Survey: Americans Trust Trump Over Zuckerberg With Protecting Their Identity


Identity theft is rampant, with an estimated $14.7 billion stolen from Americans last year alone. Nevertheless, we don’t trust that the credit bureaus who hold all our personal data can protect our identities.

An exclusive MoneyTips survey reveals that we trust President Trump a lot more than the Equifax CEO or Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg with protecting our identity. Respondents also trusted the President’s nemesis former FBI Director James Comey more than the heads of Equifax or Facebook. And whom do we trust the most to protect our identity? Oprah Winfrey!

Says Professor Steve Weisman, who teaches White Collar Crime at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts, “It is not surprising that President Trump receives higher grades regarding protecting us from identity theft than the Equifax CEO and Mark Zuckerberg because both Equifax and Zuckerberg, at least until now, have shown little interest in protecting the identities of people having credit rep…

Shoulder Surfing 101


Do you know who’s lurking over your shoulder? They might be trying to get a peek at your financial information.

What is Shoulder Surfing?

Shoulder surfing is when a would-be thief spies over your shoulder while you’re using your financial data. They’re not just nosy – they’re trying to get a peak, so they can steal your details for their own purposes.

Shoulder surfing can happen any time that your financial information could be visible or audible to others. Here are some common scenarios that are golden opportunities for shoulder surfers:

  • Keying in your PIN at the ATM or a bank teller
  • Using your debit or credit card and PIN to pay for a point-of-sale transaction in a store
  • Paying for gas at the pump
  • Signing into a banking app or website using a debit or credit card number or a username and password on a mobile de…

How To Get Tax Liens Off Your Credit Report


Tax liens are claims made on your property by a government entity for failure to pay your taxes. A lien doesn’t mean your property will be seized – it just means that the agency applying the lien has the first right to your property compared to other creditors.

A tax lien on your credit report can drop your credit score and raise red flags with potential creditors. Tax agencies don’t report unpaid tax bills to credit reporting agencies, but tax liens are public records – and until recently, they were part of the public records that could be scanned by credit reporting agencies and included on your credit report as negative items (along with bankruptcies and civil judgments).

Worse, tax liens can appear on your credit report for up to ten years after the lien has been fully paid and released – complete with an officially issued document verifying that the taxing agency no longer has a claim on your property.

In 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bur…

Student Loans Keeping Young People From Buying Homes


According to the New York Fed’s latest Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit, America’s student loan debt burden has reached a staggering $1.44 trillion as of September 2018. Has that burden kept younger Americans from buying homes?

A new Federal Reserve study suggests that educational debt isn’t the primary reason for the homeownership decline, but it does play a role.

America’s total homeownership percentage fell from 69% to 65% between 2005 and 2014, but homeownership for the age group 24-32 fell from 45% to 36% during the same period. Meanwhile, college debt per capita increased from $5,000 to $10,000 in the same time frame – a debt more likely to affect the age group in question. Are the two trends related?

Fed economists set up probability models to estimate the effect of increased debt on homeownership rates during the study period. According to the models, student loan debt was responsible for 1.8 percentage points out of the 8.8% total …

Video: 5 Steps To Prevent Identity Theft


Are you worried about someone stealing your identity and trashing your credit? Watch the video above to learn how to thwart identity thieves, with five tips from our very own Professor MoneyTips, Jeff Hoyt.

Protect your credit – protect your identity – protect yourself with a free MoneyTips trial.

Advertising Disclosure

5 Ways Other People Can Lower Your Credit Score


Your credit score is a valuable asset that must be maintained and protected. Unfortunately, there are ways that other people can negatively affect your credit score – either inadvertently or with bad intent.

Protect your credit information by carefully monitoring these five potential paths to a reduced credit score.

1. Joint Accounts – Joint checking accounts can backfire if one partner abuses the account. Overdraft fees and other penalties can affect your credit score even if the other partner is responsible.

If you decide to cancel a joint account, be sure all parties are involved in the cancellation. You may still be responsible if one party leaves the account open but abandoned with unpaid fees and penalties.

Risks of joint accounts go beyond credit considerations, since one partner may clean out the…

Will Congress Give You More Control Over Your Credit Report?


Another Try at Credit Bureau Regulation

What happens when you discover false information on your credit report? Whether you’re dealing with the aftereffects of identity theft and fraudulent accounts or a simple clerical error, prepare for a long and unpleasant battle. Even simple errors can be hard to fix, and consequences can be severe.

According to a recent report by the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC), approximately 42 million Americans have errors in their credit report – and, for almost one-quarter of those Americans, those mistakes result in being denied credit or paying more for the privilege.

After the 2017 Equifax data breach that exposed the personal information of nearly 150 million consumers, Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) introduced the Comprehensive Consumer Credit Reporting Reform Act (CCCRRA) to hold credit reporting …

Angler Phishing 101


Gone are the days of having to call a 1-800 number to interact with customer service teams. With the rise of social media, support is often available around the clock. If you’ve ever called out a company on social media for bad service, you know they can be quick to respond. Don’t be in a rush to dive in and hand over your details – a relatively new scam called “angler phishing” targets social media users by impersonating legitimate support accounts. You could be at risk.

What Exactly is Angler Phishing?

Picture this: your bank just bounced a check they shouldn’t have, and now your insurance company is claiming you missed a payment. Understandably, you’re steamed. You tag your bank in a scathing social media post about the terrible service. Next thing you know, the bank’s support account responds inviting you to click a link to chat with them directly to resolve the…

Student Loan Survey: Borrowers Are Afraid To Refinance


By Amy Beardsley

When it comes to student debt, more than half of borrowers are struggling to make their payments. Refinancing your student loan is an excellent option to lower your monthly bill or to pay less interest over the life of your loan.

Even though refinancing could make student loan debt more manageable, the latest survey by Student Loan Planner found that 85% of borrowers are afraid to refinance their student loans. Why do borrowers fear refinancing when it could save them thousands of dollars?

According to the survey, half of borrowers didn’t know you can refinance more than once and 65% of respondents haven’t refinanced their student loan at all. Two-thirds of respondents can’t name more than two refinancing companies, while almost half (40%) of borrowers who did refinance shopped at only one place.