13 Ways To Prevent Credit Card Fraud

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You’ve taken steps to avoid identity theft, and maybe even applied a credit freeze to your credit report. You can sit back and relax, right?Wrong. You may have prevented identity thieves from opening new accounts in your name, but have you kept your existing credit accounts secure?

As opposed to identity theft where your information is used to create unauthorized accounts in your name, credit card fraud refers to a single existing account. A thief has stolen your card or has the necessary card information to make unauthorized purchases on that account.

How do you prevent credit card fraud? Here, we offer thirteen possible precautions:

1. Avoid Ph…

Your Rights As An Identity Theft Victim

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Would you know what to do if you discovered that you were a victim of identity theft? Given the massive data breaches over the last few years, it’s important that you understand your rights as an identity theft victim – because your odds of becoming one are greater than ever.

“If you find you are a victim of identity theft,” says April Lewis-Parks, Director of Education and Public Relations at Consolidated Credit, “you should contact the police, let them know.” In addition, file an identity theft report with the Federal Trade Commission at their website. These reports will give you the proof you need to exercise your rights listed below.

The Right to Place Fraud Alerts – You can contact one of the three major credit reporting agencies (TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax) and request that a Posted in Borrowing, Credit RatingTagged , , , , , , , ,

3 Of 4 Americans Know A Victim Of Identity Theft

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More than 15 million Americans had their identity stolen last year. Do you know anyone who has suffered through the victimization, then agonized more as they struggled to reclaim their identity?

Odds are you do! We hope it wasn’t you.

Because of this digital epidemic, we conducted an exclusive MoneyTips Google survey in 2018 to see how many people knew identity theft victims, and the results were astonishing. We asked:

Using weighted averages, barely more than 1 in 4 (26.1%) didn’t know a single identity theft victim. Nearly 6 in 10 knew between 1 and 5 victims. 6.3% admitted knowing between 6 and 10 victims, while more than 1 in 12 (8.7%) knew 11 victims or more!

Says Professor Steve Weisman, who teaches White Collar Crime at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts, “These figures are disturbing, but not surprising. Identity theft is a huge p…

Utility Scams And Identity Theft

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You’ve received a phone call from a utility company demanding a payment right now or your utilities will be immediately shut off – or maybe representatives of your utility show up at your door to make the same threat. What do you do?

Don’t pay them. It’s almost certainly a scam.

Utility companies don’t make threats requiring immediate payment to avoid shutoff. They will send at least one disconnection notice by mail and provide several payment options to avoid shutoff by a certain time. Electricity, gas, or water providers don’t want to cut off your service – they just want you to make your payments.

Of course, if you ignore all late payment and disconnection notices, the utility provider will eventually cut you off – but that’s only as a last resort.

Variations of this scam include unscheduled meter repairs, free energy audits without any appoin…

Millennials Not Smart When It Comes To Credit Cards

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New Survey Shows Poor Credit Habits of Millennials

Americans must love credit cards. As of the end of 2018, Federal Reserve data shows that we have racked up $870 billion in outstanding credit card debt on our nearly 480 million credit cards in circulation. However, generations vary in how they handle credit card debt.

Millennials tend to be the most cautious with credit – perhaps because many of them came of age during the housing crisis and subsequent recession. Data from the 2017 Experian State of Credit Report found that Millennials hold an average of 2.5 credit cards, while older generations hold from 3.0-3.5 cards on average. They also carry a lower average balance of $4,315, compared to $7,750 for Generation X, $7,550 for Baby Boomers, and $4,613 for the Silent Generation.

A new survey suggests that Millennial caution is warranted. The recent TD Bank Consumer Spending Index uncovered several unhealthy Millennial credit habits.

No…

Child Credit Freezes 101

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It may seem strange to you even to think of freezing your child’s credit. Has your son or daughter gone on a credit binge at your local toy store or candy store? Why would your child even have credit in the first place?

Your child probably doesn’t have credit, but he or she does have a Social Security Number (SSN) – which is a tempting target for identity thieves. The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) reports that children are over fifty times more likely than adults are to have their identity stolen.

A child’s SSN is a blank slate for thieves to use in creating a false identity. Since you are unlikely even to check for any credit in your child’s name, the theft may go unnoticed for years, causing significant and long-lasting damage. This type of identity theft may not be discovered until your child prepares to leave for college or the working world, only to find that he or she can’t qualify for financial aid, loans, or any form of credit.

Look for …

Deduct Your Student Loans!

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Chances are that if you have student loans, you need every bit of extra cash that you can get. Did you realize that your student loans might be able to generate some cash for you?

Under certain circumstances, you may be able to save on your tax bill by deducting the interest that you pay on your student loan. The total deduction from your taxable income could be as much as $2,500. As a final bonus, you do not have to itemize to claim this deduction.

To be eligible for the deduction, your loan must meet certain qualifications. It must have been made to cover qualified education expenses as defined in IRS Publication 970, including tuition, fees, and most room and board charges. The loan cannot have come from a relative or via a qualified employer plan, and the e…

What We Don’t Know About Identity Theft CAN Hurt Us

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Equifax… Uber… Target… Under Armour…. The list of data hacks keeps growing and growing, increasing the odds that someone will steal your identity. Last year, this digital epidemic affected 14.4 million Americans. But the more you know, the better you can protect yourself.

We conducted an exclusive MoneyTips Google survey in 2018 to see how much people knew about identity theft and the credit bureaus. Do you know all the answers?

We asked people if they knew which data hack was the largest.

A whopping 9 out of 10 didn’t know or chose incorrectly. Reader, care to guess, before we reveal the answer?

Using weighted averages, more than half of us (50.9%) admitted that they had no idea which hack was the worst of the century. More than 1 in 3 (34.4%) guessed the

Protect Yourself From Medical Identity Theft

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Medical identity theft is an increasing concern for Americans. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, 27.9% of 2018 data breaches as of mid-June are in the Medical/Healthcare category, exposing almost 3 million records – second only to business data breaches.

Why is medical identity theft so desirable to thieves? Not only does it allow access to medical services and prescription drugs in your name, the medical/insurance billing systems are so confusing that you may not realize your identity has been stolen until a bill you were unaware of has been turned over to collections.

Fortunately, you can take some steps to protect your medical identity.

Check Medical Records – Except for a few circumstances, you have the right to a copy of your medical records. Have a copy of your records on hand in case you need them to register