn&rsquo;t open.</p> </li> <li> <p>You get a statement in the mail for a credit account you don&rsquo;t recognize.</p> </li> <li> <p>You get a tax refund or tax statement that is not consistent with your tax filings.</p> </li> </ul> <p>You will again be asked to provide proof of identity and a copy of a utility bill or bank statement, plus a police report or other identity theft report that provides specific details about how your identity was misused. Having your personal information exposed in a data breach is not sufficient to get an extended fraud alert. You need to show that someone has used your personal information for fraudulent purposes.</p> <p>An extended fraud alert stays on your credit report for seven years and you are allowed to order two free credit reports from all three credit reporting companies in the first year. In addition, your name is removed from prescreened credit card offers for five years. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-signs-your-identity-was-stolen?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Signs Your Identity Was Stolen</a>)</p> <h2>How to get an active duty military alert (one year)</h2> <p>If you are serving in the military and will be deployed, you can request an active duty military alert on your credit report. This alert makes it harder for identity thieves to open fraudulent accounts during a deployment when identity theft may go unnoticed for a long time. You will be asked to provide proof of your identity when requesting an active duty military alert.</p> <p>Active duty military alerts stay on your credit report for one year, and can be renewed if the period of deployment is longer. An active duty military alert also takes your name off the list for prescreened credit card offers for two years to provide further protection against identity theft.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-get-a-free-fraud-alert-on-your-credit-report&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Get%2520a%2520Free%2520Fraud%2520Alert%2520on%2520Your%2520Credit%2520Report.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Get%20a%20Free%20Fraud%20Alert%20on%20Your%20Credit%20Report"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Get%20a%20Free%20Fraud%20Alert%20on%20Your%20Credit%20Report.jpg" alt="How to Get a Free Fraud Alert on Your Credit Report" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-a-free-fraud-alert-on-your-credit-report">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-freeze-your-credit">How to Freeze Your Credit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-you-must-freeze-your-credit-report">5 Times You Must Freeze Your Credit Report</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-easy-ways-to-manage-your-finances-before-during-and-after-a-military-deployment">12 Easy Ways to Manage Your Finances Before, During, and After a Military Deployment</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-moves-you-can-make-while-stuck-in-an-endless-tsa-line">6 Money Moves You Can Make While Stuck in an Endless TSA Line</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-keep-your-private-info-private">10 Ways to Keep Your Private Info Private</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance credit report data breach deployment fraud alert identity theft military prevention security Wed, 28 Feb 2018 09:31:08 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 2110133 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Tax Scams You Should Know About for 2018 http://www.wisebread.com/5-tax-scams-you-should-know-about-for-2018 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-tax-scams-you-should-know-about-for-2018" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/worried_unhappy_man_talking_texting_on_phone_displeased.jpg" alt="Worried unhappy man talking texting on phone displeased" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p style="text-align: center;">Tax season is underway. While no one really enjoys doing their taxes, everyone looks forward to getting a tax refund. It's no wonder why. According to the IRS, over 80 percent of tax returns resulted in a refund for tax year 2015. And the average refund was a whopping $3,120.</p> <p>However, all that money makes tax season one of the busiest times of the year for scam artists. Each year, criminals target taxpayers to steal their personal information or their tax refunds.</p> <p>Most scammers prey on vulnerable populations, such as the elderly or first-time tax filers, but anyone can be at risk. These are the top tax scams you should be aware of in 2018. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-these-6-phony-irs-calls-and-emails?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Beware These 6 Phony IRS Calls and Emails</a>)</p> <h2>1. Threatening phone calls</h2> <p>A common tax scam involves aggressive phone calls. You'll receive a call &mdash; sometimes from a number that shows up on caller ID as from a Washington D.C. area code&mdash; and the person on the line will claim to be a representative of the IRS.</p> <p>They can be very convincing. They may know your full name, your mother's maiden name, and even the last few digits of your Social Security Number.</p> <p>That person will say you're behind on your taxes or filed a fraudulent return. They may threaten you with immediate arrest, going so far as to say police are on their way to your home. They'll say the only way to avoid jail is by making an immediate payment with a credit card over the phone.</p> <p>Know that the IRS does not communicate over the phone and does not threaten taxpayers with jail time. If there is a problem with your return, or if you do owe money, you will receive a notification in the mail. If you receive these calls, hang up right away.</p> <h2>2. Information phishing</h2> <p>Similarly, you may receive calls or emails from so-called IRS representatives or tax preparation software companies. They may claim that there's a problem with your return or refund and that they need to verify your information to fix the issue. They'll ask for personal information like your Social Security number, birth date, and place of employment. Then, they use that information to file a fraudulent return in your name to claim your refund.</p> <p>Remember, the IRS will only send you information through the mail. If you're unsure if an email is real, open up a new browser window and log into your account that way, or look up your tax preparer's phone number and call that person directly.</p> <h2>3. Requests for gift card payments</h2> <p>Another scam involves a call from an IRS impostor who claims that your return notification letter was returned as undeliverable. That person will tell you your bill is overdue and that you must make a payment immediately.</p> <p>Instead of asking for your credit card or personal information, they'll ask you to send them a prepaid gift card or debit card. Know that the IRS does not accept payments in this format.</p> <h2>4. Identity theft</h2> <p>Identity theft is a serious issue. You may think that canceling and replacing your credit cards is all you need to do, but the problem can be much more involved than you think. Thieves can use your personal information to submit a fraudulent tax return and collect your refund.</p> <p>If you went through any form of identity theft, or if your personal information was stolen, it's a good idea to place a fraud alert on your credit reports and notify the IRS. If you suspect tax-related identity theft &mdash; for example, when you try to file your return you get a notice that your return has already been filed &mdash; you'll need to fill out IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit, and follow the mailing instructions on the form.</p> <p>Moreover, it's a good idea to complete and submit your tax return as soon as possible to ensure thieves cannot submit a return in your name. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-you-should-file-your-taxes-as-soon-as-possible?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Reasons You Should File Your Taxes as Soon as Possible</a>)</p> <h2>5. Tax preparer fraud</h2> <p>Fraudulent tax prep &quot;professionals&quot; often advertise their ability to get you the largest refund possible. They do this by falsifying information on your return, such as adding nonexistent dependents, claiming credits or deductions you don't qualify for, and reporting incorrect income. They'll also typically base their rates off a percentage of your refund.</p> <p>The IRS encourages you to ask your tax preparer questions about anything suspicious or confusing, and to look into their credentials and certifications before agreeing to hand over your return. All legitimate tax preparers should have a PTIN (preparer tax identification number).</p> <p>It's important to carefully vet your tax professional and to closely look over any forms before signing. Regardless of whether you've been scammed or not, <em>you</em> will still be on the hook for any fraudulent information reported on your return.</p> <h2>Verifying any IRS activity</h2> <p>Some scam artists can be very convincing. If you're not sure whether it's a con or not, hang up or close your email. Call the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040. You'll be connected with a real representative who can review your account and let you know if there's anything they need from you. They can also help you report any fraudulent activity or scams.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-tax-scams-you-should-know-about-for-2018&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Tax%2520Scams%2520You%2520Should%2520Know%2520About%2520for%25202018.jpg&amp;description=5%20Tax%20Scams%20You%20Should%20Know%20About%20for%202018"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Tax%20Scams%20You%20Should%20Know%20About%20for%202018.jpg" alt="5 Tax Scams You Should Know About for 2018" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kat-tretina">Kat Tretina</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tax-scams-you-should-know-about-for-2018">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-these-6-phony-irs-calls-and-emails">Beware These 6 Phony IRS Calls and Emails</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-keep-your-private-info-private">10 Ways to Keep Your Private Info Private</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-elderly-loved-ones-from-financial-scams">How to Protect Elderly Loved Ones From Financial Scams</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-you-should-file-your-taxes-as-soon-as-possible">8 Reasons You Should File Your Taxes as Soon as Possible</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-your-retirement-account-from-a-hack">How to Protect Your Retirement Account From a Hack</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Taxes con artists emails fraud gift cards identity theft IRS phishing phone calls scams tax refunds tax returns tax scams Tue, 30 Jan 2018 09:00:05 +0000 Kat Tretina 2095898 at http://www.wisebread.com Your Travel Rewards Points Were Stolen. Now What? http://www.wisebread.com/your-travel-rewards-points-were-stolen-now-what <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/your-travel-rewards-points-were-stolen-now-what" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_sitting_in_front_of_working_computer.jpg" alt="Woman sitting in front of working computer" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A few years ago, I logged on to the website of an airline mileage program to book a flight, only to find that my miles were gone. I called the airline in a panic, and was told that another customer must have given my frequent flyer number by mistake when booking their flight. The miles were soon restored to my account. No harm was done &mdash; except to my confidence in the system.</p> <p>In a time when two-factor authentication and complex passwords are required to conduct so many transactions, it's unusual that many airlines and points programs still allow you to book with rewards simply by giving your membership number over the phone. Booking online does require passwords, but with so many large-scale data breaches happening recently, many of our passwords have been compromised.</p> <p>So it's no big shock that cybercriminals have been monetizing stolen rewards points on the dark web by selling discounted trips, paid for with stolen points. In fact, some have even been so brazen as to set up travel agencies and travel portals, complete with photos from happy customers, security firm Flashpoint reports.</p> <p>Here's how you can protect your hard-earned points from sticky fingers.</p> <h2>Exercise &quot;password hygiene&quot;</h2> <p>If you haven't changed all your passwords recently &mdash; especially since Yahoo recently disclosed that <em>all 3 billion</em> of its accounts were hacked in 2013 &mdash; do it now. Make your new password longer and more complex. If you're not good at thinking up hard passwords, try a password generator like the one offered by <a href="https://lastpass.com/generatepassword.php" target="_blank">LastPass</a>. And keep updating your passwords about twice a year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-making-these-8-risky-password-mistakes?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Stop Making These 8 Risky Password Mistakes</a>)</p> <h2>Monitor your mileage accounts</h2> <p>I use <a href="https://awardwallet.com/account/list" target="_blank">AwardWallet</a> to keep track of how many miles I have in the dozen or so points accounts that I maintain for my family. Not only can I glance over all the accounts on the software's dashboard, but it actually sends me an alert when my totals change. So if a hacker used my frequent flyer miles to book a flight, I'd get an alert right away. There are other points tracking tools available as well. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-best-tools-for-tracking-your-rewards-miles?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Best Tools for Tracking Your Rewards Miles</a>)</p> <h2>Guard those account numbers</h2> <p>Most credit card companies have stopped printing your card number on every bill, but awards programs haven't gotten so guarded yet. I receive junk mail with my frequent flyer number on it, which is bad because mailbox theft is a common criminal tactic. You can ask your points programs to stop sending you junk mail, and you can also consider getting a locking mailbox to prevent this and other forms of identity fraud. Treat those numbers like the sensitive private information they are. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-surprising-ways-your-identity-can-be-stolen?ref=seealso" target="_blank">18 Surprising Ways Your Identity Can Be Stolen</a>)</p> <h2>Don't log onto your points account on a public Wi-Fi connection</h2> <p>Most of us know not to use online banking while sitting in the airport, but we might not think twice about checking our mileage totals. Don't do it. Criminals can set up Wi-Fi connections that scrape users' data while they log in. Doing this at airports and hotels makes a lot of sense from the thief's point of view &mdash; if you want to find customers with a lot of miles, try the airport. