People Less Concerned About Identity Theft Than In The Past


According to Javelin Strategy and Research, identity theft has risen for four consecutive years. Approximately 16.7 million people were victims of identity theft in 2017, accounting for $16.8 billion in losses. Given constant news stories about security breaches, there’s no indication that 2018 will break that trend.

A 2018 Harris poll found that almost sixty million Americans have been victims of identity theft at some point in their lives.

So why are we less concerned about identity theft than we have been in the past?

According to the 2017 survey from the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), 57% of households with online activities were concerned about identity theft, compared to 63% in the 2015 survey.

Other privacy and security concerns either stayed the same or slightly decreased from the 2015 survey – including credit card/bank fraud, online data collection, and loss of control over pe…

Store Credit Card Could Hurt Your Credit Score


Clerks at most department stores or retailers often ask if you’d like to apply for a store credit card, pleasantly pitching special deals and perks that the credit card provides. Why not accept? How can you go wrong opening another account?

When you’re tempted to accept a store card offer, think of two things – how you would use the card in the future and how opening the account will affect your credit score.

Financial Educator and Author Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche suggests that people may misunderstand the risk associated with store cards because they don’t understand how credit scores are calculated. Because of the relatively low limits of store cards, credit utilization (the amount of credit in use relative to your credit limit) is high. A higher percentage of credit utilization suggests higher risk to lenders, resulting in a lower credit score.


Don’t Catch Sexually Transmitted Debt!


“I picked up a really bad case of debt from my ex, and I can’t get rid of it.”

You can pick up several unpleasant surprises from a sexual partner, but have you considered painful, lasting financial ramifications? According to a recent survey from, around 74 million Americans have picked up a “sexually transmitted debt,” a debt that’s assumed as part of a relationship.

The study determined that the average sexually transmitted debt (STD) works out to $11,485, with most acquired through marriage (28%) or in a divorce settlement (14%). In some states, the IRS says debt taken on by either spouse after the wedding is automatically a shared debt. The remaining reasons in the top five all relate to spending. Purchases made in a partner’s name account were cited in 25% of the cases, while joint account purchases were cited in 20% of the cases – and the dreaded secret …

Do Low Credit Scores Raise Your Insurance Premiums?


Your credit score affects many aspects of your financial life. It affects your ability to qualify for loans and credit cards, and the interest rates that you’ll pay if you do qualify. It may affect your credit card limits, rental fees or deposits, utility services, and cell phone/cable bills.

Can your credit score also affect how much you pay for insurance? According to a new study by WalletHub, it can. The WalletHub study focused on the connection between car insurance rates and credit scores, and how they change by state.

The insurance industry calculates credit-based insurance scores built on information in your credit report that is relevant to your likelihood of filing an insurance claim. Credit-based insurance scores have proven to be a decent predictor of fewer accidents, and therefore fewer claims.

Insurance companies are banned by state law from using credit-based insurance scores in three states (California, Massachusetts, and Hawaii), but in …

School Is In Session! Protect Yourself From Scams


With the school season starting again, education is job number one for students and parents alike. A proper education includes an education in personal finance, and one of the best ways to start is to learn how to protect yourself against scams.

You can and should learn fast, too, because scams can become more common during the back-to-school buying season. Here are some practical suggestions on how to avoid credit and debit card fraudsters:

  • Only patronize known retailers.
  • Avoid jackpot online deals that offer items like $3,000 laptops for $400. These are often scams.
  • “Good PC hygiene” cannot be overstated for every handheld device, laptop, and phone. Anti-virus and anti-malware programs are key to staying safer online.
  • Avoid pooling or sharing credit card information in a dorm setting. There is no reason for students to share…

More Americans With Low Credit Scores Buying Homes


If you have a low credit score and want to buy a home, your odds of getting a loan have improved. A study by the Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) shows that credit scores for new mortgage originations have been dropping, suggesting that lenders are slowly relaxing the tight credit policies imposed after the housing crisis.

According to the study, new mortgage loans with credit scores less than 700 increased from 21.9% of all mortgage loans in 2009 to 29.7% in 2017. These include scores in the subprime market that can reach down into the 400s. (While the typical lower credit score limit is 620 for conforming loans and 500 for FHA loans, loans may be granted at even lower credit scores with extenuating circumstances.)

The shift in average credit scores is driven by FHA loans – as expected by the lower acceptance criteria for FHA loans. The latest Origination Insight Report from Ellie Mae shows that only 16.7% of conventional mortgage loan originations in July 2018 wer…

2 Of 5 U.S. Cardholders Have Fallen Victim To Credit Card Scams


New Survey Shows Credit Card Fraud Totals $136 Billion

The convenience and ease of credit cards comes with a downside – credit card fraud is a tempting and lucrative target for criminals.

According to a new study, approximately 42% of consumers (roughly 103 million Americans) who use credit cards have experienced at least one fraudulent transaction in their lifetime. At an average loss of $1,319, credit card scammers have racked up approximately $136 billion in fraudulent charges – more than the current market value of McDonalds or General Electric and greater than the GDP of 132 countries.

How do you avoid becoming a victim of credit card scams? You can’t eliminate all potential sources of credit card fraud, but you can greatly reduce the odds through pre-emptive action and goo…

Would You Share Your Driving Data To Save Money?


By Stephanie Braun, Director of Auto Product Management at Esurance

Companies have collected data on their customers for decades. It allows them to offer more tailored services and products, and provide more relevant messaging. The reason data collection has gotten so much press lately is because it’s reached unprecedented levels. Already, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data each day. In fact, 90 percent of the world’s entire data reservoir was only created in the last two years. Automated technology like the self-driving car is expected to accelerate the quantity and quality of data that’s collected — perhaps exponentially.

Autonomous vehicles rely on real-time data collection to avoid accidents on the road and ensure engine performance. The suite of sensors and s…

Video: Are Credit Bureaus Actually On Your Side?


In the wake of the Equifax hacking, many people reported on how the credit bureaus care more about businesses than consumers. In our exclusive video above, Nav Education Director Gerri Detweiler explains why she thinks that the credit bureaus do want you to understand your credit score and check your credit report.

If you would like to monitor your credit to prevent identity theft and see your credit reports and scores, join MoneyTips.

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