Only 1 Out Of 7 Monitors Their Social Security Number Online

MoneyTips

Do you monitor your Social Security number for any signs of fraudulent use? A new survey suggests you think that you should, but you probably don’t.

According to the 2018 Capital One Credit Protection and Security Survey, only one in seven Americans uses a service to monitor activity on their Social Security number – but just over half of Americans who don’t use a monitoring service think they should use one.

Why is Social Security monitoring so important? Your Social Security number is your most important and most often-used identifier. Criminals can use your Social Security number to apply for credit in your name. Without monitoring services, you may not realize your Social Security number has been abused until you’re confronted with major unpaid bills and ruined credit.

Because of their versatility in identity theft scams, Social Security numbers are highly prized pieces of information. Depending on what other information criminals have on you, your …

How Medical Debt Affects Your Credit

MoneyTips

The Crushing Effects Of Medical Debt

How pervasive is America’s medical debt problem? According to 2017 data from the credit bureau Experian, unpaid medical debt in America topped $127 billion. New data from Consumer Reports shows that almost 30% of insured Americans had unpaid medical debt turned over to collection agencies in the past two years. A 2013 analysis by NerdWallet Health found that unpaid medical bills were the number one cause of bankruptcies, surpassing unpaid mortgages or credit card debts.

Even if you aren’t driven into bankruptcy, unpaid medical debt will eventually show up on your credit report – resulting in a lower credit score that further degrades your financial health. The Consumer Reports survey found that nearly one in five Americans has suffered a credit score drop related to unpaid medical bills. You can check your credit score and read your credit report for free within minutes by

Raise Your Credit Score, And Pay Less For Insurance

MoneyTips

A poor credit score makes your financial life difficult in a number of ways. You receive poorer interest rates and terms on credit cards, it’s harder to qualify for mortgages, and, “When it comes time to get insurance, maybe your insurance premiums will be a little more expensive because you have a low credit score,” says Millennial Money Expert Stefanie O’Connell.

Why would credit affect your insurance premiums? Insurers have to determine the premiums you pay based on the collective risk factors for that particular field. Greg McBride, Chief Financial Officer of Bankrate.com, includes insurance companies in this assessment: “They’re looking for ways to evaluate your risk, and creditworthiness is one of those metrics.”

Insurance companies typically don’t use your credit score directly, but they may incorporate your credit score and other relevant aspects of your credit history into a credit-based insurance score – an analogue that focuses not just on the ability …