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-sneaky-ways-identity-thieves-can-access-your-data?ref=seealso" target="_blank">3 Sneaky Ways Identity Thieves Can Access Your Data</a>)</p> <h2>Beware of shifty agents and brokers</h2> <p>There are &quot;mileage brokers&quot; out there who have accrued large mileage totals, and who offer to book you discount flights which they will pay for with miles. Don't bite, because you have no way of knowing whether the miles they are using were acquired legally or stolen. As a personal rule, I wouldn't give my mileage or points account numbers to anyone I wouldn't hand my credit card to.</p> <h2>Contact the program immediately if you suspect a problem</h2> <p>If you aren't able to log onto your account, you might have just forgotten your password &mdash; or someone might have changed it. If you notice an unexplained password problem or any other mysterious activity, change your password immediately, and call the security team for your points program.</p> <p>They should be able to investigate whether there's been a breach, and they may be able to add extra security to your account, such as requiring a password for any reservation change, or adding two-factor authentication for logging in. As with all forms of identity theft, being proactive helps nip problems in the bud. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-panic-do-this-if-your-identity-gets-stolen?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Don't Panic: Do This If Your Identity Gets Stolen</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fyour-travel-rewards-points-were-stolen-now-what&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FYour%2520Travel%2520Rewards%2520Points%2520Were%2520Stolen.%2520Now%2520What_.jpg&amp;description=Your%20Travel%20Rewards%20Points%20Were%20Stolen.%20Now%20What%3F"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Your%20Travel%20Rewards%20Points%20Were%20Stolen.%20Now%20What_.jpg" alt="Your Travel Rewards Points Were Stolen. Now What?" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-travel-rewards-points-were-stolen-now-what">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-your-credit-after-the-equifax-breach">How to Protect Your Credit After the Equifax Breach</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-your-retirement-account-from-a-hack">How to Protect Your Retirement Account From a Hack</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-your-child-from-identity-theft">How to Protect Your Child From Identity Theft</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-elderly-loved-ones-from-financial-scams">How to Protect Elderly Loved Ones From Financial Scams</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-freeze-your-credit">How to Freeze Your Credit</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Travel fraud hacked identity theft miles passwords secure connections security breach travel rewards Fri, 12 Jan 2018 10:00:06 +0000 Carrie Kirby 2083333 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Win a Fraud Dispute With Your Credit Card Company http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-win-a-fraud-dispute-with-your-credit-card-company <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-win-a-fraud-dispute-with-your-credit-card-company" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/entrepreneur_calling_customer_support_to_solve_a_problem.jpg" alt="Entrepreneur calling customer support to solve a problem" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Credit cards are one of the most secure methods of payment, but they're not perfect. In fact, your cards are a huge target for hackers and other criminals who try to steal your account information to make fraudulent charges.</p> <p>Thankfully, you are protected by the Fair Credit Billing Act, which allows you to dispute a charge on your credit card and temporarily withhold payment on that charge while the card issuer investigates. During that time, the issuer can't legally charge you interest on that charge or report your payment as late to the credit bureaus. (You do, however, still have to pay for all undisputed charges on your bill by the due date.)</p> <p>If a stranger uses your card fraudulently, this law limits your liability to $50, and if the thief uses your card online or over the phone, you aren't liable for anything. In any case, all of the major payment networks offer a zero liability guarantee, meaning you likely won't be responsible for even $50. To enjoy the protection of this powerful law, however, you have to identify fraudulent charges and dispute them with your card issuers.</p> <h2>Identifying fraudulent charges</h2> <p>These days, your card issuer often spots fraudulent charges before the cardholder does. When that happens, they'll usually call you to alert you, and issue a new card immediately while closing the old account to prevent any further fraudulent charges.</p> <p>However, sometimes the card company doesn't catch a fraudulent charge. That's why it's important that you scrutinize every transaction on your credit card statement each month. Sometimes a fraudster may charge small amounts &mdash; maybe a few cents &mdash; to test out whether they can use your account for larger transactions. Beware of charges that are less than a few dollars.</p> <p>Unfortunately, your statement will not offer you much detail about a charge other than the date, the merchant name, and the amount. To make matters worse, some charges may appear with a merchant name that differs from the name of the company that's advertised.</p> <p>When you see an unfamiliar charge on your account, first spend a moment researching the name of the merchant. A quick internet search may reveal that it wasn't a fraudulent charge, it was just processed under a merchant name that's different from the one you remember doing business with.</p> <p>Also check to see that the charge isn't something you inadvertently authorized &mdash; maybe you signed up for a free trial subscription and forgot to cancel it before it automatically turned into a paid service. If the merchant's terms and conditions spell out that this was going to happen, you'll have to take it up with the merchant. It's not considered fraud by the card companies.</p> <p>Finally, a charge is not considered fraudulent if it benefits you. For instance, if your spouse used your card without your knowledge to pay the phone bill or to buy groceries for you both, that's not considered fraud.</p> <h2>How to dispute a fraudulent charge</h2> <p>Once you've done a little bit of investigation and concluded that a charge is likely to be fraudulent, your next step is to notify your card issuer. One way is to call the number on the back of your card and ask to speak to the fraud department. Keep notes about when you called, who you spoke to, and what was discussed.</p> <p>Many credit card issuers also provide a way to dispute a fraudulent charge online. In that case, you should take a screenshot of your confirmation page or print it.</p> <p>Once you've disputed the charge, your card issuer will likely give you a temporary credit that will become permanent if the fraud team's investigation confirms that fraud has occurred. You'll also usually be sent a new credit card and have the old one closed.</p> <h2>Winning the dispute</h2> <p>Just because you've received a temporary credit to your account, it doesn't guarantee that you will eventually win the dispute. As part of its investigation, the credit card company will contact both you and the merchant to ask for both sides of the story. For example, if you claim a charge was unauthorized, the merchant could respond with a signed receipt showing your authorization, or a recording of a telephone call where you approved the charge. And if you claim that you never received the goods you ordered, the merchant could offer a tracking number that proves delivery.</p> <p>When a merchant is actively fighting your dispute, you must provide proof supporting your claim. If you are claiming a charge was never authorized, the burden of proof is on the merchant to show that you gave it permission to charge your credit card.</p> <h2>Preventing fraud in the future</h2> <p>If you found an unauthorized charge from a company that you've never done business with, then it's likely that your account information has been compromised in some way. The best way to prevent further unauthorized charges is to report your card as stolen and have it replaced. There is no charge to cardholders to take this step.</p> <p>You will also want to monitor your credit to spot other possible fraudulent charges. Regularly viewing your credit score for significant changes is one way to spot potential problems early. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-that-offer-free-credit-scores?ref=internal" target="_blank">Credit cards that offer free credit scores</a> make it easy to stay on top of changes.</p> <p>You can also request <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-a-truly-free-credit-report?ref=internal" target="_blank">free copies of your credit reports</a> from the three major consumer credit bureaus through AnnualCreditReport.com. Finally, you can request a credit freeze from the major consumer credit bureaus that will prevent anyone from opening a new account in your name. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-your-credit-after-the-equifax-breach?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Protect Your Credit After the Equifax Breach</a>)</p> <p>The good news is, credit cards come with robust legal protections against fraudulent charges and other billing errors. But you must do your part to use this law. By identifying and reporting fraudulent charges, and providing documentation supporting your claims, you can win credit card disputes.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-win-a-fraud-dispute-with-your-credit-card-company&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Win%2520a%2520Fraud%2520Dispute%2520With%2520Your%2520Credit%2520Card%2520Company.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Win%20a%20Fraud%20Dispute%20With%20Your%20Credit%20Card%20Company"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Win%20a%20Fraud%20Dispute%20With%20Your%20Credit%20Card%20Company.jpg" alt="How to Win a Fraud Dispute With Your Credit Card Company" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-win-a-fraud-dispute-with-your-credit-card-company">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-credit-is-safer-than-debit">4 Reasons Credit Is Safer Than Debit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-a-list-and-check-it-twice-to-save-money-and-reduce-fraud-risk-during-the-holidays">Make a List and Check It Twice to Save Money and Reduce Fraud Risk During the Holidays</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-credit-monitoring-ever-worth-it">Is Credit Monitoring Ever Worth It?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-card-fraud-and-how-to-avoid-it">Credit Card Fraud and How to Avoid It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-calculate-the-value-of-your-credit-card-rewards">How to Calculate the Value of Your Credit Card Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards account hacked account protection credit card dispute credit card fraud credit card tips fraud identity theft privacy Wed, 10 Jan 2018 09:30:10 +0000 Jason Steele 2085317 at http://www.wisebread.com Make a List and Check It Twice to Save Money and Reduce Fraud Risk During the Holidays http://www.wisebread.com/make-a-list-and-check-it-twice-to-save-money-and-reduce-fraud-risk-during-the-holidays <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/make-a-list-and-check-it-twice-to-save-money-and-reduce-fraud-risk-during-the-holidays" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/santa_credit_card_186577833.jpg" alt="Santa shopping with a credit card" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The holiday season is the most wonderful time of year, but it's also the most expensive, and when it comes to identity theft and credit fraud, potentially the riskiest season.</p> <p>More than half of consumers report they are stressed about their finances during the holidays, according to a <a href="https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/holiday-extras/" target="_blank">survey by Experian</a>. Forty-three percent of respondents said the extra expense caused them to enjoy the holidays less.</p> <p>And while everyone is shopping, identity thieves are hard at work. Shoulder surfing at the checkout counter, credit card skimming, and online shopping scams all increase the risk of fraud during the holiday season.</p> <p>So, how do you save money and protect against identity theft during the holidays? The answer is simple: Be like Santa Claus.</p> <p>Many parents and grandparents like me have gotten to know the jolly old elf very well over the years. In fact, I've come to know him so well that I've begun to take on a more than passing resemblance. There's not much I can do about the increasingly white beard, but the bowl full of jelly needs work! Fortunately, it's not the short, round physical attributes that we should emulate. Instead, we should make full use of Santa's best productivity secret: the list.</p> <h2>Create a holiday list and stick to it</h2> <p>Take Santa's advice: make a list and check it twice. Santa does it to know who's been naughty and nice. We should do the same to protect ourselves from the naughty and spend responsibly for the nice. Not quite as catchy, but you get the point. At a minimum, your list should include:</p> <ul> <li>Who is receiving the gift.</li> <li>What you're buying for each person.</li> <li>Where you are buying each item &mdash; online or in a brick and mortar store.</li> <li>How much you will spend per person.</li> </ul> <p>A list will help prevent impulse buying, which is key to saving money during the holidays. Thirty-one percent of the people responding to the Experian survey said they have gone into debt because of unexpected holiday spending.</p> <p>Don't be afraid to reevaluate. You might have to check some off the list, or reduce the amount you'll spend &mdash; especially if you have a big family where you must give a gift to each person.</p> <p>Instead of giving to everyone, you might trim your list by suggesting a secret Santa gift exchange for the adults or older children. It's fun, saves you money, and has Santa's stamp of approval.</p> <p>Another possibility is buying just one gift or a couple of items that your family might enjoy together. Often, those gifts have a more meaningful impact and save you time and money.</p> <p>While it might be hard, you might also consider crossing a few folks off the gift list and just send them holiday cards or e-cards.</p> <h2>Other ways your list can help you save money</h2> <p>A list can also guide decisions about whether to apply for store credit to save additional dollars. Consider applying at a store where you will make multiple purchases, or where you will buy a high-priced item.</p> <p>It is not a good idea to apply at every checkout counter you visit, but taking advantage of new account discounts at a store or two during the holidays can be a great decision, as long as you stick to your budget.</p> <h2>Your list can help protect you from identity theft, too</h2> <p>Knowing what you bought, where, and for how much can also help protect you from identity theft, or at the very least discover and respond to it more quickly. Sticking to your list can help you in several ways:</p> <ul> <li>You limit exposure of your personal and financial information. Unplanned spending can result in swiping your card or applying for credit in more places and with no record to track.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You will have a complete record of your purchases and any new applications for credit. Comparing your billing statements to your list can help you identify incorrect charges or potentially fraudulent activity quickly.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You will be able to instantly identify new accounts that aren't yours when the January billing statements arrive. Early recognition of fraud helps stop the crime and speeds recovery if you do become the victim of credit fraud.</li> </ul> <p>Santa understands that preparation is the key to holiday gift giving. While we don't have a workshop full of elves, we do have pen and paper (or a smartphone and a notes app). Make a list, check it while you shop, and you'll have a less expensive, happier holiday season that will carry over into the new year even after the January bills arrive.</p> <p>While Christmas elves quickly wrap up gifts, so is the end of the year. Despite the new year approaching, Experian continues to guide you through all your financial paths, including the holiday season. Whether it's credit concerns, <a href="https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/its-the-most-wonderful-time-of-the-year-for-criminals-cheats-and-scammers/" target="_blank">protecting your identity</a>, managing your budget, etc. &mdash; we are here to bring clarity to your questions.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fmake-a-list-and-check-it-twice-to-save-money-and-reduce-fraud-risk-during-the-holidays&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FMake%2520a%2520List%2520and%2520Check%2520It%2520Twice%2520to%2520Save%2520Money%2520and%2520Reduce%2520Fraud%2520Risk%2520During%2520the%2520Holidays.jpg&amp;description=Make%20a%20List%20and%20Check%20It%20Twice%20to%20Save%20Money%20and%20Reduce%20Fraud%20Risk%20During%20the%20Holidays"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Make%20a%20List%20and%20Check%20It%20Twice%20to%20Save%20Money%20and%20Reduce%20Fraud%20Risk%20During%20the%20Holidays.jpg" alt="Make a List and Check It Twice to Save Money and Reduce Fraud Risk During the Holidays" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rod-griffin">Rod Griffin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-a-list-and-check-it-twice-to-save-money-and-reduce-fraud-risk-during-the-holidays">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-for-the-holidays">Best Credit Cards for the Holidays</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-win-a-fraud-dispute-with-your-credit-card-company">How to Win a Fraud Dispute With Your Credit Card Company</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-credit-is-safer-than-debit">4 Reasons Credit Is Safer Than Debit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-5-cash-back-on-holiday-purchases">How to Get 5% Cash Back on Holiday Purchases</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-use-miles-and-points-for-holiday-gifts">9 Ways to Use Miles and Points for Holiday Gifts</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Shopping fraud holiday shopping holiday shopping tips identity theft santa santa claus Tue, 19 Dec 2017 10:00:06 +0000 Rod Griffin 2074531 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Freeze Your Credit http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-freeze-your-credit <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-freeze-your-credit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/credit_card_data_security.jpg" alt="Credit card data security" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Cybersecurity experts called it a wake-up call: In September 2017, national credit bureau Equifax suffered a massive data breach that exposed the personal information of over 145 million customers. The breach was a startling reminder that your personal information might not be as secure as you would like to believe. It also woke many consumers up to the concept of freezing their credit.</p> <p>Here's a quick guide on how credit freezes work, how you can apply one yourself, and what you have to do to thaw your credit freeze. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-your-credit-after-the-equifax-breach?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Protect Your Credit After the Equifax Breach</a>)</p> <h2>What a credit freeze does</h2> <p>A credit freeze prevents lenders or financial institutions from accessing your credit report. It can also stop an identity thief from opening an account or getting credit in your name, even if they have accessed your personal information through a security breach like the one that hit Equifax in September.</p> <p>Even if Equifax reports that you weren&rsquo;t impacted by the breach (which you can check at <a href="https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/" target="_blank">EquifaxSeurity2017</a>), you might still consider a credit freeze. Doing this stops any of your personal and financial information from being reported to lenders and creditors. This is important; if a thief tries to use this information to apply for a new credit card or loan in your name, the application would automatically be rejected. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-you-must-freeze-your-credit-report?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Times You Must Freeze Your Credit Report</a>)</p> <h2>How to apply a freeze</h2> <p>Even though Equifax suffered the breach, freezing your credit with Equifax alone is not enough. To completely protect your personal information, you must freeze your credit with all three national credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.</p> <p>The quickest way to do this is by logging onto the security freeze pages maintained by each bureau:</p> <ul> <li> <p><a href="https://freeze.transunion.com/sf/securityFreeze/landingPage.jsp" target="_blank">TransUnion</a></p> </li> <li> <p><a href="https://www.freeze.equifax.com/Freeze/jsp/SFF_PersonalIDInfo.jsp" target="_blank">Equifax</a></p> </li> <li> <p><a href="https://www.experian.com/ncaconline/freeze" target="_blank">Experian</a></p> </li> </ul> <p>You can also call each of the bureaus by phone to request a credit freeze. You can reach Equifax at 1-800-685-1111, TransUnion at 1-888-909-8872, and Experian at 1-888-397-3742.</p> <h2>What you need for a freeze</h2> <p>First, you'll usually have to pay to file a credit freeze. That fee varies depending on where you live. Fees typically range from $3 to $10, but in many states, this fee is waived if you can prove with an investigative or incident report that you already have been the victim of identity theft.</p> <p>Depending on where you live, you'll have to provide a list of documents that the credit bureaus can use to verify your identity. For instance, in California, you must provide your full name, including your middle initial and any suffixes such as &quot;junior&quot; or &quot;senior.&quot; You must also provide your Social Security number; complete addresses for the last two years; birth date; copy of a government-issued ID card such as a driver's license or state ID card; and one copy of a utility bill, bank statement, insurance statement, or other form of proof of identity.</p> <p>The credit bureaus will send you a letter confirming that your freeze is in place. It will remain in place until you ask to remove it.</p> <h2>Unfreezing</h2> <p>You probably don&rsquo;t want your credit freeze to remain in place forever. If you need to apply for a mortgage or auto loan, for instance, you&rsquo;ll want lenders to be able to access your credit. Fortunately, each credit bureau will send you your own personal identification number &mdash; or PIN &mdash; that you can use to unfreeze and refreeze your credit.</p> <p>If you are applying for a car loan, for instance, you can use your three PINs to temporarily unfreeze your credit. Your auto lender can then check your credit. Once your loan is granted, you can refreeze your credit with your PIN.</p> <p>Unfreezing your credit can range from free to $12. You can unfreeze your credit for one specific creditor or for a set period of time.</p> <p>Your credit freeze will remain in effect in most states until you request its removal. But in the states of Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and South Dakota, credit freezes are automatically removed after seven years. You can freeze your credit longer in these states, but you&rsquo;ll have to remember to renew the freeze on your own.</p> <h2>The fraud alert alternative</h2> <p>A credit freeze is labor-intensive. It can also slow your ability to qualify for new loans or credit cards. As an alternative, you could consider signing up for fraud alerts from all three bureaus.</p> <p>In a fraud alert, a credit-reporting agency will put a warning on your credit reports. This tells lenders that they need to carefully verify the identity of anyone trying to open an account in a consumer&rsquo;s name. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-signs-your-identity-was-stolen?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Signs Your Identity Was Stolen</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-freeze-your-credit&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Freeze%2520Your%2520Credit.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Freeze%20Your%20Credit"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Freeze%20Your%20Credit.jpg" alt="How to Freeze Your Credit" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-freeze-your-credit">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-your-credit-after-the-equifax-breach">How to Protect Your Credit After the Equifax Breach</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/once-bitten-twice-shy-what-is-credit-security-worth-to-you">Once Bitten Twice Shy: What is Credit Security Worth to You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-signs-your-identity-was-stolen">9 Signs Your Identity Was Stolen</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-you-must-freeze-your-credit-report">5 Times You Must Freeze Your Credit Report</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-apps-that-monitor-your-credit-for-you">7 Apps That Monitor Your Credit for You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance breach credit freeze credit report Equifax Experian fraud identity theft security TransUnion Fri, 15 Dec 2017 09:00:07 +0000 Dan Rafter 2071390 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Protect Your Retirement Account From a Hack http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-your-retirement-account-from-a-hack <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-protect-your-retirement-account-from-a-hack" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young_man_using_a_laptop.jpg" alt="Young man using a laptop" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Unlike your bank accounts that are protected by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation for losses up to $250,000, there is no such universal protection for your retirement funds. If you get hacked, thieves can gain access to your retirement account and transfer funds into their own pockets.</p> <p>What would happen if your investment account was hacked and funds were stolen? Many brokerages have customer protection guarantees in case of unauthorized account activity, but customers are responsible for taking certain action before and after the hack to qualify for reimbursement of stolen funds.</p> <p>Investment brokerage policies vary on the subject of restoring losses from unauthorized activities. In general, customers are responsible for promptly detecting and notifying the brokerage of unauthorized activity, and for showing that the security lapse was not their fault.</p> <p>Here are steps you can take to protect your retirement account.</p> <h2>Monitor investment accounts</h2> <p>Unlike a checking account or credit card account that is typically monitored fairly closely, a transfer from an investment account can easily go unnoticed for months until a quarterly statement. The first step in getting funds restored to your retirement account after a hack is to notify the brokerage that unauthorized activity has occurred.</p> <p>Instead of waiting for a quarterly account statement in the mail, you can access your account electronically to check for unexpected activity. Some brokers allow you to set up alerts and receive notifications by email if a transaction has processed.</p> <h2>Protect account access credentials</h2> <p>There are several important security measures you can take to prevent a thief from accessing your retirement account.</p> <h3>1. Set up two-step verification</h3> <p>An easy way to boost the security of your access credentials is to sign up for two-step verification with your brokerage. This means that in addition to your password, you&rsquo;ll need a one-time numeric code that is sent to you via text message or email when you try to log in. This adds a layer of security; simply having your login and password is not enough for a thief to gain access to your account.</p> <h3>2. Beware of phishing scams</h3> <p>Criminals often send out emails that appear to be legitimate asking for login information. They may also try to trick you into clicking on a link that leads to a fake website designed to capture your username and password when you try to log in. Some internet security products verify that websites are authentic and post a warning when you try to access unconfirmed sites, in order to provide protection from phishing. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-phishing-scams?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Avoid Phishing Scams</a>)</p> <h3>3. Don't sign in on a public Wi-Fi connection</h3> <p>Avoid using public computers to access your retirement account, and avoid logging in over an unsecured Wi-Fi connection. You should also avoid reusing the same password for multiple accounts.</p> <h3>4. Don't share your login with anyone</h3> <p>Think twice before sharing your access credentials with others, even companies such as Mint or Personal Capital that use your login to help monitor your account. If a company that has your login information gets hacked, and your access credentials are stolen and used to drain your account, this loss may <em>not</em> be covered by the recovery policy of your broker. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-making-these-8-risky-password-mistakes?Ref=seealso" target="_blank">Stop Making These 8 Risky Password Mistakes</a>)</p> <h2>Secure your computer</h2> <p>Hackers can steal retirement account access credentials directly from your computer. Install anti-virus and anti-malware software, including a firewall, to prevent thieves from breaking in. Use a login for your computer to keep others from accessing your files. After a hack, investigators from the brokerage may want to examine your computer to see that you were using reasonable security features when determining whether you were at fault for the hack.</p> <h2>Policies of major brokers for hacked accounts</h2> <p>Account restoration policies in response to unauthorized activity vary by broker. Following are links to policies at major firms so you can check to see what is required to get retirement funds restored after a hack.</p> <ul> <li> <p><a href="https://www.fidelity.com/security/customer-protection-guarantee" target="_blank">Fidelity</a></p> </li> <li> <p><a href="http://www.schwab.com/public/schwab/nn/legal_compliance/schwabsafe/security_guarantee.html" target="_blank">Charles Schwab</a></p> </li> <li> <p><a href="https://www.scottrade.com/documents/pdf/osc.pdf" target="_blank">Scottrade</a></p> </li> <li> <p><a href="https://personal.vanguard.com/us/help/SecurityOnlineFraudPledgeContent.jsp" target="_blank">Vanguard</a></p> </li> <li> <p><a href="https://us.etrade.com/e/t/home/securityguarantee" target="_blank">E*trade</a></p> </li> <li> <p><a href="https://www.tdameritrade.com/security/asset-protection-guarantee.page" target="_blank">TD Ameritrade</a></p> </li> </ul> <p>In general, you are responsible for monitoring and protecting your own retirement account by keeping your password secure and taking reasonable security precautions on your computer or other devices. If the hack and resulting loss occurs due to breach of the brokerage's computer system, you'll likely get your funds restored based on the policies of most brokerages.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-protect-your-retirement-account-from-a-hack&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Protect%2520Your%2520Retirement%2520Account%2520From%2520a%2520Hack.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Protect%20Your%20Retirement%20Account%20From%20a%20Hack"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Protect%20Your%20Retirement%20Account%20From%20a%20Hack.jpg" alt="How to Protect Your Retirement Account From a Hack" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-your-retirement-account-from-a-hack">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-panic-do-this-if-your-identity-gets-stolen">Don&#039;t Panic: Do This If Your Identity Gets Stolen</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-elderly-loved-ones-from-financial-scams">How to Protect Elderly Loved Ones From Financial Scams</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tax-scams-you-should-know-about-for-2018">5 Tax Scams You Should Know About for 2018</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/phishing-scams-continue-to-plague-social-media-sites">Phishing Scams Continue to Plague Social Media Sites</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-travel-rewards-points-were-stolen-now-what">Your Travel Rewards Points Were Stolen. Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Retirement fraud identity theft passwords phishing protections retirement accounts scams security breach stolen funds Wed, 08 Nov 2017 09:00:09 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 2048695 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Surprising Places Your Personal Info Is Shared http://www.wisebread.com/6-surprising-places-your-personal-info-is-shared <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-surprising-places-your-personal-info-is-shared" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/tired_stressed_business_woman_using_a_laptop.jpg" alt="Tired stressed business woman using a laptop" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>More than any other time in our lives, our identities are under attack. Identity theft is a multi-billion dollar illegal industry, and it's all made possible because of the widespread availability of our personal information. While most of us safeguard things like passports, driver's licenses, Social Security cards, and bank account details, we pay no mind to some of the items that thieves rely upon to make a healthy living. Make sure you do everything you can to keep this potentially life-damaging information out of their hands.</p> <h2>1. Junk mail offers</h2> <p>It's just junk mail, right? And we all get so much of it that we barely take notice. We sort the real mail from the ads, throw the junk in the recycling bin, and go on with our day. Well, not so fast. Some of this junk mail is created using data that can reveal a lot about you. In some instances, it's enough to give an identity thief ample information to make your life hell.</p> <p>For example, many credit card companies will send out application forms for new cards, with dazzling offers. Trash it without shredding it and an identity thief could use your personal information, including address and phone number, to start an application for a new card. After refinancing a home, you will get flooded with offers from other loan companies. They all want your business, and if those offers fall into the wrong hands, they could pose a serious threat to your financial security. This threat was discovered a few years ago, but has only increased in severity over time. So don't get blasé about shredding your junk mail. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-your-junk-mail-say-about-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What Does Your Junk Mail Say About You?</a>)</p> <h2>2. ATM receipts</h2> <p>The humble ATM receipt is not as harmless as it seems. In fact, to an identity thief, it can be the start of a breadcrumb trail that leads to a pot of gold, and a major headache for you. The ATM receipt usually replaces most of the account number information with an X. However, the last four digits of your account and card number, plus the balance, the most recent transaction, and the name and location of the ATM withdrawal remain. That may not seem like a lot, but to a smart thief, it can be enough to expose your info.</p> <p>Rob Douglas, of IdentityTheft.info, told <a href="http://hillsdalecollegian.com/2016/03/25794/" target="_blank">The Collegian</a>, &quot;the more information I have, the more likely I am going to be able to contact the bank and do what's called 'account takeover.'&quot;</p> <p>This is a process that results in a stranger using minimal information to close accounts, open new ones, change phone numbers and addresses, and withdraw money. And it's all down to human error. &quot;If you get a very helpful customer service representative, they'll fill in the blanks,&quot; Douglas continued. So, next time you're at the ATM, get an on-screen receipt, or take the paper one with you and shred it at home. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-big-ways-atms-are-changing?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Big Ways ATMs Are Changing</a>)</p> <h2>3. Boarding passes</h2> <p>How many discarded boarding passes have you seen over the years? They're everywhere. They are used as bookmarks in those in-flight magazines. They're left on airport seats. They're thrown casually into trash cans. Let's be honest, we've all done it. Once you're on the flight, the boarding pass is worthless. Well, not to an ID thief.</p> <p>The <a href="https://krebsonsecurity.com/2015/10/whats-in-a-boarding-pass-barcode-a-lot/" target="_blank">information contained on a boarding pass</a> can be valuable to a thief, as digital security expert Brian Krebs reported. Not only is your name and flight number on there, but a barcode that can be easily deciphered using any number of tools available online. The information contained within that code, coupled with some basic phishing and social engineering, gives a would-be thief plenty of ways to hack into an account or steal an identity. And then there's the simple matter of knowing your name, and where you have just flown from. A bit of searching on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social sites could lead someone right to your empty home. Hang onto your boarding pass until you can shred it at a hotel or your home office. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-paper-shredders?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 5 Best Paper Shredders</a>)</p> <h2>4. Prescription receipts and old pill containers</h2> <p>Almost <a href="https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/nearly-7-in-10-americans-take-prescription-drugs-mayo-clinic-olmsted-medical-center-find/" target="_blank">seven out of every 10 Americans</a> are on some kind of prescription medication, according to Mayo Clinic and Olmsted Medical Center researchers. While that figure alone can be cause for concern, another worrying problem is the fact that most people simply discard old prescription receipts and bottles without thinking twice about them. That's a big mistake.</p> <p>The receipts usually contain your full name and telephone number, your address, the name of your doctor, the drug name, the drug strength, what you paid for it, and the name and address of the pharmacy that filled it. You may not know what to do with that kind of information, but to anyone with a basic knowledge of phishing and identity theft, it's more than enough to get started. With just a few calls and a little charm, the thief could easily get access to your medical records, order new medications, and have them delivered to a different address. And you will pay, of course. This could put your allowed number of refills way out of whack, and lead to some horrible consequences. Shred your prescription receipts, and black out information on old pill bottles before tossing them in the trash. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-surprising-ways-your-identity-can-be-stolen?ref=seealso" target="_blank">18 Surprising Ways Your Identity Can Be Stolen</a>)</p> <h2>5. Your &quot;wiped&quot; PC or laptop</h2> <p>When it's time to upgrade your computer, most people wipe the contents of the hard drive and reset it to factory defaults. Or they will dump any personal files in the digital trash can, hit delete, and call it a day.</p> <p>In either case, your personal information may still be on there. In fact, there are almost certainly significant chunks of recoverable information on that hard drive. Anything from tax returns and medical records, to scans of personal identification, old bills, and emails can be brought back from the dead by someone who knows what they're doing. Simply deleting files or resetting the machine is not going to protect you, and if you sell or donate that machine without taking the proper precautions, you may as well hand over a filing cabinet full of sensitive information to your local thrift store.</p> <p>So, what's the best way to protect yourself? Most experts agree that the only real secure way to dispose of old tech is to take a hammer to the hard drive. That's right. Smash it. Take it apart. Scratch it up. Do whatever you can to make the disc surface unreadable. If it's a solid state drive, <a href="http://www.zdnet.com/article/how-to-securely-erase-hard-drives-hdds-and-solid-state-drives-ssds/" target="_blank">hammer a six inch nail through it</a> a few times. Seriously.</p> <p>It may seem like a waste of equipment and money, but you really don't want to deal with the aftermath of identity theft.</p> <h2>6. Social media profiles</h2> <p>We have all become so used to sharing information on our social channels that we don't think about the consequences. And while you may be quite sure that you've never shared anything sensitive or useful to a thief, you should take another look at your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and SnapChat handles and see what other people are seeing. For starters, you should never list your full name. Have a nickname or social identity. Don't list addresses, phone numbers, schools, colleges, workplaces, or other personal information. You would be amazed what someone can do with those items if they have experience with phishing and social engineering. They can also probe to see what your mother's maiden name is, which is a default security password on many accounts.</p> <p>Look into your privacy settings. Can anyone access your photos and posts? You should only give access to those people you really trust. And also, scan the photos you have shared. Do any of those photos contain sensitive information? Are you letting people know that you're going on vacation, or are out of the country right now? Because that's an open invitation to a burglar. Even showing multiple pictures of your home is giving a would-be thief an accurate layout of your house. In some ways, Facebook in particular should be renamed &quot;Open Book,&quot; because that's exactly what you are if you share too much. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-keep-social-media-from-ruining-your-vacation?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Keep Social Media From Ruining Your Vacation</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-surprising-places-your-personal-info-is-shared&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Surprising%2520Places%2520Your%2520Personal%2520Info%2520Is%2520Shared.jpg&amp;description=6%20Surprising%20Places%20Your%20Personal%20Info%20Is%20Shared"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Surprising%20Places%20Your%20Personal%20Info%20Is%20Shared.jpg" alt="6 Surprising Places Your Personal Info Is Shared" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-surprising-places-your-personal-info-is-shared">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-is-it-okay-to-share-your-social-security-number">When Is It Okay to Share Your Social Security Number?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-solar-power-banks">The 5 Best Solar Power Banks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-one-social-media-micro-star-gets-lots-of-free-stuff">How I Scored Tons of Free Stuff By Building a Small Social Media Audience</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-tech-add-ons-that-can-save-travelers-time-and-money">4 Tech Add-Ons That Can Save Travelers Time and Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-apps-that-actually-pay-you-to-shop">7 Apps That Actually Pay You to Shop</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping Technology fraud alert identity theft personal info personal information protect your data protect your identity ssn Tue, 07 Nov 2017 08:30:20 +0000 Paul Michael 2049405 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Protect Your Child From Identity Theft http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-your-child-from-identity-theft <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-protect-your-child-from-identity-theft" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/computer_hacker_stealing_information_with_laptop.jpg" alt="Computer hacker stealing information with laptop" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Your ex-spouse calls you, but the name on the caller ID is your child's. You receive a hospital bill for a C-section supposedly performed on your eight-year-old son. Or, you bring your child to the bank to open her first savings account, and are denied because they say she has a record of bad checks.</p> <p>All these are warning signs for a surprisingly prevalent crime: child identity theft. Most adults are aware that their own names and Social Security numbers can be hijacked by scammers who open fraudulent accounts in their names; not everyone realizes that the same thing can and does happen to kids.</p> <p>Identity theft can interfere with college, job prospects, buying a car, or getting that first mortgage. So it's important for you to understand how to protect your kids from this fraud. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-comprehensive-guide-to-identity-theft-everything-you-need-to-know?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Comprehensive Guide to Identity Theft: Everything You Need to Know</a>)</p> <h2>Fraudsters love kids</h2> <p>You might think a kid's identity wouldn't appeal to scammers. After all, kids have no credit history and they're not even old enough to get their own credit cards. But the victim being under 18 is generally not a problem for opening new accounts. The credit bureaus don't know the applicant's age, says Eva Velasquez, CEO and President of the Identity Theft Resource Center.</p> <p>And, a blank credit history can be attractive to a criminal who might have many blemishes on his or her own report, says Robert Chappell, a state police captain who wrote <em>Child Identity Theft: What Every Parent Needs to Know</em>.</p> <p>Even better, from a crook's perspective, is the fact that the crime can go undetected for years since no one usually thinks to check a kid's credit report.</p> <p>&quot;In many instances, the first time a young adult might discover they're a victim of identity theft is when they try to apply for a loan for college and are denied because someone else either already destroyed their credit or already took out a student loan using their Social Security number,&quot; Velasquez says.</p> <h2>How does your child's info get out there?</h2> <p>Anyone with access to a child's Social Security number and date of birth can apply for accounts and services in their name. There are a number of ways scammers can get their hands on those vital digits:</p> <h3>Paperwork</h3> <p>When this information is written on school or sports team forms, it's seen by staff. If forms aren't shredded properly before disposal, it can also be found in recycling bins by thieves. To defend against these risks, be judicious about what you write on forms.</p> <p>&quot;Leave the Social Security number blank. A Social Security number is like gold to a thief,&quot; Chappell says.</p> <h3>Hacking</h3> <p>When hackers broke into health insurance company Anthem's database in 2015, tens of millions of children's records were among those compromised. There's not much you can do to prevent a breach like that, but if you get a letter notifying you that your child's account was involved in a hack, take advantage of any credit monitoring service offered.</p> <h3>Friends and family</h3> <p>Disturbingly, often the person who steals a child's identity is a relative or close friend.</p> <p>Even parents are sometimes tempted to put their children's names and Social Security numbers on account applications if their own credit is bad. To prevent a relative from exploiting your child's identity, Chappell advises keeping kids' sensitive documents under lock and key, just as you should your own.</p> <p>&quot;Don't carry your child's Social Security card around in your wallet or allow your child to carry their Social Security card,&quot; Chappell advises. &quot;It's just not needed on a daily basis.&quot;</p> <h2>What should you do if your child's identity is stolen?</h2> <p>Follow these tips from the Federal Trade Commission and other experts:</p> <ul> <li> <p>File a police report and report the crime to the FTC at <a href="https://www.identitytheft.gov/" target="_blank">IdentityTheft.gov</a>.</p> </li> <li> <p>Contact the three major credit bureaus to request your credit reports (you can access all three credit reports via <a href="http://www.annualcreditreport.com" target="_blank">AnnualCreditReport.com</a>). Ask each bureau to remove any fraudulent accounts. Then freeze your credit so no new accounts can be opened.</p> </li> <li> <p>Contact the appropriate creditor to explain that the fraudulent account was opened in a minor's name.</p> </li> <li> <p>Consider paying for a credit monitoring service.</p> </li> <li> <p>Visit the <a href="https://www.identitytheft.gov/" target="_blank">FTC's Identity Theft Resource site</a> for more help.</p> </li> </ul> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-size: 13px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0);"></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</h2> <h2 style="text-align: center;"><span style="background-color: transparent; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-size: 13px;">Like this article? Pin it!</span></h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-protect-your-child-from-identity-theft&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Protect%2520Your%2520Child%2520From%2520Identity%2520Theft.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Protect%20Your%20Child%20From%20Identity%20Theft"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="background-color: transparent; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-size: 13px;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Protect%20Your%20Child%20From%20Identity%20Theft.jpg" alt="How to Protect Your Child From Identity Theft" width="250" height="374" /></span></p> <p></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-your-child-from-identity-theft">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-your-credit-after-the-equifax-breach">How to Protect Your Credit After the Equifax Breach</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-your-retirement-account-from-a-hack">How to Protect Your Retirement Account From a Hack</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-travel-rewards-points-were-stolen-now-what">Your Travel Rewards Points Were Stolen. Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-spot-a-credit-repair-scam">How to Spot a Credit Repair Scam</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-lessons-kids-can-learn-from-the-tooth-fairy">7 Money Lessons Kids Can Learn From the Tooth Fairy</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance children credit freezes federal trade commission fraud identity theft kids protections security breach social security Tue, 17 Oct 2017 08:30:11 +0000 Carrie Kirby 2035898 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Signs Your Identity Was Stolen http://www.wisebread.com/9-signs-your-identity-was-stolen <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-signs-your-identity-was-stolen" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/anonymus_with_laptop.jpg" alt="Anonymous with laptop" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you get mugged, you know immediately that you're the victim of a crime. But with identity theft, you can be victimized for years before you realize what's happening. And the longer the criminal uses your name, Social Security number, and credit, the more damage is done. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-surprising-ways-your-identity-can-be-stolen?ref=seealso" target="_blank">18 Surprising Ways Your Identity Can Be Stolen</a>)</p> <p>With the recent Equifax breach exposing the personal information of as many as half of Americans, we could be in for an identity theft epidemic. Keep alert for these signs that your identity has been stolen, so you can stop the damage before it goes too far. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-your-credit-after-the-equifax-breach?ref=seealso">How to Protect Your Credit After the Equifax Breach</a>)</p> <h2>1. Strange bills or statements arrive</h2> <p>It's very important to always open your mail, even if it doesn't look important. A bill or statement from an unfamiliar service provider or credit account can often be the first sign of identity theft.</p> <p>&quot;You may think it's just junk mail, but you might discover it's an invoice for a surgery in a state where you don't live,&quot; warns Ann Patterson, program director of the Medical Identity Fraud Alliance. &quot;That is a very good indication that you've been a victim.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Bills stop arriving</h2> <p>On the flip side, make sure you are receiving all bills and statements you normally receive. If one falls off, it could be that a criminal has changed the address on that account, which could help them establish other accounts going to a different address.</p> <p>If your mail dries up altogether, that's a sign that a thief may have filed a change of address request at the post office &mdash; they could be getting all your mail with all the sensitive information found there.</p> <h2>3. Odd charges on credit accounts and checking accounts</h2> <p>Credit card companies have gotten good at alerting customers to fraudulent attempts to make charges, but they can't catch 'em all. Keep a keen eye on your credit card and bank statements. The first charge an identity thief makes may be small, because they're testing to see whether the card is active. There are also scammers out there who make their money by processing many small charges on many credit accounts.</p> <h2>4. Your find yourself getting rejected for things</h2> <p>Your health insurance company rejects your claim because you're over your annual limit &mdash; but this was your first claim. You're turned down for a new credit card or your charges are denied at the store. You apply for life insurance and are charged a higher rate due to a pre-existing condition that you don't have. The ATM won't give you any money.</p> <p>Don't brush off any of these events. It could be a fluke, or it could be a sign that something sinister is going on.</p> <h2>5. You receive suspicious phone calls</h2> <p>A neighbor of mine recently received a phone call that purported to be from her bank. The caller read back a list of recent transactions, which set her mind at ease that the call was legit, even though she knew that caller ID numbers can be spoofed. She was then tricked into sharing a PIN with the caller.</p> <p>What might be happening if you get a call like that? You may already be a victim of identity theft, with the criminal already accessing your bank account. They may use the information they already know to trick you into giving them more information, or the access they need to start stealing money.</p> <h2>6. You receive strange texts or emails</h2> <p>If you are smart, you've set up two-factor authentication on important accounts. This means that you have asked your bank or other service providers to email or text you before allowing you to sign onto your account or take other actions, such as transferring out money. The text may provide you with a one-time code that you need to type into the website to log in, for example.</p> <p>If you receive a text or email with a PIN when you didn't request one, this is a big red flag that someone has your login credentials and is trying to take control of your account. Contact the company immediately through the phone number on your statement. And change your password.</p> <h2>7. Creditors and collections agencies start calling you</h2> <p>You got a call from a car dealership warning that your payment is late. The only problem is you didn't recently buy a car, and you have no current car payments. This is a huge red flag. Do not simply write off such calls as errors or wrong numbers.</p> <h2>8. You don't receive your tax refund, or the IRS notifies you that you filed two tax returns</h2> <p>The Department of Justice reports that people have stolen billions of dollars from the U.S. Treasury by filing tax returns using stolen identities, and pocketing the refunds. Just make sure it's really the IRS contacting you, instead of a scammer posing as the IRS. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-these-6-phony-irs-calls-and-emails?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Beware These 6 Phony IRS Calls and Emails</a>)</p> <h2>9. There are accounts you don't recognize on your credit report</h2> <p>If any of the above warning signs occur, you should definitely request a free copy of your credit report and study it carefully. If there are any credit accounts listed there that you didn't open, your suspicions will be confirmed.</p> <p>Even if you didn't experience any warning signs, you should check your report regularly, especially in light of the Equifax breach. You can request a free report from each of the three agencies once a year at AnnualCreditReport.com, so if you request one every four months, you'll be able to stay pretty on top of things. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-panic-do-this-if-your-identity-gets-stolen?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Don't Panic: Do This If Your Identity Gets Stolen</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F9-signs-your-identity-was-stolen&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F9%2520Signs%2520Your%2520Identity%2520Was%2520Stolen.jpg&amp;description=9%20Signs%20Your%20Identity%20Was%20Stolen"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/9%20Signs%20Your%20Identity%20Was%20Stolen.jpg" alt="9 Signs Your Identity Was Stolen" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-signs-your-identity-was-stolen">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-freeze-your-credit">How to Freeze Your Credit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-elderly-loved-ones-from-financial-scams">How to Protect Elderly Loved Ones From Financial Scams</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-your-credit-after-the-equifax-breach">How to Protect Your Credit After the Equifax Breach</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-spot-a-credit-repair-scam">How to Spot a Credit Repair Scam</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-sneaky-ways-identity-thieves-can-access-your-data">3 Sneaky Ways Identity Thieves Can Access Your Data</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance banking breach Equifax fraud identity theft mail fraud protection scams stolen credit cards warning signs Tue, 03 Oct 2017 08:00:08 +0000 Carrie Kirby 2029964 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Protect Your Credit After the Equifax Breach http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-your-credit-after-the-equifax-breach <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-protect-your-credit-after-the-equifax-breach" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_concerned_paperwork_603316058.jpg" alt="Woman protecting her credit after equifax breach" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Approximately 143 million records were stolen in the recent breach of Equifax, including names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, and addresses. Even before the Equifax incident, identity theft has been on the rise. With this recent theft of millions of records, the risk of credit fraud is sure to grow.</p> <p>You can take measures to protect yourself from identity theft. These options range from watching out for suspicious activity on your accounts, to paying for credit monitoring services or even freezing access to your credit reports.</p> <p>Is it worth the trouble and expense to freeze your credit report, or can less intensive steps sufficiently mitigate your risk of identity theft? Here are the options available to you.</p> <h2>Manual account monitoring</h2> <p>You can check your monthly statements from existing bank and credit accounts for unexpected transactions. If you see a transaction you did not make, you have a major red flag.</p> <h3>How much cost and effort?</h3> <p>The cost is zero, but it takes effort to stay on top of all your statements and look for unexpected activity. If you spot theft, you will need to work with your financial institution to undo the fraudulent transactions.</p> <h3>How much protection?</h3> <p>In many cases, you will not be responsible for fraudulent transactions if you report them to the financial institution and work to resolve the issue. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-credit-is-safer-than-debit?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Why Credit Is Safer Than Debit</a>)</p> <h2>Manual credit report monitoring</h2> <p>In addition to monitoring transactions on your existing accounts, you need to keep watch in case thieves open <em>new </em>credit accounts using your stolen personal information. You can request a free copy of your credit reports every 12 months from the major credit bureaus (TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian) and manually check for new accounts that were created by someone else.</p> <h3>How much cost and effort?</h3> <p>Free if you use the free credit reports, limited to one per year per credit bureau. If you want to check your reports more frequently than once per year, you can pay a small fee, typically around $10 per report.</p> <h3>How much protection?</h3> <p>Even if you are diligent in requesting and checking your credit reports, a fraudulent account could go unnoticed for some time due to the delay between when a fraudulent account is created and when you obtain an updated credit report and notice the new account.</p> <h3>How to get your free credit reports</h3> <p>Visit <a href="http://annualcreditreport.com" target="_blank">AnnualCreditReport.com</a> to request your free credit reports. You can request reports from all three credit bureaus at once, or you can order from one bureau at a time. Ordering one free report every four months can help you keep an eye on your credit throughout the year without paying any fees.</p> <h2>Credit report monitoring service</h2> <p>You can sign up for credit monitoring services that send alerts when new credit accounts are opened, or when a credit inquiry has been made on your report. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-credit-monitoring-ever-worth-it?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Is Credit Monitoring Ever Worth It?</a>)</p> <h3>How much cost and effort?</h3> <p>Credit monitoring services are offered by the credit reporting agencies and other companies with costs ranging from a few dollars per month up to $25 per month. Free credit monitoring is available from Credit Karma whose free service is supported by loan and credit offers.</p> <p>Credit monitoring is automatic in the sense that it provides alerts when an inquiry occurs or a new account is opened, but you will need to check the alerts to see if the activity is legitimate. And if there is fraudulent activity, you will need to take steps to counter it.</p> <h3>How much protection?</h3> <p>Credit monitoring provides alerts when new credit accounts are opened, but it does not stop thieves from opening fake accounts. The automatic monitoring simply helps you spot fraudulent new accounts quickly and take action to reverse charges and close the accounts.</p> <h2>Identity theft insurance</h2> <p>Identity theft insurance pays for some of the expenses you could incur associated with restoring your identity, including legal fees and fees from financial institutions. Coverage may also include out-of-pocket losses from credit fraud or other misuses of your personal information.</p> <h3>How much cost and effort?</h3> <p>Identity theft insurance typically costs around $25 to $60 per year and may include credit monitoring and other services.</p> <h3>How much protection?</h3> <p>If you become a victim of identity theft and are covered by identity theft insurance, the ball will still be in your court to resolve the issues. The insurance will cover certain types of expenses you may incur and limits your out-of-pocket losses.</p> <h2>Fraud alert</h2> <p>You can place a fraud alert on your credit report, which notifies credit issuers to contact you for confirmation before setting up a new credit account. An initial fraud alert stays on your credit report for 90 days, and you can extend it for another 90 days after that. An extended fraud alert for confirmed cases of identity theft lasts for seven years.</p> <p>In addition to putting a fraud alert on your credit report for new credit accounts, you can also request a security alert with <a href="https://www.chexsystems.com/web/chexsystems/consumerdebit/page/IdentityTheft/securityalert/!ut/p/z1/pZLLDoJADEW_hi0tD5G4m0REBV9BIs7GoMERg4xBhN930BWKsKC7ac5J25sBCgHQNCxiFuYxT8NEvPfUOCAZE0X30LXXqwkSa7E0Pd9VUTdgVwdW060qAMu1NdVRbB-B9vE3eqvv_PhfAA77-WLBt_-nCHb4jtF9P60jDQm2AlVErUOqDLquaB9hKTAHyhJ-_PwIkh41kwHNonOURZn8zET7kuf3x0hCCcuylBnnLInkE79J2KRc-COHoE7C_eaLCjCeXQdJ4ZIXbQAyMA!!/dz/d5/L2dBISEvZ0FBIS9nQSEh/" target="_blank">ChexSystems</a> for new checking and savings accounts.</p> <h3>How much cost and effort?</h3> <p>It is free to place a fraud alert on your credit file. Once you put a fraud alert on your file with any one of the three major credit reporting agencies, it will be shared with the other two.</p> <h3>How much protection?</h3> <p>When a fraud alert is on your credit report, credit issuers are supposed to contact you before opening a new credit account, but compliance may vary.</p> <h2>Credit report freeze</h2> <p>A credit freeze with the credit reporting agencies prevents your credit report from being shared unless you &quot;unfreeze&quot; your credit report. This prevents thieves from opening fraudulent new credit accounts using stolen personal information.</p> <h3>How much cost and effort?</h3> <p>A credit freeze comes with a higher level of hassle and cost than some other fraud prevention measures. You need to freeze your credit report with each of the three credit reporting agencies, which means requesting the freeze three times. Then every time you want to apply for a credit account, or allow access to your credit report for an employment or housing application, you will need to unfreeze your credit report, then refreeze it afterward.</p> <p>You'll pay fees every time you freeze or unfreeze your account. The fees vary by state, but generally they range from $5 to $15 for each freeze and unfreeze. Note that in light of the security breach, Equifax is offering <em>free </em>credit freezes until November 21, 2017.</p> <p>Each bureau will give you a personal identification number (PIN) that you'll need to keep track of in order to unfreeze your reports. You can also request a security freeze with ChexSystems to block new checking or savings accounts from being opened at no cost.</p> <h3>How much protection?</h3> <p>A credit freeze is effective at stopping new accounts from being opened, but you'll still need to monitor existing bank and credit accounts for fraudulent activity, since existing accounts are not affected by a credit freeze. If you know you'll be applying for credit (or a job or apartment that might require a credit check) multiple times in the near future &mdash; or if a credit freeze just sounds like too much hassle &mdash; you may be better off signing up for a credit monitoring service and perhaps placing a fraud alert on your credit report instead of doing a freeze.</p> <p>If you rarely or never apply for credit, and will not need to provide access to your credit report for employers or landlords, you may be better off freezing your credit report indefinitely. Keep in mind, though, that it is possible that the PIN needed to unfreeze your credit report could be compromised by thieves, who could unfreeze your credit report themselves. For added protection, you could place a fraud alert on your credit report before freezing it.</p> <h3>A &quot;lock&quot; may be another option</h3> <p>Starting January 31, 2018, Equifax will be offering consumers a new, permanent service that gives them the ability to &quot;lock&quot; and &quot;unlock&quot; their credit report at will. This new service is reported to work in a similar fashion to a freeze, and it is yet to be determined what exactly will differentiate the two methods. Equifax claims the service will include more &quot;modern authentication techniques&quot; for unlocking and accessing your credit report. If you elect this route, make sure to carefully read the terms and conditions before signing up.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-protect-your-credit-after-the-equifax-breach&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Protect%2520Your%2520Credit%2520After%2520the%2520Equifax%2520Breach.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Protect%20Your%20Credit%20After%20the%20Equifax%20Breach"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Protect%20Your%20Credit%20After%20the%20Equifax%20Breach.jpg" alt="How to Protect Your Credit After the Equifax Breach" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-your-credit-after-the-equifax-breach">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-freeze-your-credit">How to Freeze Your Credit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/once-bitten-twice-shy-what-is-credit-security-worth-to-you">Once Bitten Twice Shy: What is Credit Security Worth to You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-apps-that-monitor-your-credit-for-you">7 Apps That Monitor Your Credit for You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-read-a-credit-report">How to Read a Credit Report</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-your-credit-report-does-not-include">7 Things Your Credit Report Does NOT Include</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Financial News credit alerts credit freeze credit monitoring credit reports Equifax Experian fraud identity theft identity theft insurance insurance security breach TransUnion Mon, 02 Oct 2017 09:00:06 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 2029142 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Ways Expats Can Maintain Their Credit Scores http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-expats-can-maintain-their-credit-scores <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-ways-expats-can-maintain-their-credit-scores" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends_vacation_travel_528477676.jpg" alt="Expats learning how to maintain their credit scores" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Moving abroad can feel like the ultimate fresh start. But one element of American life you should never jettison is your good credit. Your U.S. credit score may not mean much in a foreign land, but assuming that you are not relocating for the rest of your life, you'll need that credit score someday when you come back. Rather than letting your credit score fall out of good graces, here's how you can maintain it while living abroad:</p> <h2>1. Don't run away from debts or financial obligations</h2> <p>At the end of college, my boyfriend and I landed exciting jobs in Beijing. The only problem was that we had a yearlong lease on our college apartment with nine more months left on it. When we couldn't find a subletter, we ditched and hoped for the best.</p> <p>Bad idea. When the landlord stopped receiving rent checks, he threatened to report us to a collections agency and to the credit bureaus. We ended up negotiating a partial payment, and we learned a valuable lesson: You can't run away from what you owe.</p> <h2>2. Keep your credit cards open</h2> <p>You're off to live in the jungles of <em>Tropicanaland</em>, where the only currency accepted is the cowrie shell. So why would you need those plastic credit cards that have to be paid in U.S. dollars?</p> <p>Keep them &mdash; especially the ones you've held longest &mdash; because <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-the-age-of-your-credit-history-matters" target="_blank">the age of your credit accounts</a> is a factor in your credit rating. Imagine you had just one credit card. If you have had that card for 12 years, close it when moving abroad for three years, then come home and have to open a new account, your average account age just went from 12 to zero. That will hurt your credit score. If you keep it open while you're gone, you'll instead come home to an average account age of 15.</p> <p>Another way that keeping your credit cards open benefits your credit score: It improves your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-ratio-is-the-key-to-a-good-credit-score" target="_blank">credit utilization ratio</a>, which calculates the percent of available credit that you're using. The higher this ratio, the more negatively it will impact your credit score. If your cards are paid off, and you leave them open, the amount of available credit you have increases &mdash; raising your credit score.</p> <h2>3. Find a way to use your credit cards periodically</h2> <p>The largest single factor for your credit score is whether you make payments on time. If you're not using your credit, you have no opportunity to demonstrate that you pay on time, which could hurt your score. Not only that, but a card issuer may close an account that sits dormant for years. There's no hard rule on when that might happen, but if you're going to be overseas for a very long time, it's a risk. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-getting-your-credit-card-canceled?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Avoid Getting Your Credit Card Canceled</a>)</p> <p>To keep your payment track record going and to prevent an account from being considered inactive, find some regular expenses to set up on autopay. Maybe you still belong to a U.S. professional organization that you pay dues to, or want to support your favorite charity with an annual gift.</p> <p>In many, even most, countries, you could use your U.S. credit cards on local purchases. However, you might be paying foreign transaction fees or losing money due to the exchange rate. Also, if most of your income is earned abroad, it might be hard for you to pay for a lot of ongoing charges in U.S. dollars. Consult the card issuing bank and consider the exchange rate implications before deciding to use your credit cards abroad long term. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/follow-these-5-credit-card-rules-when-traveling-abroad?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Follow These 5 Credit Card Rules When Traveling Abroad</a>)</p> <p>Of course, in order to pay for these charges, you'll probably also need to keep a U.S. checking account open and funded.</p> <h2>4. Establish online accounts</h2> <p>When I lived abroad, I had to rely on my mother to open my mail and make sure any charges got paid. This could get embarrassing, like the time my mom asked why I was spending hundreds at a place called &quot;Casino.&quot; I had to explain that this was really, truly the name of a French grocery store.</p> <p>Nowadays, if you are living in a location with unfettered internet access, you may be able to handle your business without stateside help. Before you go overseas, establish online access to your checking and credit accounts. This should allow you to not only pay your bills remotely, but also monitor your accounts for fees, fraud, and overdrafts &mdash; other potential causes of credit score damage. You can even choose to have your credit card bill paid out of your checking account automatically, if you're confident that the funds there will cover the bills.</p> <h2>5. Touch base with your banks and credit accounts before you move</h2> <p>It's always a good idea to inform banks and creditors when you're traveling, but even more so if you are moving away long term. They may have special hotlines for contacting them if you need help overseas. And knowing where you live could help your card issuer catch fraud more easily.</p> <h2>6. Maintain a U.S. address</h2> <p>Seasoned expats advise this for a number of credit-related reasons. Some banks, credit cards, and investment accounts might not be set up to do business with a foreign address. If for some reason you want to open a new account, you'll need a domestic address to do so.</p> <p>You can use a friend or relative's address or a mailbox service. Either way, make sure you are able to actually read any correspondence you get in a timely manner. That way, if a bank or credit account sends you a warning notice, you'll know right away and avoid credit-damaging mistakes. Fortunately, there are now services that will open and scan all mail for you, in case you don't have anyone you trust at home to do this.</p> <h2>7. Pay your taxes</h2> <p>If you don't pay money you owe to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, you could end up with a tax lien sitting on your credit report for the next seven to 10 years &mdash; and good luck getting any credit in the U.S. while that is sitting there stinking things up.</p> <p>You may or may not owe taxes while you are living and working abroad, but you should still look into&nbsp;<a href="https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tips/irs-tax-return/does-everyone-need-to-file-an-income-tax-return/L7pluHkoW" target="_blank" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?hl=en&amp;q=https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tips/irs-tax-return/does-everyone-need-to-file-an-income-tax-return/L7pluHkoW&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1514074683386000&amp;usg=AFQjCNGERu7j_5a_3kBuVCza9HsJjRGCvw">whether you need to file a tax return</a>. You can claim a credit for any taxes you pay to a foreign government, which may eliminate your tax burden to the IRS. However, you'll still owe for any taxable U.S. investment gains or income such as rent payments on a U.S. property you own. It's especially important to report foreign bank and investment accounts to the IRS. Some expats advise hiring an accountant who specializes in Americans living abroad to file your tax return.</p> <h2>8. Expect to spend time shoring up credit when you return</h2> <p>If your only use of credit during a decade overseas was credit cards, you may have saved your credit profile from oblivion, but it still won't be as great as it might have been if you'd stayed home. That's because about 10 percent of your credit score is based on having a healthy mix of credit types: not just &quot;revolving accounts&quot; like credit cards, but also installment loans such as a car loan or a mortgage.</p> <p>Get back on the credit horse when you get home, and after making a series of on-time installment loan payments, you should see your score improve.</p> <h2>9. Be vigilant against identity theft</h2> <p>Being far away might make it easier to miss the warning signs of identity theft, such as bills arriving at your home addressed to someone else. So monitor those online statements and check your credit report regularly. You might even consider paying for a credit monitoring service. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-panic-do-this-if-your-identity-gets-stolen?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Don't Panic: Do This If Your Identity Gets Stolen</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/9%20Ways%20Expats%20Can%20Maintain%20Their%20Credit%20Scores.jpg" alt="9 Ways Expats Can Maintain Their Credit Scores" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-expats-can-maintain-their-credit-scores">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-claim-social-security-benefits-while-living-abroad">How to Claim Social Security Benefits While Living Abroad</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debunking-8-common-credit-score-myths">Debunking 8 Common Credit Score Myths</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-things-with-the-biggest-impact-on-your-credit-score">The 5 Things With the Biggest Impact on Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-countries-where-you-can-retire-for-1000-a-month">5 Countries Where You Can Retire for $1,000 a Month</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-liabilities-that-will-ruin-your-net-worth">7 Liabilities That Will Ruin Your Net Worth</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Travel abroad accounts americans credit age credit history credit scores debt expatriates expats identity theft IRS payment history taxes Mon, 18 Sep 2017 08:30:10 +0000 Carrie Kirby 2021975 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Protect Elderly Loved Ones From Financial Scams http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-elderly-loved-ones-from-financial-scams <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-protect-elderly-loved-ones-from-financial-scams" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/senior_woman_giving_credit_card_details_on_the_phone.jpg" alt="Senior Woman Giving Credit Card Details On The Phone" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I was a child, my grandmother often watched me while my parents were away. One day, I was sitting at the kitchen table while she made a sandwich for me, and the phone rang.</p> <p>My grandmother answered, and a deep, muffled voice said &quot;Mom? Thank God, I need help.&quot; The man, claiming to be my dad, told her he had been stranded and horribly injured, and needed her to drive to his location with money.</p> <p>My grandmother was shaken, but promised to send help right away. She quickly hung up and tried to get a hold of my mom. Thankfully, my dad was the one to answer the phone, completely healthy and carefree.</p> <p>I look back and still shudder at what could have happened if my grandmother had driven to where the man told her. It was my first introduction to con artists who take advantage of the elderly, but it continues to be a major issue. In fact, losses from elder fraud cases cost more than $36 billion in 2015, according to a True Link Financial report on financial elder abuse.</p> <h2>Preying on the elderly</h2> <p>The elderly are targeted by con artists because they tend to be less familiar with the latest technology and trends. They're less likely to recognize an email from a fraudulent &quot;bank,&quot; for example, asking for personal information. Worse, many seniors are simply lonely and isolated. Scammers prey on that. A kind, friendly voice on the other end of the phone can be convincing. And once a scam is complete, the victims often feel so bad about falling for it in the first place that it prevents them from reporting the crime to the police or even family members. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-when-you-suspect-a-scam?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What to Do When You Suspect a Scam</a>)</p> <h2>How to protect your loved ones</h2> <p>Shielding your elderly parents or relatives from harm can be difficult, especially if they live alone. These four tips can help prevent con artists from successfully targeting them.</p> <h3>1. Have a family code word</h3> <p>Come up with a family code word to use when there's a real emergency. Pick an odd word that has meaning to your family and is easy to remember. That way, if someone calls claiming to be a family member in need of help, your elderly relative can prompt them for the code word to verify their claim.</p> <p>If my family had a code word and my father really needed help, stating our designated word would have shown my grandmother it was a legitimate crisis. A scammer would have no idea, and would be revealed as soon as they couldn't relay the word.</p> <h3>2. Encourage them to ignore the phone</h3> <p>Many scammers will call just to find out if a person lives alone. Program your loved ones' phones with the numbers of family and friends, and encourage them to not answer the phone if they don't recognize the number.</p> <p>If a caller leaves a voicemail saying they're with a particular company &mdash; for example, a bank or credit card issuer &mdash; show your relative how to verify the number by looking up the company online, rather than just blindly returning the phone call. Taking that extra step to check a bank or credit card company's information can save your loved one from falling for a trick.</p> <h3>3. Help monitor accounts</h3> <p>If your relative is comfortable with this, offer to check over credit card or bank statements. Review them periodically for odd purchases. This is not quite the same as <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-youll-encounter-when-taking-over-a-loved-ones-finances" target="_blank">taking over your loved one's finances</a>; it's just providing a second set of eyes. If your homebody great-aunt suddenly has charges for a Vegas shopping spree, for example, you'll be able to alert her and help dispute the charges right away.</p> <p>Some banks will let even you monitor the account, but won't give you access to the funds, which can give your loved ones peace of mind.</p> <h3>4. Check AARP's Fraud Watch Network</h3> <p>Some scams are regional, affecting only certain cities or neighborhoods. And the latest iterations of fraud can evolve over time, preying on the unsuspecting.</p> <p><a href="http://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/fraud-watch-network/" target="_blank">AARP's Fraud Watch Network</a> reports on fraud trends both nationally and locally. If you sign up for their alerts, you will receive notifications about scams happening in your area. By getting those alerts, you can warn your elderly relatives and friends about potential con artists and how they work.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Protect%20Elderly%20Loved%20Ones%20From%20Financial%20Scams.jpg" alt="How to Protect Elderly Loved Ones From Financial Scams" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kat-tretina">Kat Tretina</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-elderly-loved-ones-from-financial-scams">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-when-you-suspect-a-scam">What to Do When You Suspect a Scam</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tax-scams-you-should-know-about-for-2018">5 Tax Scams You Should Know About for 2018</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-signs-your-identity-was-stolen">9 Signs Your Identity Was Stolen</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-your-retirement-account-from-a-hack">How to Protect Your Retirement Account From a Hack</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-panic-do-this-if-your-identity-gets-stolen">Don&#039;t Panic: Do This If Your Identity Gets Stolen</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Consumer Affairs con artists elderly family members fraud identity theft phone scams protecting relatives scams technology Mon, 04 Sep 2017 08:30:06 +0000 Kat Tretina 2012632 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Money Problems Our Grandparents Never Had http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-problems-our-grandparents-never-had <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-money-problems-our-grandparents-never-had" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/social_worker_is_visiting_a_senior_woman.jpg" alt="Social worker is visiting a senior woman" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Life has changed quite a bit over the past 75 years. Sometimes, it's hard for us to think about what life was like for our grandparents and great-grandparents all those years ago. This can be especially true when it comes to money.</p> <p>Financial problems are not immune to changing times. As the times have changed, so have the issues and challenges we've had to deal with. While our grandparents and great-grandparents surely had their share of financial problems, there are some they simply never had to face.</p> <h2>1. Online identity theft</h2> <p>Identity theft has been around as long as there have been identities to steal. But, since our grandparents didn't have the internet (at least until they were much older), identity theft was not as big of a concern as it is today. Since information wasn't digital, no one could hack into a database to steal credit card numbers, Social Security data, and other personal identification details. Our grandparents didn't have to peruse their credit reports for cards, loans, and other lines of credit that had been fraudulently taken out in their names.</p> <p>Today, we have to be proactive about protecting ourselves from fraud. According to a recent study by Javelin Strategy &amp; Research, 6.5 percent of consumers experienced identity fraud in 2016, a number that continues to rise every year. The same report from the previous year found the average incident cost was $1,585.</p> <p>Though our financial institutions are looking out for us, we have to be wary about where we use our credit cards online, and we have to pull those yearly credit reports, just in case. Every year, we have to deal with the potential for tax fraud, and we must constantly weigh whether it's worthwhile to share our information online in return for whatever goods and services we are getting in exchange. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-surprising-ways-your-identity-can-be-stolen?ref=seealso" target="_blank">18 Surprising Ways Your Identity Can Be Stolen</a>)</p> <h2>2. Credit cards</h2> <p>Our grandparents and great-grandparents simply didn't have or use credit cards in anywhere near the same capacity as we do today. For the most part, their mentality was this: Either they had the money to buy what they needed, or they didn't. If they didn't, they simply went without. This straightforward approach to money meant they were probably better at budgeting than many of us are today.</p> <p>Now, according to the Federal Reserve, 70 percent of Americans have at least one credit card, with the average being 2.6 cards according to Gallup. In houses that carry credit card debt, a NerdWallet study found the average amount to be a whopping $16,425 as of 2017. As a nation, that's a grand total of $764 billion that we owe on our cards. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Fastest Way to Pay Off $10,000 in Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <p>Our grandparents didn't have to deal with credit card debt, but they also missed out on many of the benefits of credit cards, like points, miles, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">cash back programs</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-credit-card-perks-you-didnt-know-about?ref=seealso" target="_blank">14 Awesome Credit Card Perks You Didn't Know About</a>)</p> <h2>3. Student loans</h2> <p>The first federal student loans in the United States <a href="http://www.edcentral.org/edcyclopedia/federal-student-loan-programs-history/" target="_blank">were offered in 1958</a>, under the National Defense Act. The institution of student loans simply missed most of our grandparents' generation. Now, according to Student Loan Hero, 44.2 million Americans are dealing with student loan debt, and repayment is so difficult that it is a crisis for many people.</p> <p>In homes that carry student loan debt, NerdWallet found the average amount owed is over $50,000. Since 1985, inflation has seen the cost of college fees and tuition rise by nearly 500 percent. It's no wonder we have to take out loans to pay for school.</p> <p>While our grandparents didn't have to deal with these enormous student loans, there was a trade-off: They also found it much harder to go to college. Loans today make it easier for people to get the education they want or need to pursue their dreams, so we have more educational opportunities than our grandparents did. But, that opportunity comes at a steep price. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-unique-ways-millennials-are-dealing-with-student-loan-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Unique Ways Millennials Are Dealing With Student Loan Debt</a>)</p> <h2>4. High health care costs</h2> <p>Getting quality medical care didn't always cost as much as it does now. In 1958, the average person spent <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/chrisconover/2012/12/22/the-cost-of-health-care-1958-vs-2012/#7c4abff44910" target="_blank">$134 per year</a> on health care costs (and many of our grandparents were born before that, when costs were even lower). Even if you adjust for inflation, that's only around $830 by today's standards. In 2016, the average person spent <a href="http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/new-peak-us-health-care-spending-10345-per-person/" target="_blank">$10,345 dollars on health care</a>. That's a massive leap.</p> <p>It shouldn't be a surprise that health insurance is a huge debate in our country, because most people can't afford this much out of pocket. Health care costs have gone up for many reasons, including the advancement (and expense!) of technology, the high cost of becoming a doctor, and the drain of long hospital stays and drawn out illnesses. Our grandparents and great-grandparents may not have had such high health care costs, but again, there was a trade-off: They also didn't have access to the advanced technology and treatments that we have today. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-question-you-need-to-answer-to-choose-the-best-plan-on-the-health-care-marketplace?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The One Question You Need to Answer to Choose the Best Plan on the Health Care Marketplace</a>)</p> <h2>5. Saving for retirement</h2> <p>In our grandparents' day, many jobs came with pensions. You worked a certain number of years, or until you reached a certain age, and the company let you retire with plenty of money to live out the rest of your life. It wasn't up to you to figure out a 401(k), the various types of IRAs, and more. Instead, you invested in a company, and that company took care of you when you left the working world. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/if-youre-lucky-enough-to-receive-a-pension-here-are-6-things-you-need-to-do?ref=seealso" target="_blank">If You're Lucky Enough to Receive a Pension, Here Are 6 Things You Need to Do</a>)</p> <p>Now, we have to invest for ourselves, because pensions are disappearing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 1990, 42 percent of private industry employees who worked full-time had a pension. By 2012, that number was down to 22 percent. And it's still falling. Companies aren't looking out for our retirement anymore, so we have to do it ourselves.</p> <p>While pensions had many perks, they didn't give workers the flexibility that we have today in planning for retirement. Now, we can choose how to invest our retirement savings, and exactly how much we put into those accounts. Although funding our retirement takes a lot more work these days, we at least have the benefit of more control and flexibility with our savings. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-retirement-rules-of-thumb-that-actually-work?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Retirement &quot;Rules of Thumb&quot; That Actually Work</a>)</p> <h2>6. Rising food costs</h2> <p>Things cost more now than they did in our grandparents' day. While we also make more money than they did, it's not enough to keep up with the rising cost of everyday life. Since 2003, food and drink costs have risen by 36 percent. Our earnings, on the other hand, have only gone up 28 percent.</p> <p>A dozen eggs only cost <a href="https://www.bls.gov/opub/uscs/report991.pdf" target="_blank">$0.60 in 1950</a>. By 2010, that cost was $1.79 per dozen, and it's only getting higher. Sure, that's one small item. However, when you multiply that by all of your groceries, that's a significant change between the prices our grandparents paid and the ones we pay now.</p> <p>The silver lining to those rising food costs is that we now have many more options in where and how we purchase groceries, which gives us a chance to find the best deals. Apart from the grocery store, you can do a cost comparison with your local farmers market or wholesale retailer, like Costco. Recent years have also seen a boom in community-supported agriculture (CSA) shares, in which you receive farm-fresh, seasonal produce (and sometimes dairy!) for a fraction of what you'd pay at the store. Today, you can even save money by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-having-your-groceries-delivered-can-save-you-money?ref=internal" target="_blank">having your groceries delivered</a> right to your doorstep. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-affordable-alternatives-to-the-grocery-store?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Affordable Alternatives to the Grocery Store</a>)</p> <p>We also have more ways to find savings on those rising food costs. Apart from good, old-fashioned coupon clipping, there are numerous apps and websites (such as Ibotta, SavingStar, and Checkout 51) that offer stellar deals and cash back on grocery purchases. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-shopping-apps-thatll-actually-save-you-money-in-2016?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 8 Shopping Apps That'll Actually Save You Money</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-money-problems-our-grandparents-never-had&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Money%2520Problems%2520Our%2520Grandparents%2520Never%2520Had.jpg&amp;description=6%20Money%20Problems%20Our%20Grandparents%20Never%20Had"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Money%20Problems%20Our%20Grandparents%20Never%20Had.jpg" alt="6 Money Problems Our Grandparents Never Had" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-problems-our-grandparents-never-had">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-make-long-term-care-more-affordable">5 Ways to Make Long-Term Care More Affordable</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-personal-finance-rules-to-live-by-in-your-40s">6 Personal Finance Rules to Live By in Your 40s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-stop-keeping-your-money-problems-to-yourself">Why You Should Stop Keeping Your Money Problems to Yourself</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-money-when-you-hate-thinking-about-it">How to Manage Money When You Hate Thinking About It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-even-millionaires-arent-happy-about-their-finances">Why Even Millionaires Aren&#039;t Happy About Their Finances</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance family generations great grandparents health care costs identity theft money problems pensions retirement savings Mon, 21 Aug 2017 08:31:10 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 2005634 at http://www.wisebread.com What to Do After Losing Your Social Security Card http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-after-losing-your-social-security-card <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-to-do-after-losing-your-social-security-card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/identity_theft.jpg" alt="Identity Theft" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You lost your Social Security card. Any time personal information goes missing, it can be unnerving. How big of a problem is this, exactly?</p> <p>The card itself is not much of one. Replacing a lost Social Security card is free and relatively simple. The bigger worry is what happens if your Social Security <em>number</em> falls into the wrong hands, and criminals use it to steal your identity. Then, you have a problem.</p> <p>You can reduce the odds of trouble by acting quickly. Follow this fast plan if you've lost your Social Security card.</p> <h2>Protecting your identity</h2> <p>To understand whether someone has stolen your Social Security number, keep a close watch on your credit reports. Thieves could use your Social Security number to apply for new credit cards in your name, racking up debt without you even realizing. This could send your credit score tumbling. You might also start receiving calls from angry creditors wondering why you haven't paid your bills.</p> <p>The best way to determine if someone is illegally using your Social Security number is to order copies of your credit reports from <a href="https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action" target="_blank">AnnualCreditReport.com</a>. You are entitled to one free credit report from each of the three national credit bureaus &mdash; Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion &mdash; each year. Once you have your reports, study them carefully. Look for new lines of credit taken out in your name that you know you never applied for.</p> <p>If you do suspect someone is using your Social Security number illegally, visit <a href="http://www.identitytheft.gov" target="_blank">IdentityTheft.gov</a>, a website run by the Federal Trade Commission, to report the theft. You can also file an online complaint with the <a href="https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx" target="_blank">Internet Crime Complaint Center</a>.</p> <p>It's important to also report the theft to either <a href="https://www.alerts.equifax.com/AutoFraud_Online/jsp/fraudAlert.jsp?_ga=1.38645931.963795184.1492791088" target="_blank">Equifax</a>, <a href="https://www.experian.com/fraud/center.html" target="_blank">Experian</a>, or&nbsp;<a href="https://fraud.transunion.com/fa/fraudAlert/landingPage.jsp" target="_blank">TransUnion</a>. The credit bureau will place a fraud alert on your credit report, and will also notify the other two bureaus so that they will do the same.</p> <p>Next, <a href="https://www.irs.gov/individuals/identity-protection" target="_blank">contact the IRS</a>. This will keep identity thieves from filing a tax return in your name and then collecting a refund that is owed to you.</p> <h2>A simple fix if there's no evidence of identity theft</h2> <p>If you want a new Social Security card, you may be able to apply for a replacement on the <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/ssnumber/" target="_blank">Social Security Administration's website</a>. Replacements are free. First, you'll need to create a mySocialSecurity account. You must be a U.S. citizen who is 18 or older with a U.S. mailing address. You must also have a driver's license or state-issued ID from one of the following 18 places: Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, or Wisconsin.</p> <p>If you don't meet the criteria for an online application, you can submit an <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ss-5.pdf" target="_blank">application for a replacement card</a> in person or by mail to your local Social Security office. You'll need to provide your U.S. driver's license, state-issued nondriver identification card, or U.S. passport.</p> <p>You can apply for a maximum of three new Social Security cards a year, and a maximum of 10 during your lifetime.</p> <h2>What if you're a victim of identity theft?</h2> <p>If you have evidence that someone else is using your Social Security number, you can request a new Social Security number from the Social Security Administration. Just be sure you can actually prove that someone is using your number and that this use is harming you. If you can't provide evidence of this, you won't be given a new Social Security number.</p> <p>For example, your evidence could be a credit report listing several credit cards that you've never applied for. Or, evidence could be a letter from the IRS informing you that your income tax filings were rejected because someone else already filed them.</p> <p>If you suspect someone is using your number, call the Social Security Administration fraud hotline at 1-800-269-0271.</p> <p>To prevent your Social Security number from falling into the wrong hands, don't carry your card with you. There is absolutely no reason to keep your Social Security card in your wallet. Instead, keep it in a safe-deposit box, at home, or in another secure location. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-to-never-keep-in-your-wallet?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Things to Never Keep in Your Wallet</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-after-losing-your-social-security-card">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-is-it-okay-to-share-your-social-security-number">When Is It Okay to Share Your Social Security Number?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-your-credit-after-the-equifax-breach">How to Protect Your Credit After the Equifax Breach</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-expats-can-maintain-their-credit-scores">9 Ways Expats Can Maintain Their Credit Scores</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-spot-a-credit-repair-scam">How to Spot a Credit Repair Scam</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-when-you-suspect-a-scam">What to Do When You Suspect a Scam</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance credit reports credit unions identity theft IRS lost missing replacements social security card social security number ssa ssn Wed, 31 May 2017 09:00:11 +0000 Dan Rafter 1955703 at http://www.wisebread.com